December 21, 2007

My Farrier

Do you know what a farrier is?  The word, farrier comes from the Latin, ferrum, meaning ‘iron horseshoe’.  Linda Friedman has been a farrier for more than twenty years and her specialty is trimming and shoeing horses’ hooves.  Linda was at my stables recently fitting Rinze with his winter shoes and if you ever thought that it was as simple as slapping on four horseshoes, you couldn’t be more wrong.  It’s actually quite a complicated process because each shoe is custom fitted onto each hoof.  And because horses are so large and strong, there’s also a good deal of physical risk involved.  Linda explained that she spent five years as an apprentice before starting out on her own.  Fitting horseshoes properly requires vast knowledge of horse anatomy and Linda continues to educate herself by regularly attending clinics and symposiums.  As with humans, bad fitting shoes can cause all kinds of physical problems.  Linda is proud of her work and really loves her job because she just loves being around horses.

This is my farrier, Linda Friedman (posing next to Rinze)

Linda works out of the back of her truck, which contains tools, her forge, or high-heat oven, and welding supplies

The shoes are heated red-hot in the forge

She pounds them on an anvil to draw two clips, which help keep the shoes in place

Linda makes sure the clipped shoe is exactly level

Here’s Linda holding a hoof between her legs.  This requires great finesse and caution.  The old shoe has been removed and the hoof is being leveled with a rasp.

The new shoe is hot fitted to check for levelness and to help shape the hoof for the shoe clips

Linda then begins welding borium onto the bottom, creating a winter shoe

Hammering on the new shoe fitted with a sno-ball pad, which prevents snow and ice buildup

Linda is clinching or folding the nails down to secure the shoe

One hoof done – three to go!