Roland’s nags and nails: nearly all present and correct at college

  • This blog is sponsored by the PRO FEET range of hoof care products from NAF

    So here we are back at college and it’s good to see everyone again. We’ve lost just one student along the way, who parted company with his training farrier, but otherwise we’re all present and accounted for.

    It’s been interesting discussing with each other how our apprenticeships are progressing and what duties we’re undertaking. A couple of students have started nailing shoes on and most of us have started trimming, but no-one is fitting shoes yet. It certainly seems that everyone is really enjoying their apprenticeships.

    Assignments are being set thick and fast, alongside assessment on our shoe-making and tool-making standards. I’ve now had my fire tongs, pritchel, stud punch and fuller signed off. All that remains is to weld the handles onto my stamps. We will use all of these tools throughout our farriery lives and, while you can buy them easily, we now have the skills to make them ourselves if we want to.

    On the theory side, we’ve started studying ligaments and tendons, adding to the skeletal information we learned at the last college block. We’ve been studying the suspensory ligament in particular. We have also had our first lecture from a vet and we will continue to have weekly sessions with vets throughout our college attendances.

    We’ve had an introduction to joints and, along with a detailed study of hoof and limb conformation, over the next three years we will build up a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of a horse’s limbs, including muscles, nerves and blood supply.

    There’s no wonder that farriers end up knowing a great deal more about the “distal limb” than any other profession. After all it is our specialism and we are thoroughly and meticulously trained in it!

    The picture is from an assignment I’m working on. It’s a biggy and so far I’m just at the drawing and colouring in stage. With four more skeleton pictures to draw and colour in, I just hope my yellow felt tip will last!

    Until next week,



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