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Practice is the Key to Forging Proficiency

Improving your chances in certification and horseshoeing competitions takes time and repetition


Pictured Above: As a competitor or a certification candidate, the farrier’s job is to replicate the specimen shoe, says David Hallock, a Michigan farrier.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, man, practice.

Although it’s an old joke, there’s plenty of wisdom that can be applied to any situation — including farriery. Participating in certifications, credentialing and forging competitions are great ways of improving your skills, but to do well, you still have to practice. Without practice, an aspiring farrier won’t get very far. And how one practices might just determine how successful one might be.

Practice the Elements First

When practicing for certification or a contest, it might seem logical to grab a piece of bar stock and forge shoe after shoe. Instead, simplify your practice.

Farrier Takeaways

  • When participating in certification or competition, practice elements of the shoe such as calks and wedges until you become proficient before moving on to forging the entire shoe.
  • Recruit someone who is further along in the forging process to critique your work so you can learn where you need to improve.
  • Inspect and tune up your tools before certification or competition to ensure that they are working as efficiently as possible. Don’t forget to bring a spare just in case the tool fails.

“I think one of the big mistakes that farriers make is that they practice the whole shoe instead of elements of the shoes,” says David Hallock, a Dansville, Mich., farrier and an American Farrier’s Association certification tester…

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Cota

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 25 years. A native of Maine, he is the Managing Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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