The Farrier Industry’s Biggest Challenge: Mastering the Basics

Years of study, practice and experience are necessary before a shoer is skilled

Pictured Above: Dr. Doug Butler’s article “In Defense of Tradition and Commons Sense” in the July/August 1996 issue of American Farriers Journal  emphasizes mastering traditional horseshoeing techniques before relying on new methods and materials.

Farrier Takeaways

  • There is no shortcut when mastering the basics. A farrier must study, practice and apply the knowledge for several years to be able to say they are skilled in the craft.
  • The best trim is the one in which the horse improves and walks off sound.
  • Payment should be the same regardless of whether a farrier trimmed the foot with a hoof knife or a wire brush was used on the bottom of the foot.

Tradition that is based on sound principles should be retained and mastered. It is the foundation for everything else we do.”

Dr. Doug Butler, a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame, wrote those words nearly a quarter-
century ago in an American Farriers Journal  article titled “In Defense of Tradition and Common Sense.” In the wide-ranging article, the Crawford, Neb., farrier who owns and operates the Butler Professional Farrier School with his sons Jacob and Peter, emphasized the importance of mastering the traditional horseshoeing techniques before using “new” methods and materials.

“There are some things that have changed, but the concept that the article addresses hasn’t,” Butler tells American Farriers Journal  after recently reflecting on the article.

The article remains as relevant as ever, he says, particularly because the thesis is largely ignored or diluted as a…

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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 Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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