Basic Shoeing: Guidelines for Balance

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By Bob Pethick, CJF APF

Farriers should not be trying to straighten limbs in aged horses. You’re simply trying to make the horse comfortable for it’s conformation. To help a horse become comfortable, you need to limit hoof distortion by trimming the hoof to bear weight as evenly as possible. A farrier’s key to hoof balance is being able to recognize the cause and effect of distortion. If uneven growth is allowed to continue unchecked, the hoof capsule distortion could cause a breakdown of hoof integrity and eventually lameness in the limb. Uneven hoof growth due to conformation problems will compound those problems.

When farriers are dealing with a client whose horse has a balance problem, references that the farrier may cite may not be up-to-date. This problem may also occur when working with veterinarians. The farrier needs to be up-to-date on the current research and theories to be able to explain why the problem exists in the first place.

As farriers, we are working from the coronary band down. What happens above the coronary band can be seen in the distortion of the hoof capsule. My philosophy is if you can balance the hoof according to weight bearing, the horse will land and move the best it can for its conformation. I recommend using Russell’s “center of gravity” as a point of reference for solving hoof distortion problems. More precisely, using the center of the frog because the frog never really moves, the hoof capsule distorts around it.

A major influence on hoof angle is tendon tension. The amount of tension will change how the hoof loads. If you have an upright foot, chances are the deep flexor tendon will be tight which will limit the amount of load on the heels by transferring weight bearing to the toe, limiting toe and increasing heel growth. If you have a horse with a low hoof angle and under run heels, there will be less tension on the deep flexor tendon, increasing weight, limiting growth and crushing the heels.

For the hoof capsule to function normally, it is important to make sure that the hoof is trimmed to its proper proportions and kept symmetrical both medial/lateral and anterior/posterior. When you are limited with what you can accomplish with trimming, the fit of the shoe can complete the equation by providing a base of support or platform for the limb above it.

Anterior/Posterior: The hoof capsule interprets weight bearing and load in two ways. It either loads forward of the centerline or back of the centerline and tendon and suspensory tension allows the fetlock to drop what we consider normally, excessively, or very little. All of the above effect growth of the heels and toe. The least amount of growth will occur where the majority of the weight is applied. The hoof will grow at a faster rate where the least amount of weight is applied, causing an imbalance which is compounded over time. When you add torque at breakover it becomes more obvious why long toe low heel syndrome is as detrimental to soundness as it is.

Medial/Lateral: The hoof capsule also interprets weight bearing and load in two ways. It will be either base-wide, loading outside the centerline or base-narrow, loading inside the centerline. The effects of base loading are seen from the widest part of the hoof back in the heel quarters. The quarter bearing the most weight will have the least amount of growth, become more vertical, closer to the frog and in extreme cases, considered a sheared heel. The quarter bearing the least amount of weight will grow at a faster rate away from the center of the hoof, causing an imbalance compounded over time. Base-wide will effect the medial heel quarter. Base-narrow will effect the lateral heel quarter.

The second consideration is toe-in, toe-out conformation. This effects the hoof from the widest part of the foot forward or the toe quarters. The quarter bearing the most weight at breakover will have limited growth while the opposite toe quarter will grow at a normal or a faster rate becoming a flair. Toe-in will have a flair on the medial toe quarter. Toe-out will have a flair on the lateral toe quarter.

All distortion in the hoof capsule is a combination of weight bearing, compression, load and torque and is directly related to the conformation of the limb above it. Remember, whenever horses are standing on their feet these forces are at work effecting growth.

Once we have an understanding of why hoof capsules distort, only then can we actually start to “balance” horses.

