Learning the Tools of the Trade

Sound principles, craftsmanship and technology are the basics to success in this challenging work

For many farriers, the first exposure to a therapeutic shoeing situation comes unexpectedly. They arrive at a barn — perhaps after a frantic phone call from a client — and find a horse who has suffered an injury. Or they find a horse who has gone lame since the last shoeing.

Either way, the shoer is suddenly in a situation in which standard, day-to-day shoeing is probably not the ticket.

Special situations often call for special kinds of shoeing and that special kind of shoeing will very likely call for understanding and knowing how to use certain shoeing technologies. This is particularly true of therapeutic situations.

Opinions on just what technologies a therapeutic farrier needs to master vary and also may depend on the situations. Among the technologies prominently mentioned are:

  • Specialty shoes. These are shoes that may provide additional support, more protection or are useful for treating specific conditions.
  • Aluminum. Aluminum shoes are lighter in weight, which can be a vital factor in therapeutic situations.
  • Adhesives. Using adhesives and glues to attach shoes can be particularly important in situations in which you’re dealing with a badly damaged hoof wall. Gluing on shoes also eliminates the concussion that goes hand-in-hand with driving nails.
  • Acrylics. These are particularly useful for rebuilding damaged hoof walls.
  • Specialty pads. As with specialty shoes, these pads can be used to provide additional support, more protection and to restore a proper hoof-pastern axis.
  • Bandages and other foot wrapping material. It may seem simple, but it’s a…
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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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