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This year’s Calgary Mail-In Exercise shoe — a Saddlebred shoe — is an interesting one for me. Normally, the shoes I make have a typical shape that I can relate to a foot. Since I don’t do any of the long-footed horses, it is difficult for me to “see” a foot in some of the shoes used by those horses. The same can be true for some of the draft horse show plates and similar shoes.
It can be difficult for me to make shoes like that. I approach them from a different perspective. I try to look at them from a blacksmith’s point of view as opposed to a shoer’s. Those of you who apply this type of shoe to horses in your regular work will have a distinct advantage. You are able to see the foot in the shoe, which always makes for a better shoe.
Marshall Iles, the Calgary, Alberta, farrier who works with the World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition, as well as the Mail-In Exercise, wanted this year’s Mail-In shoe to have two main elements. First, he wanted it to require forging skill, so that even someone who enters with the power of a plasma cutter behind them will still be challenged. The second element was that the shoe had to be easy enough for a broad audience of shoers to tackle.
This Saddlebred shoe fits the bill perfectly. It is not too difficult, but it will require you to use your forging…