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MEASURED STEPS. Poor measures a hoof to determine how much bar stock he’ll need for his shoes. He adds an extra 1/2 inch to the measurement in this case, so he can bump additional stock into the web.
Bill Poor could have a pretty impressive trophy case.The farrier from Houston, Texas, has taken home his share of prize money, trophies, ribbons and belt buckles from various shoeing competitions. He’s been named to the American Farrier’s Team on more than one occasion, and this year is serving as team captain.
But as he forged a set of of handmade shoes for a dressage horse named Ollie on this March morning, he made it clear that he believes both he and his clients benefit from his competitive experience.
“I really believe it has made me a better shoer,” he says. “You don’t just learn how to build shoes, you learn what they’re used for. You learn what you have to do to make them fit a hoof the right way. I think because you go back and forth and study the hoof with the shoe you’re building in your hand, you learn more about how to make any shoe fit the hoof.”
Poor starts the process by carefully trimming Ollie’s feet. He then takes out a tape measure. He notes that the feet measure 13 1/2 inches from heel to heel, but he says he’ll cut stock for a full 14 inches.
“I want the extra 1/2-inch of stock…