Virginia farrier Paul Papadatos logged significant miles over a 7-month period in the pursuit of hoof-care education. Illustration: American Farriers Journal

Farrier Strives to Learn More by Hitting the Road

A 7-month journey provides answers and more importantly, improved knowledge and skill

Farrier Takeaways

  • Shoeing a hoof appropriately for the horse’s conformation and truly fitting the foot will help avoid adverse effects.
  • Recognizing how your dominant hand affects your work will improve specific skills, such as nipping, trimming, knife work and forging.
  • Fully understanding each step in the process of trimming and shoeing a foot will improve your knowledge and skill set.

It’s been said that farriery isn’t a job, it’s a calling. Paul Papadatos stands as an example of that calling.

He had already graduated in 2013 from Chris Gregory’s Heartland Horse­shoeing School in Lamar, Mo., and was 2 years into building his own shoeing business in Dalton, Mass., when he decided to close it down and hit the road. Over months, he rode along with and learned from successful farriers, from Texas to Wisconsin to the East Coast, wrapping it up with visits to England and Scotland.

“There wasn’t any kind of institutionalized learning that I knew of at the time that went beyond the fundamentals that farrier schools teach to beginners and near-beginners,” he says.

The only way he could think of attaining that education was through traveling.

“The backbone of the farrier trade is the oral tradition,” Papadatos says. “I think it is, in some respects, the most effective way to learn.”

The Beginning

While working odd jobs giving car­riage rides, logging and farming, Papa­datos was drawn to horses and far­riery.

“Then when I went to farrier school and started working on horses and forging,” he says, “I…

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Ron perszewski

Ron Perszewski

Ron Perszewski is a freelance writer and former associate editor of Ameri­can Farriers Journal.

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