Shoeing Irish Style, Along with a History Lesson

Trimming and shoeing at a 400-year-old Irish castle led to an interesting “Shoeing For A Living” day

Paul Duddy says horses in Ireland are shod pretty much like hunters in North America. Yet there’s a fine line on just how much support can be provided.

Paul Duddy believes trimming and shoeing in Ireland isn’t that much different than working in North America. Maybe with one major exception: extremely wet weather, which often causes a horse’s hooves to sink 6 to 8 inches into wet grass.

Even so, once again it’s the basics of trimming and shoeing that really matter, regardless of the kind of horses you do or where you work. As Duddy points out, so is the need for proper farrier training and continuing education.

With the Irish weather almost always on the wet side, the farrier from Strabane in Northern Ireland says this requires providing horses with plenty of traction.

“We need both concave shoes and clips to hold a shoe on the hoof with our extremely wet conditions,” he says. “It’s not uncommon for a horse’s foot to sink 6 or 8 inches into this year’s wet grass when foxhunting in this terrain.”

During a late October 10-day trip with my wife to northwest Ireland to trace her ancestors, I spent a “Shoeing For A Living” day with Duddy. I’d met him years ago during the World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition at the Calgary Stampede.

Here’s how the day went.


Due to extremely wet conditions and the fact that these 40 school horses at the 400-year-old Necarne Castle were turned out all summer, Paul Duddy…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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