In Hoof Care, There Are Craftsmen And Workers

If you attend enough clinics or conferences, you will realize that speakers or panelists aren’t the only sources for moments that make attending worthwhile. Sometimes it is a helpful tip, or maybe a new way of thinking about an old problem.

At the recent International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, I received one of these moments from Steve Kraus while we spoke in the hallway.

Craftsman Vs. Worker

As head of farrier services at Cornell University’s veterinary clinic, Kraus told me that he sees too many therapeutic cases in which the culprit is inaccurate workmanship by the farrier. These issues range from a wrong shoe, poorly trimmed foot, an ill-fitted shoe and so on. For him, this is summed up by an adage about how people view their profession.

“A craftsman works until the job is done, a worker works to be done,” Kraus says.

A craftsman is devoted to the job at hand, while the worker will do what is needed to finish the work and go home. A craftsman is better suited for a trade like farriery, while a worker prefers a regimented 9-to-5 lifestyle.

Kraus explains that farriers that have burdened themselves with too many horses can easily fall into the worker mentality — even without realizing it. Their horses fall into the production mode, corners are cut just to get as much done as quickly as possible.

Another problem is with horses that are admitted to the hospital for neurological symptoms like…

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Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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