Protecting Yourself from Strain

It's very unlikely that the work of farriers will ever evolve to a point where it is completely free of ergonomic concerns. But there are steps you can take to prolong your career and to protect yourself from injury.

Keep in mind that it’s important to start thinking about this early — before the aches and pains that plague so many farriers begin. 

Dr. Phyllis King, an ergonomics expert says one of the real keys to protecting farriers is getting to them early, by teaching better habits in farrier schools and clinics.

“We really need to get to people as early as possible,” she says. “Once they become entrenched in doing some- thing a particular way, it becomes very difficult to get them to change — even if they’ll benefit from it.”

King says many farriers — like workers in other fields — are probably aware of ergonomic concerns, but don’t take them seriously until they receive an “object lesson.” In other words, pain in the wrist, a sore back or other problems arising from strain or other ergonomic factors begin interfering with their work.

Some Tips

These are some of the suggestions made in a report compiled by King and graduate student Hearth R. Klauer, after observing a farrier at work.

  • Use hoof jacks and cradles as much as possible. This allows you more freedom of movement in the lower and upper body and also reduces physical stress on your ankles, keens, hips and back.
  • Incorporate scheduled rest breaks…
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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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