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Building A Plain, Yet Not So Simple Shoe

Five-time American Farriers Team member details how to make a shoe that is the foundation of all others

Learning the alphabet is the foundation of a child’s ability to read and write. The plain-stamped horseshoe serves the same role for farriers learning how to forge.

“If you can make a basic, fundamentally correct and usable plain-stamped shoe,” says Uniondale, Ind., farrier Troy Price, “you have the ability to pretty much make any shoe that you need.”

Yet, learning the ABCs of forging a plain-stamped shoe isn’t as easy as 1-2-3.

“There are a lot of steps that go into making a plain-stamped shoe,” he says. “You have to have forging skills to forge heels. You have to know how to use the horn to bend branches and you have to have your nail placement right. The plain-stamped shoe is one of the hardest shoes to make.”

It’s been a banner year for Price. The five-time American Farriers Team member realized a long-standing dream by swinging open the doors to the Troy Price Horseshoeing School. Its inaugural class graduated in April.

Among the tasks a student must master during the 12-week basic horseshoeing course is building a plain-stamped shoe. Price uses a series of steps to teach a beginner to start making shoes. He begins with a 5/16-by-3/4, 11 1/2-inch long piece of stock.

The first thing he does is make reference marks (Figure 1) on the bar stock beginning with the center dot, which he offsets around 1/16 of an inch. He moves on to the toe nail and marks at
1 1/2 inches from each side of…

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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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