“As long as the horse isn’t lame, the shoes don’t fall off and they don’t ‘click,’ it’s a good shoe job.”
That’s the philosophy of one of our ole cowboy heroes who’s been around the pasture even more miles than we have.
A couple of cowboy acquaintances contend horses don’t need shoes, and we’ve had some horses that it was true no matter how stringent and rough the terrain. However, most horses must be shod when asked to do a continual task.
Successful farriers are skilled professionals with training, talent, dedication, experience and hard work ethics.
A co-worker heard the term farrier on the radio and was stumped to the meaning. Computers don’t even know the word, but Mr. Webster defines one as a “blacksmith.” That’s true: “a person who makes horseshoes and shoes horses.”
Well, we don’t quite fit the definition, but we shoe our horses, with factory-made footwear. Many “real farriers” don’t usually make all of the horseshoes they use nowadays. Yet, the highest paid experts can, and it’s a skill one must define as artistic.
About as many horse enthusiasts have desired to be farriers as have wanted to be rodeo stars. Success rate is very low, because even after being schooled, most find it’s far from easy work.
Shoeing horses is for the young, short, skinny, agile, strong-backed and weak-minded. True except for the last phrase: a good farrier must have lots of expertise to get every shoe right for every foot on every horse that is entirely different.
With the profession comes getting kicked, pawed, stepped on, roused around, smashed fingers, cuts on the hands, arms and legs, ripped jeans and whatever else imaginable from asking a horse to hold his foot up while some cowboy drives nails into it.
A cowboy veterinarian who shoes his own horses contends:
“Just tack ’em on.” That’s our way.
We shoed our first horse 49 years ago and just did one yesterday. Despite going to a farrier’s school once, our finished project doesn’t look all that great, but the horse never complained, and it does the job.
Reminds us of Galatians 6:4: “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”