Sonny Pistilli needed a heart bar shoe to help a laminitic pony, but he discovered he only had concave stock with him.

The Bethlehem, Pa., farrier decided to make a heart bar from one piece of concave.

“I’ve never seen any shoes made like this,” Pistilli says.

After measuring the foot, he added another 2 1/2 inches to accommodate the necessary radius to fit the foot.

“On a horse,” Pistilli says, “you might need 3 inches.”

Once he cut the length of stock, he used a bandsaw to split each end about 1 3/4 inches deep [Figure 1]. After bending the toe, Pistilli brought the inside lateral end toward the toe [Figure 2]. The inside medial end followed and were welded in the fire. He connected the outside ends of the concave stock at the heels to complete the heart bar shoe from just one piece of concave stock [Figure 3].


Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

“Anyone in the business should carry concave with them,” Pistilli says. “I made this heart bar in about 20 minutes. It’s a real simple thing. I’ve never seen it made from one piece of metal.”

During the past 3 years, Pistilli has graciously donated an opportunity for one lucky attendee of the International Hoof-Care Summit to spend 3 days working with him at Far Hills Forge. As part of his fourth and final year of donating the prize, this heart bar shoe will be among the many that Pistilli will teach the winner of the 2015 drawing.

“I’ve been around some of the best farriers in the entire world,” says the 75-year-old Pistilli. “Here I have all of this knowledge and I figured — I’m getting old, why not share it?”

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