 

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 9, Issue 4 – written by Bob Pethick, CJF APF. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Bob Pethick, CJF APF

Bob Pethick began shoeing horses in 1971, apprenticing for three years with several farriers and attending forging seminars at Bruce Daniel’s South Jersey School of Horseshoeing. Today, in his busy career, he fills many roles as an active farrier and clinician, teacher, international judge and in promoting and supporting excellence in the industry. He has served on the AFA Therapeutic Exam Board and has been active with the AFA Certification Committee. Bob is also a past and current president of the Garden State Horseshoers Association Northern Chapter, has served on the Board of Directors of the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Association of Professional Farriers and was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame in 2006.

As owner of Bedminster Forge in New Jersey, Bob’s clientele includes show Hunters, Jumpers, Dressage and event horses. Bob also does therapeutic work at B.W. Furlong and Associates and Running ‘S’ Equine Veterinary Services.

Bob’s professional certifications include AFA Certified (1983), Journeyman Certified (1986), AFA Examiner (1988), and member of Horseshoer’s Union Local 16. He is licensed in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to plate Thoroughbreds and has shod many world champions and Olympic horses in all disciplines.

In 1979, Bob began competing at state events and worked his way up through the divisions. After competing at the 1985 AFA Convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, Bob was selected to become a member of the North American Horseshoeing Team and is a two-time member of that Team. He is a five-time member of the American Farriers Team and has represented the US in International competition. Bob now judges competitions at the International level. He is a five time judge of the AFA National Competition, two time judge of the World Championship Blacksmith Competition in Calgary, and has also judged the Mustad National Competition in Scotland and the International Team Farrier Competition in England.

A Clinician since 1986, Bob gives many clinics on balance and recognizing and treating hoof capsule distortion. He utilizes OnTrack software, using gait analysis to add dynamic balance to his presentations. Bob has been the recipient of the Jim Linzy Outstanding Clinician Award by the American Farriers Association. Bob has taught the AAEP/AFA Short Course at Tufts and Cornell as well as other vet schools and has been a speaker at the AAEP and AFA conventions as well as the International Hoof-Care Summit.

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Tool Corner: Simple Steps Lead to Consistent Clinching

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Two methods of clinching are the hammer clinch and the use of a clinching tool. Both methods have the same goal – to provide a neat, safe and effective clinch.

In recent years, many farriers have come to rely almost completely on the clincher in their finish work. The following ideas and pictures illustrate some of the steps that can be used in this method. No matter what method you use, your clinches should be of consistent length and smooth when completed. Long clinches add no strength to the job.

Unless you are in an old nail hole you will always get a bit of hoof pushed out under the nail. It is most obvious after you have blocked the nails and are getting ready to do the clinching. If you are careful with the smooth side of your rasp or finish file you can clean this up by running the file or rasp under the nail. If you don’t take care with this method you can leave unsightly lines between the nails. Some believe these lines, which are often parallel to the ground, create a weakness in the wall, something like cutting glass. It is also very difficult to create a “bed” to set the clinch in using this method.

These photos show that the nails have been blocked:

To avoid the possibility of weakening the wall or leaving unsightly marks you can use the undercut method.

Start by using the clincher to pull the nail to a 90 degree angle to the wall. Then cut the nail very close to the wall. You want to leave only enough nail to be able to grab it with your clincher.

After cutting the nail, use the undercut to cut a scoop or create a bed for the clinch to go in. This allows your clinch to be squeezed tight against the hoof without leaving nail on the outer surface to be filed off. In the end you have more nail mass at the bend of the clinch, providing a much stronger clinch and a flush fit with the wall.

These photos illustrate the above steps:

When clinching, don’t yank downward in a raking motion. This can tear more hoof below the clinch if the motion is too strong and at the very least leave unsightly marks. You should be able to squeeze the clinchers with a very light motion and bend the clinch over. This squeezing pushes the clinch back into the bed you have created. You might even find that a slight upward motion of your tool, while squeezing, produces a neater clinch, and job, than if you rake downward.

Finished job with clinches lightly filed and sand blocked.

