He's A "Sole Man"

California farrier Mike Savoldi challenges many traditional ideas on shoeing

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“The greatest joy I have as an instructor is to see the light bulb go on in my students’ eyes as they experience a moment of ‘Aha!’ — they got it. When that light bulb turns on, it brings tears to my eyes and sends shivers up my spine.” —Michael Savoldi

Farrier/Researcher Michael Savoldi has a goal — a big goal. Savoldi is investigating the very core of how farriers trim and shoe feet.

Whether at home in his research facility in rural central California, lecturing during the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) convention’s dry anatomy lab or demonstrating trimming techniques at a veterinary conference at California Polytechnic University tic-bagged limbs, ready for dissecPhoto— San Luis Obispo, Savoldi often finds himself in the center of controversy —amidst the soles and hoof capsules that he says substantiate his theories. 

 “One of the goals of research is to challenge theories and then to adjust them as we grow,” Savoldi says.

Not Tied To The Lab

But Savoldi is no high-horse researcher, locked up in the halls of academia. In 30 years as a farrier and horseshoeing instructor, he’s had plenty of time to test his theories in the field. 

He has dissected more than 5,000 equine feet. His simple-looking white outdoor freezer contains some two dozen black plastic bags, filled with frozen equine limbs, waiting their turn for the knife. His household furnishings take a back seat to precision cutting tools, magnifying and photographic devices as well as trays, buckets and boxes of…

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