Pictured Above: Bend, Ore., farrier Kurt Fisk points out that he missed the lateral quarter after shoeing Star at Perry Dressage in Tumalo, Ore.

Most farriers want to improve their footcare work. One area that Bend, Ore., farrier Kurt Fisk constantly works on is improving his fit.

Before pulling a shoe, Fisk runs his finger along the edge of it to determine whether he missed the fit during the previous shoeing.

“It’s really about being honest with myself,” he says. “If I can be honest and pick up on my mistakes, then I’m going to get better. If I say, ‘Oh yeah, I did that on purpose,’ I’m just making excuses.”

When Fisk is finished nailing on a shoe, he wants to see a small amount of the shoe follow the foot all the way around — without it hanging out.

“A horseshoe is a prosthetic,” he says. “I really want it to be a continuation of the hoof wall, especially in the weight bearing areas.”

Yet, missing the fit is still going to happen.

“I don’t nail every one,” he says. “I try really hard, but I’m definitely not batting 1.000. But that’s my goal. That’s what I try to accomplish.”

Analyzing his work doesn’t end there. After finishing a horse, Fisk walks around the horse to analyze the shoe fit.

“I can see that I missed the lateral quarter,” he says after working on a dressage. “It needs to be pushed up, but it’s not a big miss. It won’t be detrimental to the horse. I’ll know the next time I come back, I’m going to have to adjust that.”

As Fisk continues walking around, he likes his medial fit. By and large, he likes what he sees.

“I did OK,” he says. “Overall, it looks like an extension of the hoof wall. I want to give him a shoe that’s going to stay out of the way, but at the same time support all those structures.”

For more tips from Fisk read, “Freedom Is The Nature Of His Business,” in the January/February issue of American Farriers Journal.