There are a number of clinchers available. The traditional saddle horse clincher is the most commonly used. Other styles on the market include curved jaw versions and styles with an angled head that make it easier to position your hands to make the squeeze to do the clinch.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 6, Issue 3. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Basic Shoeing: Working with a Club Foot

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by Dave Farley, CF APF

When asked to work on a horse with a club foot, take extra time to evaluate the whole horse. Look at the horse from all angles. Watch the horse as it takes a couple of steps; this can help you see where the foot cannot take stress.

Above: Right Front Foot

A horse will protect himself just as you do when hurting. Learning this and understanding the lame horse is mandatory for a farrier to have a successful, positive shoeing experience.

Doing anything less is simply application, not correction.

Above: Left Front Foot

The condition of the foot, the way the horse stands and your shoe modification ability will
help determine the end result.

With all this in mind we worked on a
club foot case recently:

This particular horse, a six year old gelding, has what I feel is a grade three club foot (on a 1-5 scale).

Apparently the club foot condition has been
with this horse since it was a foal.

This horse found it difficult to stand square or under himself before shoeing.


In photo 1 you can see the dish in the hoof wall is at or just below the coronary, a grade 3, whereas a dish at or just above the end of the toe would likely be considered grade 1 or 2. This club foot, as seen in photo 2, has very straight medial and lateral walls, versus only medial or lateral. Look closely at photo 3 and you can see hoof growth at the heel is approximately twice as much as the toe growth. There is separation of the wall from widest area medial to widest area lateral shown in photo 4. The bars are starting to close in or point towards the frog as you can see in photo 5. If the end of the bars are not opened as I did on the right (I simply use a rasp and knife) they will start to pinch and narrow the frog.

There are several other factors that contribute to this horse’s lameness. Look at photos 6 and 7. Notice the pronounced side bone. Photo 8 shows a prolapsed sole that is painful, making it impossible to have a normal stride. Also notice the degenerative sole growth just in front of the frog. This is from osteomyelitis or infectious bone. Photo 9 is the lateral x-ray showing the remodeled bone and poor quality of the bone.  The toe crack in photo 10 has also been the site of drainage from abscesses due to micro fractures from the distal end of the coffin bone.

With all this in mind I decided to modify a shoe to do several things. Rocker the shoe both toe and heel to allow for ease of break over and landing, add a leather rim pad to raise the prolapsed and painful sole off the ground and fit the shoe more medial to center the frog while putting the hoof support closer to the center of the leg (photos 11 and 12).

Before applying this shoe it was almost impossible to pick up the left front. After application of the modified shoe to the right I was then able to shoe the left. I also applied a thicker rim pad to the left front to raise that side allowing the right foot and leg to be more square and weight bearing. You can see in photo 13 that the left front is much wider than the right, a result of bearing more than its share of weight over the years.

Photo 13

Our thanks to Dr. Bruce Lyle for providing radiographs on this horse and to the owners – Chad & Cathy Pippen for allowing us to work on their horse in a recent clinic.  All reside in Aubrey, Texas.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 8, Issue 3 – written by Dave Farley, CF APF. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Dave Farley, CF APF

Dave-Farley-4Dave Farley, CF APF of Coshocton, Ohio has been shoeing horses for over 40 years. He has shod for a broad range of disciplines, including Western horses, Reining, Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers. His business today is focused on Hunters and Jumpers on the “A” circuit.

Throughout his shoeing career he has participated in educational functions. For a number of years he has been doing shoeing clinics in the US and Canada, many sponsored by FPD but also as a guest speaker and clinician at events like the AFA Convention and the International Hoof Care Summit. In 2000 he received the Clinician of the Year Award from the AFA, in recognition of his contributions to the industry. In 2008 he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

Dave is known for his willingness to share his knowledge and experience with farriers throughout the industry. His dedication is obvious to those who have heard him speak in the past. Dave is a founding member and Immediate Past President of the American Association of Professional Farriers. This is a national farriers association focused on continuing education for the trade.

