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In my travels and years of shoeing horses, I’ve worked with at least 100 shoers. This has included working at clinics with champion shoers and trimming brood mares with cowboys.
While many believe that they have mastered the farrier trade, everyone seems to be searching for the ideal foot. We all try to create miracles, and illusions that detract from reality and talk in terms of balance, level and symmetry. When asked about the perfect foot, many shoers will sketch out a perfectly-round foot.
One thing that I noticed a few years back is that the guys that we most often criticize for their lack of shoeing ability seem to have the fewest shoeing problems. This is often the guy who can slap a set of shoes on a dude or ranch horse in 30 minutes or the guy who doesn’t care what the foot looks like as long as the shoes stay on for 10 weeks.
With a new-found motivation, I wanted to determine what it was that the typical cowboy shoer is doing that we have somehow missed in our profession. In numerous conversations with many dude ranch shoers, I heard almost identical comments. They indicated that you should simply shoe what the foot gives you, stay out of the horse’s way and don’t think that you know more than Mother Nature.
In analyzing this concept, I came up with the following three conclusions. I put aside the guidelines set by many shoers…