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Regardless of a farrier’s client base, confidence in one’s ability is necessary. Whether it is your first shoeing job or hundredth, you need to gauge your level of knowledge and go about your practice with certainty.
How does the type of horse influence confidence? If it is a performance horse headed for the track, course or show ring, can the amount of money involved with its cost or potential earnings generate pressure that hampers a farrier’s confidence?
In the end, Los Gatos, Calif., farrier Steve Wiberg believes shoeing a backyard horse and a performer involve the same principles of shoeing. “If you are prepared and know what you are doing, the approach is the same, so it shouldn’t feel different,” he says.
Working with high-end dressage horses, hunters and jumpers, he sees confidence as a marriage of knowledge, repetition and variety. He advises young farriers to handle as many different types of horses as possible before settling on a particular discipline.
“This is the best way to develop confidence,” he explains. “If you work with several kinds of horses, you’ll see how they are all affected. If you shoe long enough, you’ll figure out how it all works together. Repetition is a great teacher — do as many horses as you can while you still can. Realize you’ll make mistakes.”
When discussing confidence’s role in overcoming pressure, Wiberg recalls a quote from legendary…