The Man with a Plan

Hall Of Fame Farrier Billy Crothers shares how to improve your efficiency when forging horseshoes

Pictured Above: Billy Crothers uses a forging plan that breaks down the shoe-making process into stages. He says the plan improves efficiency at the anvil and offers the opportunity to back up if a mistake is made.

Practice makes perfect.

Although it’s a glib cliché, to be sure but it serves a purpose. One cannot truly master a task without repetition. It’s certainly true for forging shoes — and golfing.

“When I started playing golf, my shoe making improved,” Welsh farrier Billy Crothers told attendees at the Anvil Brand Shoe Co. winter clinic in early February. “Any idea why? Repeat, repeat, repeat — that’s all golfers do. That’s why they’re so good. Their swing is the same every time. When you get a lesson from a decent pro, that’s what he’ll teach you — how to repeat your golf swing. If you can do that in your shoe making, it will really help you.”

Farrier Takeaways

  • Following a plan while forging improves efficiency and allows you to back up in the event of a mistake.
  • The toe bend is critical because it’s the foundation of the entire shoe and will guide how the rest of the shoe is forged.
  • Forging shoes improves your ability and efficiency with fitting.

The more one practices, the easier it becomes to successfully repeat the individual tasks that must be accomplished while forging a shoe. Although practice and repetition improve efficiency, it’s important to have a plan.

“When forging, think about your technique,” says the…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the editor of American Farriers Journal.

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