I’m betting most readers of this blog post won’t know who Ashrita Furman is. He has spent the better part of his adult life conceiving of world records. He currently holds about 200 Guinness world records, which in of itself counts as one of those records.
The achievements of the self-proclaimed “Mr. Versatility” are astounding. After all, someone should hold the world record for completing the fastest mile with a milk bottle balanced on his head (7 minutes and 47 seconds if you think you can beat it). Despite his remarkable achievements, I’m left with a feeling of why would you want to?
Why would you want to? That’s also what I asked on the phone when California farrier Pablo Calderon called me last Saturday see if I knew the record for most draft horses shod in a day by one person. It’s not recorded by Guinness, Pablo didn’t know and I never heard of one. Nonetheless, my back hurts thinking about it.
Pablo gave it a shot yesterday.
Here’s two Facebook videos documenting his attempt of going for 12:
I encourage you to check out his videos. Pablo’s a handy draft shoer and he has some unique ways that he trims the foot and how he works a draft in the stocks. For example, he uses a planer to trim the feet. For how he needs to fit rubber shoes for carriage horses, his approach helps gain a better fit.
Pablo fell short in his goal, getting eight done. Combine the owner trailering in 2 hours late, the wrong shoe sizes and having to work with a couple of unruly horses, it was still a valiant effort. And he had a captive audience. Thanks to the internet shrinking our world, he had draft horse enthusiasts watching from all over the globe.
On The Record
I thought if anyone would know about the record — or whether one existed — it would be Bruce Matthews. Now retired from farriery and living in Texas, Bruce was a top draft shoer in the Northeast for decades. After sending him a Facebook message, I heard back from Bruce. He never heard of a record holder or a record for that matter. His reasoning was maybe the lnoted horseshoeing brothers, Johnny or Joe Kriz.
In relation to numbers, Bruce provided some keen insight on how he broke down a day of shoeing drafts.
Trimming: “I limited myself to 6 or 7 drafts a day. That was a full load and a good payday.”
Resets: “Anywhere from three to five horses.”
Keg shoes: “Modified in forge two to four horses a day.”
Handmades: "Two (of which I rarely did, I shod working drafts mostly). Handmades came when I did therapeutic workfor the most part. “
“When I had a full barn, like Donnell Belgians Hitch Horses in Vermont, and could set up for the whole day without having to move, the numbers went up,” he continues. ￼"One has to take into consideration the amount of drafts in one place. Regular farriers have horses on almost every street corner. Draft farriers put on the miles between stops. I covered Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and then back home to Vermont. So setting a record would have to be done on a farm with large amounts of drafts, hitch barns, colleges/universities with draft program, Budweiser farms, etc.”
Pablo’s attempt at the record was with carriage horses. On the subject of these horses, Bruce predicts that cities will continue to try to force them out. Municipalities who want to discuss the damage caused to streets by the shoes occasionally contact him as an authority.
“It is a new world with the non-horseman running the show,” he concludes.