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Above Photo: Students at Jack Roth’s Oklahoma Horseshoeing School in Purcell, Okla., are encouraged to shoe horses with handmade shoes on a regular basis. Roth says this is one of the most important things students should learn while in shoeing school.
I have taught horseshoeing for 40 years to more students than anybody else ever has. Most of my graduates went on to shoe horses professionally and made a living for themselves and their families.
I have been acquainted with so many farrier teachers over the years and all of us have a somewhat different idea of what it means to teach horseshoeing. The following are my ideas of what you should learn at shoeing school.
1. Theory. You must learn theory of horseshoeing and the physical and anatomical principles involved in farriery. It is not complicated, but it is complex. It is not easy to learn, but it must be learned.
2. Consistency. Your progress should be monitored daily while you learn the basics. You need to learn to look for and achieve balance and appropriate angles. You should learn the shape of more or less “normal” horses’ hooves and see how that shape applies to the individual hoof that you are working on. If you learn to get the trim and shape right, then the nails almost drive themselves.
Learn to appraise your work not when it’s fresh, but rather 6 weeks later. Did the shoe stay on? Does the hoof still look like it has…