Andrew Elsbree

Building Better Feet For The Performance Saddlebred

Keep the basics in mind in your approach to horses and achieve soundness and balance


HIGH STANDARDS. Andrew Elsbree of Greenville, N.Y., says there is no room for error in shoeing performance Saddlebreds, where farriers are frequently expected to maintain soundness in very challenging conditions. He says keeping the basics in mind is a key to success.

It might surprise you, but approaching the Saddlebred foot can be intimidating to many farriers. There’s a lot to think about and frankly, more players to answer to. Shifting gears from pleasing the owner to the trainer can be stressful. But it can be done. Ask Andrew Elsbree.

This farrier from Greenville, N.Y., who concentrates much of his business on gaited and long-footed horses, is regularly asked to get the shoe on the foot and work miracles in maintaining soundness in even the most challenging situations. He spoke about those challenges during a presentation at the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier this year.

“There’s no room for error,” Elsbree begins. “All we have in wiggle room is 4 more weeks to grow foot. A broken foot is no reason to stop for us. It’s my job to get the shoe back on the foot, package the foot and get things taken care of.”

The Fundamentals

Elsbree maintains that the goal of his career is building better feet and sometimes — in a situation that’s all too common — simply building feet to begin with. With trainers, he notes, the challenge often lies in the fact that once things are going well, they are hesitant to make…

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