Lee Green has been around horses and an anvil his entire life. He’s spent the last 49 years as a shoer and is the current owner of The Shoein’ Shop in Yucaipa, Calif.
At a recent clinic, Green offered a number of quick tips for young shoers who hope to stay in the business as long as he has.
Measuring For Easy Fitting
To start, measure the width of the keg shoes you would normally use. For a quick and easy reference, Green notches three marks in his hoof knife handle. One is at 4 1/2 inches, another at 4 3/4 inches and the final at 5 inches. By placing the marked hoof knife across the bottom of the foot at the widest point, Green can tell the shoe width the horse needs.
Green also makes a few hashmarks on the horn of his anvil. When hot fitting, Green takes the hot shoe, puts one side of it against the drop in the anvil and lays it flat over the horn. The shoe should match up to the original width he recorded with the markings in his hoof knife to ensure an easy fitting shoe. This saves you a trip back to the horse to check on shoe width because you can do it right at your anvil.
Keep High Expectations Of Working Conditions
No one should be expected to work in less-than-ideal conditions, so why should it be any different for a farrier?
You need to have four critical expectations before putting a hand on a customer’s horse.
49 YEARS AND COUNTING. Lee Green has been shoeing horses for almost 50 years now and shows no signs of letting c.
1. You should be working in a clean, safe, well-lit, level and comfortable place to shoe. Explain to your customers that you do your best work under these conditions.
The ringing of the anvil causes hearing damage and spending an entire day in the sun can lead to skin cancer. These are facts. You do not have to work under inadequate conditions that could cause you major health problems down the road.
He noted one farrier charges an extra $25 if he has to work in the sun. Horse owners are more likely to listen to your requests if it’s their wallet that’s going to suffer.
2. The horse should be well-mannered and there should always be a person there to handle the horse for you.
3. Keep the horse on a regular and reasonable schedule. Tell the owner that shoeing the horse only once every 3 months is not acceptable and that the horse is only going to perform at its highest level is the feet are in good shape. You have to look out for the good of the horse.
MARKINGS MAKE PERFECT. Lee Green marks his hoof knife so he can lay it across the bottom of the hoof to measure it at the widest point. This enables Green to get the proper fit the first time he’s under the horse.
4. To minimize work and effort and to maximize soundness and efficiency, don’t let customers dictate your business. This means you need to relate to a horse owner that you expect to be paid when the job is finished or when you send them the bill. Remember, you are providing a service for them.
Being in the business for almost half a century, Green has continually developed tricks to keep shoeing fresh for him. For instance, Green has developed a pattern of shoeing to avoid shaping the same shoe twice. He works around the horse from left front to left hind to right hind to right front. He measures and trims the feet and begins shaping the shoes.
As he works, he hangs each shoe on a bucket so he can give it a quick glance and know where he’s going next. If he pays attention to shapes, width and the level of the foot, he minimizes trips to the anvil.
While coming up with different ways of shoeing horses keeps things fresh, he stresses the six most important points for farriers when it comes to shoeing a horse:
FITS THE FIRST TIME. Add hashmarks to your anvil horn, just like your hoof knife, Green says. This allows farriers to stay at the anvil when shaping a shoe, instead of walking back and forth to the horse.
Practicing and perfecting steps 1 to 5 will ensure that you get what you want when it comes to your price.
“By placing the hoof knife across the bottom of the foot at the widest point, Green can tell the exact width the shoe needs to be...”