As Steve Kraus, head farrier at Cornell University, prepares for an open house this weekend at the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Ithaca Journal published a profile featuring the Hall Of Fame farrier.
Here’s a peak at how Kraus approaches his work.
Kraus begins by looking at the whole horse. “A horse’s foot is complicated,” he says.
He studies the horse’s gait and conformation to determine what problems it might have and how shoes can help the animal stay healthy and functional or correct problems.
Kraus trims excess growth off the hoof and shoes a horse about every 6 weeks.
“The proper trimming is actually the more important part of this job,” he says. “The way we trim the feet helps with the way all the structures can load and unload, and keep the horse the most comfortable and move the most efficient way he can.”
Kraus compares the wide variety of horseshoes available to the variety of shoes that exist for people, noting “shoes [are] specifically designed to enable the horse to do that particular activity, safely and competitively.”
Students in the farrier certificate program learn to shape, fit and forge shoes from a bar stock or aluminum.
Kraus teaches students to make shoes so they have a deep understanding of how to make proper adjustments to pre-made shoes.
“You know a horse is a pretty big investment,” he says, “and you want to keep them safe and traction equals safety.”
The free open house will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. Kraus will be conducting 45-minute demonstrations throughout the day in the Farrier Shop, which is at the far east end of the vet school complex. Small souvenir horseshoes will be given to children.