December 3, 2012
The Friesians are Fitted for Winter Shoes
Did you know that a horse requires reshoeing every four to eight weeks? A hoof grows in length just like a fingernail or toenail does. And when the hoof grows, the shoe no longer fits correctly. With five Friesians, Linda Friedman, a farrier, is a regular visitor at the farm. The word, farrier, comes from the Latin, ferrum, meaning iron horseshoe. Linda, who spent five years as an apprentice before starting out on her own, has been a farrier for more than twenty-five years and she is a master at trimming and shoeing horses’ hooves. Linda has been at my stable recently fitting each horse with his winter shoes. Shoeing is quite a complicated process, as each shoe is custom fitted onto each hoof. And, considering that horses are so large and strong, there’s also a good deal of physical risk involved. As with humans, bad fitting shoes can cause all kinds of physical problems. Fitting horseshoes properly requires extensive knowledge of horse anatomy and Linda continues to educate herself by regularly attending clinics and symposiums. Linda is proud of her work and really loves her job because she just loves being around horses.
1 Linda works out of the back of her truck, which contains her tools, anvil, forge, or high-heat oven, and welding supplies.
2 The first step is to remove the old shoe. Here, Linda is holding a hoof between her legs, which requires great finesse, caution, and strength. Linda uses a pair of pullers to loosen the nails.
3 She then grabs her hoof knife and cleans the hoof bottom.
4 Nippers are used to remove the surplus growth of the hoof wall.
5 Linda then levels the hoof with a rasp.
6 The hoof trimmings
7 Linda travels with shoes of many sizes
8 Throughout the fitting process, the shoes are heated red-hot in a forge, which makes the steel pliable for shaping. The forge temperatures reach between 1400º and 1800º Fahrenheit.
9 Linda pounds the glowing shoes on an anvil to draw two clips, which help keep the shoes in place. This kind of hammer is called a cross pein.
10 More shaping
11 Linda makes sure the clipped shoe is exactly level.
12 Next, the new shoe is hot fitted to check for levelness and to help shape the hoof for the shoe clips.
13 Some minor adjustments
14 When she's certain that the shoe fits perfectly, Linda begins turning it into a winter shoe by welding borium onto the bottom.
15 These raised areas of boreum act like a studded tire in the snow, helping to prevent the horse from slipping.
16 Next, an angle grinder smooths out rough areas.
17 All set for the next step of....
18 Fitting for a snoball pad, which are designed to prevent snow from balling up in the hoof.
19 There's a very specific tool for this purpose called a pad cutter.
20 The trimmed pad is attached to the shoe with nails.
21 The nails are knocked back.
22 The pad edges are smoothed with the grinder.
23 Shoeless Meindert has been patiently waiting in his stall.
24 Linda protects the bottom of the hoof by packing it with a hoof packing material.
25 She then hammers on the new snow shoe.
26 The tips of the nails emerge through the hoof.
27 The nails are clinched, or folded down to secure the shoe.
28 For the next step, Linda lifts the hoof and rests it on a hoof jack.
29 The contact points are smoothed out with the rasp.
30 Two down - two to go!
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