The New York Police Department Mounted Unit relies on three farriers to keep about 50 police horses “healthy, happy and productive,” according to amNY.
One of these farriers, horseshoer Marcus A. Martinez Jr., notes that he provides much more than just a well-fitting shoe. Modern-day domesticated horses perform more tasks than they used to, which is why protection for their feet is essential to their well-being.
“I removed the old horseshoe from the horse, I assessed growth and balance of the horse while it was walking, and its gait,” he says. “I trimmed the foot accordingly to the horse’s conformation, and then fabricated a horseshoe, applied the horseshoe and fit the horseshoe to the horse’s needs.”
The police horses face especially rough terrain such as concrete, sand and dirt. Their shoes are designed with New York’s physical environment in mind, with the addition of Drill Tech, a titanium strip that’s molded to three points of the horseshoe to give it extra grip and protection from debris.
Also part of the city environment, sometimes the NYPD horses are too far from the stables and need immediate care. The horseshoers have created a mobile shop with all the tools they need to provide the care of a workshop virtually anywhere.
Deputy Inspector Barry Gelbman stresses the importance of farriers and their essential role in helping horses lead happy and healthy lives.
“It’s a foundation. You can’t build a house without a proper foundation and a horse can’t move without a proper foundation,” he says. “That’s their hoofs.”