There are dozens of variations to this joke, from the number of farriers, what they can’t agree on and how many responses you’ll get. And while there is some truth to this, as farriers can be equally varied and stalwart in their beliefs, there is something that often gets lost in this joke. Just because there is disagreement doesn’t mean any of those 10 farriers are wrong.
Evaluating the hoof is one of those topics that leads farriers into long conversations with differing opinions. But much like the joke, although they may disagree, diverse practices of evaluating the hoof still result in the same goal: sound horses.
Understanding what you are seeing with a foot — from when you get to the barn through when you watch the horse go back to the stall — guides a farrier in how to deliver hoof care. While this is a necessary duty with every horse you work with, it also can be incorrectly and insufficiently applied. Variations are part of the equation. You are dealing with animals with diverse conformation, duties, histories, that live in different conditions in different environments, among other variables. Not to mention the foot is at rest when you trim or apply a shoe, but it sees more influence by your work while in motion.
Bob Smith, owner of…