PROTECTION AGAINST WEAR. Dennis Manning demonstrates adding scrap iron to the toe of a shoe during a clinic at Mint Vale Forge in Cambridge, Md.

Dennis Manning of Roosevelt, Utah, has a well-earned reputation as a horseshoer, blacksmith and toolmaker. One of the reasons for that reputation is his understanding of the science behind those crafts, as he demonstrated during a clinic at Dave Ferguson’s Mint Vale Forge in Cambridge, Md., late last year.

Manning, a member of the Inter­national Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame, demonstrated how an understanding of metallurgy can improve your forging and shoeing techniques with a couple of simple demonstrations he performed during the clinic.

First, Manning showed how he uses scrap cast iron to add strength to the toe of a shoe.

“You can add an area of cast iron to the toe of a shoe because the cast iron melts at a lower temperature than a steel horseshoe will,” he explained.

Manning says he’s used scrap iron from old sewer pipes for the purpose, which basically adds a coating of harder iron over the softer steel of the shoe. He says you can accomplish this in four simple steps.

  1. Heat your shoe in the fire and bring it to a yellow heat.
  2. Put the scrap iron on the toe area and keep it there until it melts.
  3. Move the molten iron around on the toe until it’s where you want it. Brush off any excess iron.
  4. Quench the shoe.

Manning says adding cast iron to the toe protects the area against wear, but he also cautions that it’s slick, so he doesn’t recommend trying this with horses who will be used on pavement. It is good for horses that will work on rocky ground.

Is It Really Cherry Red?

Manning also demonstrated using a magnet to determine just when steel has reached a cherry-
red heat.

“There are times you want to work steel when it’s at cherry red heat, but how do you know which red is cherry red?” he asks.

Manning says that the level and type of lighting that you are working in will affect the visual appearance of hot metal, making it hard to tell if it is truly cherry red. What the light won’t affect is how the metal reacts to a magnet.

“Steel, as part of its reaction to rising heat, loses its magnetic properties when it reaches a cherry-red heat,” he explains.

Manning says keeping a small magnet handy to test for an absence of magnetic reaction is an easy way to determine when your steel has actually reached a cherry red heat.

Cherry heat is desirable for refining work and final finishing for forging. (For more on forging and color, see “Forging Fundamentals Start With Color, Temperature,” Michael Austin, American Farriers Journal, May/June, 2002, Pages 52 and 53).

AAEP Honors Vet

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the Ameri­can Association of Equine Practitioners has honored David Miller, an equine veterinarian from Akron, Ohio.

Miller was selected as the grand prize winner of the AAEP’s “My Vet Matters” Contest. The contest ran for 10 months and more than 400 people were nominated for the award.

Miller was recognized for his work with Victory Gallop, a therapeutic equestrian program for children, ages 3 to 18, who have an emotional or behavioral disability or a life-threatening illness. Kim Gustely of Bath, Ohio, nominated him for the award.

Miller is the co-founder of Victory Gallop and provides complete medical care to all of the group’s horses. He also raises funds for the organization and obtains product donations from pharmaceutical companies. One of his biggest successes has been the certification of Petie the pony as a pet partner by the Delta Society. Petie makes regular visits to Akron Children’s Hospital to bring joy and comfort to seriously ill children.

“We thank Dr. Miller for his commitment and belief in Victory Gallop and the power of human-animal relationships,” said Gustely in her nomination. “Our community and the children we serve are very fortunate to have such a devoted veterinarian and friend.”

Miller is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and has been an AAEP member since 1990. He and Gustely will each receive two tickets, airfare and accommodations to the 2005 Kentucky Derby. Dr. Miller was also recognized at the AAEP’s  recent 50th Annual Convention in Denver, Colo. To read the winning nomination in its entirety, visit

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 8,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

Vermont Farriers Hold First Clinic

 The fledgling Vermont Farriers Association held its inaugural clinic on Oct. 16, drawing an excellent and enthusiastic crowd according to Bruce Matthews, Hyde Park, Vt., the association president. Rick Banker, an American Farrier’s Association certified journeyman farrier from Pauls Smith, N.Y., was on hand to serve as clinician. Banker discussed the requirements for AFA certification and gave forging and trimming tips as attendees worked at anvils. Steve Hazen, owner of Vermont Shoeing Supply, in Milton, Vt., was also on hand, joining Banker in giving a demonstration on using the T-Bar to help balance horses.