Using cameras to catalog your work isn’t a new idea to farriery. Until recently, many shoers would use a 35 mm film camera to document horses’ feet. In those days, one would shoot pictures, turn in the film at a developer and, a few days later when the pictures were ready, collect the photos and hope they turned out OK.
With the widespread usage of digital cameras and camcorders, farriers have been able to get the results quicker. The missed opportunities that accompanied film photography have disappeared. Today, photographers skip the photo lab and instantly see the detail of images. They can also save large amounts of photos on the camera’s storage mechanism. With these technological upgrades, the use of digital imagery has evolved for hoof-care professionals.
Of course, technology alone doesn’t make a good shoer. Although it takes the combination of skill and knowledge to be a proficient farrier, digital photography and video have uniquely influenced how many shoers conduct their work.
Gretchen Cardoso of Maui, Hawaii, uses digital photography to record any corrective shoeing or hoof and limb abnormalities to refer to when observing change.
It isn’t just the hooves that she documents. “I try to photograph any new shoe that I forge for the first time,” says Cardoso. “I once had to forge a bar shoe with a lateral extension that had a total of three forge welds. I wish I had a photograph of that one handy.”
Sterrett, Ala., farrier Mark Rikard uses…