Pete Van Rossum wears a neck gaiter to protect his lungs from various particles that can potentially damage them.

The health and safety risks associated with equine hoof care are enough to make an OSHA inspector apoplectic.

While the obvious hazards — such as a horse blowing up while you’re under it — tend to be attention grabbers, there are some worthy of your scrutiny that might fly under the radar. One of which involves the health of your lungs.

“I got the flu about a year and a half ago, really bad,” says Wellington, Fla., farrier Curtis Burns. “Ever since, I’ve had asthma problems.”

The complication sparked some introspection on how caring for horses’ feet can lead to breathing problems later in life.

“Some of the older guys have been grinding aluminum, steel for all these years,” Burns says, “and their lungs are suffering when they finally get to the stage when they should be enjoying their lives.”

As a result of the asthma, Burns wears a neck gaiter to protect his lungs.

“Take care of yourself when you’re doing this kind of work,” implores the inventor of Polyflex Horseshoes. “Wear a dust mask or a neck gaiter. I use a gaiter for dust masks, but they also keep the sun off my neck when I’m working all summer. It’s a good tool and I really recommend you think about it.”

Learn more tips from Curtis Burns by reading, “Don’t Let Quarter Cracks Slow Your Clients” in the November issue of American Farriers Journal.