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Several times a day, a farrier is seeking “stability produced by the even distribution of weight” in horse’s feet. Although the definition is rather straightforward, achieving balance is another ball of wax.
“Balance is not black and white,” Jeff Pauley told attendees at the annual Centaur Forge fall clinic in Burlington, Wis. “There is no blueprint for balance because all horses are made differently. Balance is particular to the horse you’re working on.”
The Landrum, S.C., farrier had yet to see the horse scheduled for the afternoon shoeing demonstration. If it had a blueprint, it was lost long ago.
Assessing the horse before lifting the leg is an important first step for Pauley.
“I don’t always trot out horses, but I’ll watch them come to me,” he says. “If I’m not around when they come up to the crossties, I will at least evaluate them by walking around them before I start shoeing them.”
Pauley will make a point of trotting the horse, though, in specific situations.