He also partnered with Roy Bloom to form a video company called Hot Iron Productions. The goal of the company is to produce top quality video footage to help explain shoeing and forging concepts, including their latest issues, 12 Points of Reference – Balancing the Equine Hoof and Shoeing the Jumper.

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Business Strategy: Information and Customer Service

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A successful commitment to customer service requires some planning. There is no doubt you have to be quick on your feet in dealing with your customers but you can’t overlook the advantages of thorough planning.

In the early stages of this planning you need to develop an information base. This can be a basic journal or notebook done manually, or a simple database on a computer system. The computers and software in the market today are relatively easy to work with and can make it much easier to keep your information base current. They also provide options for improving your customer service by allowing you to do mailing labels, form letters and other communication functions.

Customer information

  • Customer name(s)
  • Category – owner, trainer, rider?
  • Addresses – both billing and horse locations
  • Phones – get all of them; home, barn, cellular
  • Billing Method – Cash, open account, credit card?
  • Veterinarian (for specific customer or horse) and number
  • Comments – keep relevant notes about the customer and their horses

The customer info is pretty straightforward but invaluable as you move forward to improve your service level.

The next step would be development of the horse information. You need to determine what information is important to you. It may be that too much info creates unnecessary work but the information you gather and develop can be used to enhance your relationships with your customers. In a worst case scenario, suppose a problem develops with one of the horses you have worked on. The information and history you have on file can be used to support your position. It can help you explain to a veterinarian, owner or other interested party exactly what you know about the horse. Information on the horse – accurate information – can only help you.

Horse information

  • Name of horse(s)
  • Breed, age, other specific info
  • Basic owner/trainer/rider info
  • Veterinarian
  • History /comments

Once you have compiled your customer and horse information you can then put it to work. Communications using the database are the next step.

Communications
Billing. This may be the most important “communication” you have with your customer. Without it, you’re out of business. Make sure your billing is prompt and accurate. Try to do your billing by invoicing, at least once a week- don’t wait to do monthly statements. Monthly statements can be helpful – to be sure your customers know you know where they stand. The improved cash flow of billing as you go will be important to you. Make sure your customers understand the terms and meet them.

Maintenance issues. You need to communicate regular maintenance issues to your
customers as well as any special instructions for individual cases. You may not see the owner when you shoe the horse but you need to be sure they are aware of what’s going on.

Education. As you get more comfortable with the use of your database you can expand your services by sharing educational information with your customers. This can be something as simple as a single page on hoofcare tips or reprints of articles, newsletters or website information. Your position will be much stronger if you have tried to help your customers understand what you do to help their horses. You can start by sending information with invoices or doing two or three mailings a year.

Don’t expect the gathering and entry of data to happen all at once. Do it as you have time but work to complete the process in a reasonable timeframe. You are building a foundation, take your time and do it as thoroughly as possible.

 
The database information you assemble will be helpful as you work to get your customers accustomed to scheduling.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 4, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Basic Shoeing: Shoes For Traction

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by Dave Farley, CF APF

Most equine breeds and disciplines require some degree of traction in order to perform. A horse’s ability to perform would be extremely limited if you took away all traction. The natural concavity of the sole and the hoof wall provide a certain degree of traction when barefoot.
 

Under domesticated conditions we normally apply horseshoes so we have to be prepared to provide adequate traction with the shoes. In the past, most traction devices had to be hand forged into a shoe. Advances in manufacturing technology have led to a number of ready made traction shoes and other simple methods to modify the factory shoe.

The majority of horseshoes manufactured today are flat shoes. These shoes often have a crease from just in front of the toe nail to just behind the heel nail. For our purposes we’ll refer to these as plain shoes. Your challenge is to decide if you need more traction than this shoe provides. I’ll work through a selection of choices you might make to get the job done if you decide you need more.

