When fitting a shoe to a foot, how many trips do you make between the anvil and the horse?


By drawing a line on your anvil and keeping the heel on the edge of the anvil, a farrier can better determine how far the branches have been narrowed or widened.

Image courtesy of Chuck Presnail

“One of the problems farriers have with fitting shoes to feet is they walk over to the horse and they realize it’s too wide,” says Chuck Presnail, the forging instructor at Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif. “They walk back to the anvil, narrow it up and then they walk back to the horse because they don’t know how far it’s moved.”

While reading an article, Presnail came across some advice that changed the way he worked at the anvil. In the article, a blacksmith suggested finding a dent on the anvil to use as a reference point. Presnail thought this was a good idea.

“So, I was looking for a dent, and I discovered that I didn’t need a dent — I have a line,” he says, dragging the heel of the horseshoe through slag debris on the anvil. “The important part is the heel has to be hanging just over the edge. That ensures that it’s a repeatable exercise.

“If I need to move it a quarter of an inch, I can just move the shoe back and check it and see exactly how far I moved it without getting a ruler. You’ll save a lot of shoe leather.” 


Do you have a helpful tip that you would like to share with your fellow farriers? Please send it to Jeff Cota at jcota@lesspub.com. If we use your tip, we’ll send you a free shirt.