“This is How We Do It” is not a Good Answer

How do we apply decisions on conformational anomalies if we don’t follow the basic normal anatomical function in our daily work or even understand the reasons why we should?

Farrier Takeaways

  • Learn anatomy, but also understand how to apply correctly at the horse.
  • Any minor mechanical variables at static loads will only become greater as movement occurs.

When I was younger and trying my best to learn this trade, one of my mentors told me, “This is how it is done,” after I asked him a question. Sometimes that technique was right and sometimes wrong, but nonetheless it was an answer. The problem with that answer is that he never told me why. I’m not sure if he didn’t know, couldn’t explain it or was just willing to leave it at “this is how it is done” or “this is how we do it.” I am not so sure that any of the reasons are valid, but when something didn’t work that he told me should, his answer was “Well, sometimes you just can’t fix or help some things.”

Those of you who know me understand that this answer didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to know why an approach didn’t work and what was different about this horse in which it didn’t work on compared with the horse it did. If you attend clinics and listen to clinicians attempt to explain the various methods they go through while shoeing a horse, you’ve also likely heard many times, “That is how I/we do it” or “That method doesn’t work in my hands.” What these clinicians are really trying to say is that they might not know why it…

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Randy luikart 2014

Randy S Luikart

Randy Luikart is a Hall of Fame farrier based in Ashland, Ohio. He has shod horses for more than 50 years and is a past president of the American Farrier’s Association.

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