New York Shoers Hone Forging Skils

Home-grown draft-shoe contest inspired by desire to challenge farriers to improve their abilities in the fire and at the anvil

Farriers Dan Yorke, Jim Nelson and Todd Gorton have all long thought it’s important for farriers to improve their forging skills. Last fall, the three friends from New York decided to do something about it.

They put together the first-ever Fall Harvest Contest, a draft-horse forging and shoeing contest that was held at Gorton’s Farm in West Edmeston, N.Y. Dallas Morgan of Locke, N.Y., agreed to be judge and clinician and more than a dozen farriers took part.

Gorton reported that the contest started out with an unusual challenge.

“We started out early with an eagle-eye ox shoe with toe and heel calks,” he said. “It gave everyone a bit of a workout, as not too many oxen are shod in the typical farrier’s day.”

Kirk Smith took first place in this portion of the contest, followed by Dan Conklin and Steve Kraus. Ben Mangen and Dan Yorke took fourth and fifth respectively.

Mangen teamed up with Brian Gregory to take first place in forging a hind draft shoe, with Smith and Kraus taking second.

The third-place team was Jim Nelson and Joe Hane and Conklin and Travis Edgington took fourth.

The final class involved forging fronts and hinds from 1/2-by-1/4-inch stock, adding forge-welded heel and toe calks. A front and a hind had to be nailed on to Belgians that were brought in for the contest.

Mangen and Gregory teamed up to win this part of the competition, each taking home a custom-made 7-pound striking hammer. Right behind in…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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