Protecting Your Own Feet During Your Hoof-Care Day

Protective footwear for farriers makes sense, but only if it’s up to the job

Your hoof-care business can’t prosper if you’re out of work. And as a farrier, you can count on this: At some point, at least one horse will step on your toes or stomp on your foot.

Protective footwear or metatarsal protectors are something hoof-care professionals should give serious thought to. But not all such footwear is safe for farriers to use. Being an educated consumer will help prevent a protective footwear failure and potential injury.

If you decide to wear protective footwear around horses, you need to make sure you buy the quality that will work for the weight and level of impact a horse can deliver. Some protective footwear sold in stores does not meet the minimum requirements set by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Impact Rating (I)

Protective footwear is tested to meet one of two units of measurement for impact rating: 50 or 75 foot-pounds.

This is tested by dropping a weight from a predetermined height at a designated speed. Footwear that is rated I/50 will protect the toes from an impact of up to 50 foot-pounds, while I/75 rated footwear will protect the toes from an impact of up to 75 foot-pounds.

Basically, I/75 foot-pounds is the equivalent of 25 pounds being dropped from a height of 3 feet (3 ft. x 25 lbs. = 75 foot-pounds). I/50 foot-pounds is the equivalent of 25 pounds dropped from a height of 2 feet.

Compression Rating (C)

Protective footwear is also tested to meet one…

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Esco Buff

Esco Buff, CF, APF, is a farrier in Web­ster, N.Y., and holds a PhD in bus­iness administration. He is a member of the Interna­tional Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

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