In the 350 pages in his latest book, British farrier Simon Curtis offers you the opportunity to travel along as he spends a day or two with 60 farriers working in 21 countries around the world.
Without needing a passport or leaving home, the more than 500 photos in this over-sized, beautifully illustrated and coffee table book honors the essential people who shoe horses, the variety of horses used in many different ways and the environments in which farriers work in all corners of the world.
“The Farrier is my personal look at the horse world through the eyes of a farrier,” he says. “It is my tribute to the skilled craftswomen and craftsmen who are essential to equine performance and health.”
Growing up in what is now a 5-generation English horseshoeing family, Curtis lives near Newmarket where he has trimmed and shod Thoroughbreds during a career that started when he was 16 years old.
Curtis has lectured and demonstrated hoof-care techniques in more than 30 countries on six continents, only skipping Antarctica, which has no horses. He’s also published four technical books on trimming and shoeing techniques and produces the “Hoof of the Horse” podcast series. (To listen to any of more than 40 of these sessions, search for “The Hoof of the Horse” on your preferred podcast app.)
Throughout the book, Curtis offers a half dozen or so photos on each farrier, along with a few comments about them and their work. There are images of the farrier, equipment, horses he or she tend to and the environment where they live and work that are featured in the pages devoted to each shoer. (I love the titles Curtis gave each person featured in the book, as shown in the parenthesis after the name of each farrier.)
Meet 7 of the 60 Farriers
- Among farriers featured in the book is Amanda Landenmark (The Part-Timer) of Sweden. She shoes trotters while teaching at the Biologiska Yrkeshogskonal i Skara farrier school. Founded in 1765, this is the oldest farrier school in the world.
- Another visit was with Australian farrier Wayne Bauman (The Link), who has shod horses for more than 30 years at Muswellbrook in New South Wales. During a mid-winter visit, Curtis was a “good luck charm” as the area enjoyed rain for the first time in more than a year!
- Mohammed El Okby (Farrier Ace)of Luxor, Egypt, has been shoeing donkeys and ponies for more than 30 years. He also works at Animal Rescue Care in Egypt, which specializes in the remedial care of family-owned horses.
- Juan Capdepont (The Argentine)trims and shoes polo ponies near the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. In his spare time, he’s a rugby coach.
- Geert Cornellis (The Icelander) left Belgium for Iceland where he breeds, rides and shoes Icelandic horses. No new horses have been allowed into this northerly volcanic island for several hundred years.
- Robbi Dawson (The Boss) of Durban, South Africa, has a team of farriers who work with Thoroughbred race horses.
- Paul Summers (The Head Farrier) manages nine farriers at the Singapore Turf Club. Formerly from England, his crew works at the country’s only racecourse where 1,200 horses are in training.
Robin May (The Collector) of Leicestershire, England, has saved the shoes he’s nailed on over the past 40 years. Could this be the largest stack of used horseshoes in the world?
Five U.S. Farriers Included
Stateside, Curtis spent time with five farriers. One was Dave Farley (The Mentor and Acolyte) of Wellington, Fla.; Mitch Taylor (The Schoolmaster) at the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in Richmond, Ky.; Bob Pethick (The Commuter) of Bedminster, N.J.; Hans Albrecht (The Old German) of Versailles, Ky.; and Steve Stanley (The Standardbred Shoer) who works out of a shop at the Red Mile harness racing track in Lexington, Ky.
Weighing in at 6 pounds, the book features more than 500 photos that farriers will enjoy viewing time and again. Sharing these images is an ideal way to show off the importance of your profession throughout the world.
Just make sure you have a sturdy coffee table on which to place this monstrous book!