The simplest device might be the selection of a factory shoe that already has a crease through the toe area or around the entire surface of the shoe. These shoes are often referred to as rim shoes. A shoe creased through the toe or from heel to heel can be used on the front or hind to add traction. The photos below show a factory shoe creased through the toe and a plain factory shoe being creased on the job. The determination you can make is whether you require the extra traction provided by the crease often enough to warrant carrying the ready made rim shoes in your inventory. If there is only an occasional need a quick one heat modification with the creaser to your plain shoes is probably more cost effective for you.

I have a modification that I use for horses that need medial-lateral traction. The in-line jar calk helps with quick turns but doesn’t hinder the forward motion like a block heel or heeled shoe might. I use this most often with the jumper that needs to have speed and traction in turns as well as the straight to perform best. Other disciplines that can be helped with this modification are the hunter, polo and cutting horses. This  is a one heat modification that only requires the hammer and anvil.

A traction device that has been popular for years in Canada and Europe is the drive-in stud (calk). There are various brands and styles but generally the drive-in studs have a carbide center that give additional grip even on the hardest surfaces. They can be almost flat with the ground surface or you can select studs that are elevated above the ground surface. The photos show a typical application for my work.  I have used these on general purpose riding horses, hunters, jumpers and trail horses. I find they are a fairly easy device to apply (drill and drive) and are often reusable. Be sure to have an annealed face on your hammer to avoid chipping. The carbide will be harder than any hammer face you might have.

The screw-in calks are most often seen on the hunter/jumper circuit, particularly for the three day event horse and dressage. There are many different drive-in studs providing a wide range of traction possibilities. They should be used carefully as there are some very severe calks available. The taller calks might be used for very wet, muddy grass surfaces but on hard surfaces can create undesirable impact in the calk area. The photos show two common sizes of calks that I see used by my customers. I generally only drill and tap the shoes for the customer and let them decide when and what to use. One big advantage of the screw-in calk is that it is easy to put in and take out and therefore can be applied only for the length of time it is determined to be useful.

These are some ideas for you to consider when evaluating the needs of the horse for the job he has to do.
 

I am always cautious about applying traction devices that may not be necessary. Over the years I have seen a number of problems that are a result of too much traction- causing lameness that could have been avoided.

Start with the least severe option and work your way up until you have reached the level that gets the job done for you but keeps your horses sound as well.



1. Kerckhaert Standard – creased through toe.

2. Kerckhaert SX-8 Clipped being creased through toe.

3. Making in-line jar calk by turning
inside of heel at edge of anvil.

4. In-line jar calk.

5. In-line jar calk positioned on foot.

6. Center punch your drive-in
or screw-in calk positions.

7. Two common sizes of
drive-in studs.

8. Drilling is all that’s necessary
for the drive-in calks. Most
have tapered shanks

9. When driving in studs with head,
be sure not to bottom out, leave a
slight gap between shoe and
shoulder of stud.

10. Use a steel hammer with
|an annealed face to avoid
injury from chipping

11. Smaller studs driven flush used
in toe with slightly taller studs in heels.

12. When drilling for screw-in calks
be sure to countersink. This
makes application much easier.

13. Use appropriate tap for the screw-in
calks you will be using.

14. Screw-in calks should normally
not be placed at end of heel. Slightly
more forward than the studs in this
photo would probably be preferable
in most cases.
 

 

15. Two different size calks. Choice will usually
be made based on surface conditions.

 


This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 3, Issue 1 – written by Dave Farley, CF APF. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Dave Farley, CF APF

Dave-Farley-4Dave Farley, CF APF of Coshocton, Ohio has been shoeing horses for over 40 years. He has shod for a broad range of disciplines, including Western horses, Reining, Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers. His business today is focused on Hunters and Jumpers on the “A” circuit.

