The 70 shoers attending an early November clinic at Nature Farms Farrier Supply in Norman, Okla., went home with some great ideas to enhance their trimming and shoeing work. Six members of the American Association of Professional Farriers board of directors spoke at the “Hoofcare Essentials Clinic.”

Here are a few of their tips you can start using immediately.

  1. Jeff Ridley takes a few minutes to apply oil or a hoof conditioner to each hoof. While it may not have any major benefits when it comes to quality hoof-care, the Leighton, Iowa, farrier finds owners like horses with pretty hooves — often mentioning about what a good footcare job was done.
  2. Dave Farley recommends being extra nice to veterinary technicians. “They’re the ones making the foot x-rays rather than the vets in most instances and getting on their good side can make it easier for them to share images with you,” says the Coshocton, Ohio, farrier. “Take techs a cup of hot chocolate or donuts once in awhile and look at all the hoof x-rays that you can.”
  3. Dave Dawson doesn’t attend Christmas parties at any of the barns where he shoes. “If you go to one, you’ll have to go to all of them,” explains the Uxbridge, Ontario, farrier.
  4. Use hoof drawings to document specific hoof measurements to be more accurate with shoe modifications and to save time, says Steve Prescott. “Then you won’t lose your place or concentration working on a shoe when you get interrupted by a phone call,” says the Hardeeville, S.C., farrier.
  5. To prevent an unnecessary buildup of aluminum, Doug Workman of Cleveland, Ga., applies an application of Ivory soap prior to grinding an aluminum shoe.
  6. Roy Bloom avoids wearing gloves when sharpening a hoof knife. “Your fingers can withstand about 120 degrees of heat and once the temperature goes higher than that, you’ll start to lose temper in the blade,” says the Drummond, Wis., shoer.

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