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I Forge Iron

1st Time shoeing solo? What was it like?

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Since being on another thread about starting out with Farrier work..  It dawned on me about what it is like shoeing Solo for your first time.. 


I remember it like it was yesterday though it happened over 25years ago..  

Wow, LOL..  I remember my legs were shaking and my bosses voice just kept running through my head..   Get under that horse *&&^*()..  Bend them legs..  Get in there.. and he'd push my back down and stuff me under the horse..   for 3 months he took my hoof stand away and told me " this will learn ya.." It did.. 

Anyhow,  It had been 3 years of 12-20 horses a day of pulling shoes, trimming feet, making shoes and putting them back on, Strip, nail, clinch.. Rinse and repeat.. 

But when I did my first maybe 5 horses solo I quickly learned I was doing it wrong and up to that point i thought I had it going on.. What a fool.. 

I was sweating, my heart was racing, practically ready to pass out..  

 the horse started to miss behave because of how long I was taking.. 1.5hrs for 4 shoes..  LOL..  What a difference there was between setting shoes and sharing the work load and then doing it all myself..  I remember at 1 point thinking what did I get myself into.. Phew.. 

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Thanks for the reply, but hows about a little insight..  What was holding you up? What was good or bad?  Was there something about the foot or shoes that was messing with you? 

I could fit  shoe to the toe just fine.. :)   chuckle, chuckle.   Came around to the heel and finding that just right bump once the heels were fitted.. That is/was a totally different story.. 

What kind of horses? 

I should have titled this threads the trials and tribulation of the first solo experience.. 

Must be some really good horses. Personally owned I bet..  They can be very kind.. 

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On 5/27/2017 at 11:12 AM, jlpservicesinc said:

Thanks for the reply, but hows about a little insight..  What was holding you up? What was good or bad?  Was there something about the foot or shoes that was messing with you? 

well, my legs held me up, and I gave them quite the work out.:wacko: The most annoying thing was cynical owners telling me i would never make a good farrier because of my height. I heard that more times than i can count. At 16 i am 6'4" and still going up. Height, of course has nothing to do with quality of work, and i manage just fine, though i do prefer drafts to minis. although it was annoying, it was not discouraging. it gave me motivation to excel, to disprove them if nothing else.B) 

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I am 5'11" myself.. I always envied the little farriers.. funny thing is most the ones I know are pretty tall.. :)  Tall and lanky..  More gristle than brawn..

God bless on the draft thing..  I went last week and trimmed a draft the owner had been doing for a few years. foot must have been 12" across.  They drug him to be done as he is a delusional stallion and only gets along with people he knows..    The vet came while I was working and requested I step out of the stall while giving the shots..   Turns out he is a people stomper..  

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  • 3 months later...

learned on a dude ranch in the Adirondacks. first had to read the calvary manual and be quizzed by the foreman then started on only fronts then hind then whole hog. first few took about 2 hours just to do the fronts. gradually got faster and better. went out and apprenticed and then on my own for a few years then after about 10 years went to cornell university for their shoeing course. by then I had figured out what I didn't know and what I wanted to learn. by then I had a full route and territory; blew back out after about 20 years and wouldn't even trim my own. wife was not happy but I still got her.

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Whent to the showing school in Percel Ok. I was green to horses, and intended to use my VA benifits to save me $ by doing the two drafts and the quarter horse we had drug home from auction (the were all bread mares so my head count doubled in short order. 

I took the long coarse, 3 weeks training/handling and 12 weeks under horses. As I had those 2 PMU mares I got on the draft team after 4 weeks intend of 8. 

First time I worked solo was my heavies, and then my exwifes mare. She had a cronic lamitic foot, and the senior students couldn't keep a shoe on it. I was motivated to do a good nail up, lol. Couldn't keep my legs under me to do more than a pair of feet then. 

A local vet started calling me to help with lame horses and babies with angular limb deformities. I had patience.   

It used to take me 2 hours to shoe all fore, I'm down to under an hour, but I probably jaw Jack and pet the horse for a 1/2 of that. 

I wont lie, the hardest part was studying 4-6 hours a nite to unlearn some of the horse manure I learned in school. Calvery and old blacksmithing manuals, European manuals and research papers, engineering analysis of the hoof and leg structure... I still see a lot of "best practice" that is bad for horses. I also see new age horse manure that just lines your pockets to. 

It wasn't the first solo that scared the begisius out of me, first day, 2 hours in they handed me a shoe and told me to shape it and nail it on a live horses hoof. That gave me cold sweats.      

Btw, body work is sheet metal work

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