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Being the official farrier at a horse show appears straightforward. A horse loses a shoe in the ring or on the course. Someone gives it to the farrier during a timeout or after the class. The horseshoer nails it back on during or after the event if there is enough foot. If there isn’t, the farrier won’t. The horse walks off. That’s all there is to it.
That’s not the case, however. Sure, your responsibilities are singular during an active class. And the rules and time limitations restrict what you can do as a horseshoer, but there is more that goes into being the official farrier for a show, regardless of the discipline or level of competition.
Uxbridge, Ontario, shoer Dave Dawson and his multi-farrier practice have served as an official farrier for gaited and sport horse shows at various levels.
He finds that working shows, eventually leading to invitations to work as the official farrier, are an important stepping-stone. The reluctance may be to put in the hours at the show. But that time dedication is required if you want to develop your practice with high-level horses.
“As your career grows and you start to become busier, you’ll also want to enjoy your freedom and time off,” he says. “You may want to spend your weekends doing what you want instead of attending a show.
“Once I got over that, I realized that if a farrier wants to work with show horses, you have to…