12 Things that Have Improved the American Farrier's Life Since 1975

Hall Of Fame shoer Doug Butler looks back and selects his own list of 12 things he feels have had the biggest impact on your industry

Since I began shoeing horses in 1957 and teaching farriers in 1964, I have observed many positive things in innovations and products that have improved the life of the American farrier. Most of the significant changes have occurred since 1975.

My Top 12 List

In my opinion, here are the top 12 improvements in the farrier industry in the last 35 years. They are ranked in importance according to my own perspective.

1. The American Farriers JournalHaving been involved with the magazine since its inception in 1975, as a reader, field editor and contributor, I believe AFJ has made the biggest positive difference in the farrier industry in the last 35 years. It has provided a means of communication, continuing education and advertising of resources for its readers.

2. The Principles of Horseshoeing. The first edition of this book was published in 1974 when I was a graduate student at Cornell University. No major publishers were interested in books on horseshoeing at that time, so at great expense and risk, I published it myself. Fortunately, it was well-received.

As I continued to learn more about horseshoeing, I revised the book in 1985 and again in 2004. It has become the No. 1 modern text in the world for training farriers. Recognizing that most farriers are visual learners, the book includes lots of illustrations, photographs and detailed step-by-step instructions.

3. Improved Tools. Thirty-five years ago, most forging tools were crude and made by farriers and farrier students. Then…

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Doug Butler

Doug Butler and his sons Jake and Pete run Butler Professional Farrier School, LLC near Chadron, Neb. They have trained successful farriers from all over the world. Their weekly “Farrier Focus Podcast” features interviews with successful horsemen and farriers. They have authored many of the standard texts used for modern farrier training. Doug was one of 51 teachers interviewed by Bill Smoot for his 2010 book “Conversations with Great Teachers” published by Indiana University Press.

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