Throughout his shoeing career he has participated in educational functions. For a number of years he has been doing shoeing clinics in the US and Canada, many sponsored by FPD but also as a guest speaker and clinician at events like the AFA Convention and the International Hoof Care Summit. In 2000 he received the Clinician of the Year Award from the AFA, in recognition of his contributions to the industry. In 2008 he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

Dave is known for his willingness to share his knowledge and experience with farriers throughout the industry. His dedication is obvious to those who have heard him speak in the past. Dave is a founding member and Immediate Past President of the American Association of Professional Farriers. This is a national farriers association focused on continuing education for the trade.

He also partnered with Roy Bloom to form a video company called Hot Iron Productions. The goal of the company is to produce top quality video footage to help explain shoeing and forging concepts, including their latest issues, 12 Points of Reference – Balancing the Equine Hoof and Shoeing the Jumper.

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The Canadian Farrier’s Team in England

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Guest Blog from Sara Vanderpol

Each year the Canadian Farrier’s Team is selected to represent Canada’s farriers on the world stage. Jack Ketel (Kelowna, BC), Justin Fountain (Kamloops, BC), John Dixon (Abbotsford, BC), Sara Vanderpol (Elora, ON) and alternate Johnny Edwards (Navan, ON) successfully passed team trials at the beginning of May near Montreal, QC to make the team. They competed together at the ‘Rumble in the Broncs’ Contest near Toronto, ON at the beginning of June. Several practices and the ‘Forging in the Rockies’ Contest later, the team was headed to the UK 2017 World Horseshoeing Classic, an international farrier competition held yearly in Stoneleigh, England.

Sara Vanderpol recounts the trip’s events and the team’s results through the following journal entries
 

SEPT 19 – We arrived in Gatwick airport in the morning on separate flights from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa. We met, found our rental vehicles and headed out for the two and a half hour drive to Ely. We are staying at spacious Airbnb cottage. After a few tumbles down the stairs and head bonks on the door frames we have settled in.

SEPT 20 – This morning began early with a Starbucks breakfast and the 25 minute drive to the O’Shaughnessy’s forge. We worked on our specimens for the shoeing classes in Stoneleigh. The metal in the UK is slightly different dimensions so it is important to sort out how it stretches to make adjustments in sizing. Later in the morning, Will O’Shaughnessy came out to the shop and brought in two horses from a nearby pasture. They were tied in the two standing spots in the shop. John and I had a run of the short shoeing class first, followed by Jack and Justin.  We were very tight for time but decided that the heat of the moment in competition would pull us through when we competed in Stoneleigh. We had a run through of the gas forging which Johnny gave us plenty of pointers on.  The evening ended with a dinner at a local pub with the O'Shaughnessy’s.

SEPT 21 – Today started with Starbucks again. We headed to the shop where shoeing rounds began immediately. They went much more smoothly than yesterday for both pairs and we were all done in time. We had one more run through of the gas class, then packed up our tools and headed back to the cottage. The girls picked out a delicious pub for dinner in the nearby town of Ely. We spent the rest of the evening walking around town and packing.

SEPT 22 – This morning we left early to make the 2 hour trek to Stoneleigh Park. We were one of the first teams to arrive. This allowed us to get in a solid 4 hour warm up in and to prep our tools for the next day. We checked into the hotel and went out to a nearby pub called Saxon Mills for dinner.

SEPT 23 – We started early with Jack and Justin in the first 2 hour shoeing round. I quickly recognized the horse we were given as the same one the CFT shod last year. All of our rounds went well as the horse had very solid feet.


Our specimen shoes were not exceptional but they finished and cleaned up well enough. Johnny completed his alternate class and was a little disappointed as one of his shoes didn't come to size. After a quick lunch we completed the 90 minute Gas Class. It went as planned and our shoes were tidy.

SEPT 24 – We were in the second round, and were able to get up a little later today. We took advantage of the time and watched the round compete before us. Our horse had decently sized, shelly and slightly weak feet. Justin and Jack were a bit tight for time in the end but finished. John and I had a pretty rushed run. My hind foot ended up being more of a front shape and John was a little bit short on length on the foot. We had been worried about getting this class done in decent time, and it felt great to successfully complete it. It was late afternoon by the time we packed up the tools and left. After a bit of socializing, we headed to the Hilton for the banquet.

