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Island Shoeing Is Not Always Paradise

Basic shoeing skills, ordering supplies early and finding ways to deal with a harsh environment are keys to shoeing success on this mid-Atlantic Ocean island

Think of Bermuda and your thoughts probably turn to beautiful beaches, warm temperatures, cooling breezes, thousands of tourists and a great vacation spot. Located on an ancient volcano, the Atlantic Ocean island is 774 miles southeast of New York City and 3,445 miles southwest of London, England.

Life On The Rock

The 21-square mile island is home to 63,000 Bermudians. There’s plenty of shoeing work for three full-time and several part-time farriers with 1,400 horses on the island.

While there are definitely advantages to shoeing here, Heidi Mello of Flatts, Bermuda, says there are also numerous problems and limitations:

  • The cost of shoeing supplies purchased in Canada for $100 (U.S. funds) increases to $145 by the time duty and freight are paid in Bermuda.
  • The closest farrier supply shop is 750 miles away, so you don’t shop for supplies every week or two.
  • On the infrequent occasion when you’re completely out of #3 city head nails, you use a Dremel tool to grind down a #5 nail and turn it into the size nail that you need.
  • When you run out of hoof repair acrylics, a local marine store becomes your farrier supply shop.
  • Fuel for your shoeing rig costs $5 per gallon.
  • A box of emergency shoeing supplies shipped for overnight delivery via Federal Express routinely takes 2 weeks to clear customs. An order shipped by boat takes 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Land is so valuable and expensive that most owners don’t have any area for turning out horses.
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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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