Hoof Care for the Force

Long-time farrier with the NYPD says lessons learned on the job apply to many types of horses and disciplines

Jerry Trapani says the biggest challenge to shoeing police horses like these working in New York City’s Times Square is the constant pounding their feet endure on paved streets. Any horse working on paved roads needs protection, support and enough traction to move confidently, the veteran farrier says.

Shoeing horses for the New York City Police Department’s mounted units was an eye-opening experience for East Islip, N.Y., farrier Jerry Trapani. He shared some of the insights he’s learned in several decades on the job with attendees at the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati earlier this year.

Trapani, who has been shoeing horses since 1963, was one of the farriers for the NYPD for many years.

Trapani told his listeners that many of the lessons he’s learned have a much broader application than just to police horses. They’re particularly apt for larger horses, horses that work on hard, paved surfaces and those who spend the majority of their time in stalls.

Road Work

“Roads can be really hard on hooves,” says Trapani. “The feet of horses that do a lot of work on hard surfaces lose the ability to rebound and come back.”

It’s even worse for horses who when not working, spend their “off time” strictly in stalls.

“They fare the worst,” says Trapani. “There aren’t a lot of paddocks left in Manhattan anymore.”

To deal with the problem, the NYPD rotates its horses between the outer boroughs and Manhattan, according to Trapani. There is some turnout available for horses…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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