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While the next five opening paragraphs were written by a leading British veterinarian in 1895, the ideas still hold true today when it comes to shoeing horses.
“Farriery is the art of shoeing horses and can only be properly learned by a practical experience in the shoeing forge. If the foot of the horse were not a a living object, perhaps the training obtained in the forge would be all that was necessary for efficient workmanship.
“As, however, the hoof is constantly growing, it is changing in form. The duty of the farrier therefore is not merely to fix a shoe upon the hoof, but to reduce the hoof to proper proportions before doing so.
“Now, as the hoof is only the outer covering of a sensitive foot, damage to the exterior surface may injure the structures within. Injury does frequently result, and not always from carelessness. Perhaps as much injury follows careful work based on wrong principles, as slovenly work carried out in perfect ignorance of any principle.
“The injury to feet resulting from shoeing may not be apparent at once. It may be, and often is, of a slow and gradual nature, and not credited to its true cause until the horse is rendered an incurable cripple.
“It seems evident then that to do justice to a horse, a farrier should not only possess manipulative skill, but should have a correct idea of the structures, functions and variations of the hoof.”
This statement was…