To The Last Full Measure

Wisconsin farrier’s shoeing style all comes down to the numbers

When it comes to taking hoof measurements, some farriers are pretty meticulous while others are rather casual.

Then there’s Alan Folkman.

The Green Bay, Wis., farrier goes way beyond meticulous. You could almost say he’s obsessed with measurements. As he trims and shoes horses, he’s constantly measuring lengths, heights and angles and calling them out to his wife, Jean, who carefully enters each figure on a form, adding to the history recorded on other forms filled out during previous shoeing visits. He’s even developed a device that helps him speedily take his measurements and ensures he’s measuring the same thing every time.

But the Folkmans say that obsession and attention to the details those numbers define pay off in healthier, more robust feet for their equine clients. This in turn pays off in an expanding shoeing book and a growing farrier business that employs them both. 

1:30 p.m. It’s a Wednesday in January and the Folkmans are taking care of a couple of their own horses at Folkman Ranch outside of Green Bay. It’s still a couple of hours before they’ll actually begin their day of “Shoeing For A Living.”

Not every day is like this one, Alan says, but on Wednesdays, he and Jean travel to an area barn where they’ll shoe horses from 3:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

“We make a sacrifice in hours because of what we’re trying to do,” Alan explains. “We want the horse owners to be there when we’re shoeing. We want them to…

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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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