You have a busy day ahead which means that keeping on track depends largely on having mannerly horses with clean, dry feet waiting when you arrive. Someone on hand ready to hold each horse for the duration without interruption is a plus, as are aisles clear of debris, dogs locked up and - of course - and payment waiting for you at the end of it all.
Once considered outside the realm of commonplace medical procedures, complementary equine therapies, such as acupuncture and animal chiropractic are undergoing a growing acceptance. Both topics were included on the agenda of the American Veterinary Medical Association annual convention held in Seattle, Wash., during July.
It is generally agreed that attending as many clinics as you can will benefit your practice. The subject matter is the underpinning of a workshop, but there is much to learn simply by being present and networking with other farriers, even for experienced veterans.
The village smithy is a thing of the past. Today, the sound of steel against steel is more typically heard from an anvil hauled from the back of a farrier rig, more often from modifying a keg shoe than building a shoe from hot steel.
The sole is the guardian that shields the sensitive structures of the hoof from contact with the outside world. Acting as the primary barrier against ground surface trauma, it is designed to handle concussion naturally; however, it seems that this once efficient protector has become one of the most abused structures of a horse’s anatomy.
Even in a profession known for unlikely beginnings, Mike Hayward’s route to becoming a farrier is unusual. Before he turned to shoeing horses, Hayward, a native of Somerset, England, was the head elephant trainer for the Blue Unit at the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Campbell, Texas, farrier and American Farriers Team member Sawyer Spradling demonstrates his approach to tuning a distorted pritchel to a punch, a skill that has served him well when he travels to clinics and competitions.
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