The evening consisted of dinner, an auction and awards. Jokes flew around the tables and a good time was had by all. We were slightly surprised to be called up for third place in the gas class and fifth overall! This is the Canadian Farrier Team’s best placing at Stoneleigh in the last 10 years!

SEPT 25 – Today our team drove into London. John went home while everyone else managed to take time off to tour the UK. I ventured off on my own to walk and take the train through London. I climbed 311 steps up to the Monument to the Great Fire of London, and walked by the London bridge, Hyde Park, Oxford Circus, St. James Park, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the Cavalry and Big Ben.

 

SEPT 26 – I woke up this morning and flew home. It feels great to be back on Canadian soil!

Reflecting on the Canadian Farrier Team’s 2017 trip to Stoneleigh, I am so appreciative of everyone who made our trip possible. Without our sponsors, our trip would not have been a reality. It takes a lot of time, effort and support to bring every team member to this level. I am also grateful to have Sean Elliot as team manager. Without his direction, we would not be where we are today.

On a personal note, it has been a huge honour to travel across the world representing the Canadian farrier industry. It amazes me how many opportunities I have had to meet amazing craftsman and people through farriery. This is truly a fantastic industry to be involved in. I look forward to seeing where the team heads in 2018. If 2017 is any indication, they will continue to represent our great country and make all Canadian farriers proud!

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Tool Corner: Tong Maintenance

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By Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

Tongs are used to hold material too hot to hold with our hands. Maximum control is possible only if the tongs are set to the size of material being used.

Tongs 1Photo 1 shows the jaws set correctly for the material. Compare this with photo 2 & 3. Photo 2 shows the jaws too wide for the stock. Only the tips are touching. Photo 3 shows the jaws too narrow for the stock. The tips are gapped. Any gaps will allow the material to slip and make it extremely difficult to control.

If your tongs have either of these gap problems you need to reset the jaws. Place the tongs in the fire and heat the jaws. Place a piece of the desired stock size between the jaws. Place only the jaw area on the anvil and lightly tap the jaws against the stock as shown in photo 4. When you have them making full contact set them aside and allow them to air cool. Don’t quench them.

Tongs 2_4

Tongs 5A helpful hint.

In photo 5, the pencil is pointing to a very critical area in any pair of tongs. If this area does not have adequate bulk it will bend too easily. This bending will occur in use from the heat absorbed from the hot material and even a slight squeezing of the reins. You will continually have to reset your tongs if they do not have enough material in this area.

Once your jaws are set you can address the reins. All tongs should be made from some form of spring steel. This adds a certain amount of memory to the reins and strength to the jaws. Without this memory or strength your jaws or reins can not hold the set you put on them.

The gap between the reins should allow a grip that matches your hammer handle grip. Photo 6 shows a good tong gap. If the dimension is too narrow, as in photo 7, the rein ends meet before firm contact is made with the material. If the dimension is too wide (photo 8) your hand is spread too far to effectively and easily grip the tongs. Either problem forces you to squeeze the reins to be able to hold your material. If this is occurring you need to set or fix the rein gap.

Tongs 6_10

In photo 9 the pencil points to the area where you should bend the reins to adjust the gap. Don’t just heat this area and squeeze the reins to set. Unless your heat is even, one side will move more than the other. If your heat is too high you can distort the rivet.

To widen the reins, place a piece of 1/2” stock in the area shown in photo 9 and set the jaw to the dimension of the stock. If 1/2” is not enough, use a larger size until you get the rein gap you need.

If the gap is too large put a piece of stock in the jaws and then place the tongs (photo 10) on the end of the anvil horn and tap just behind the shoulder of the reins. Switch from rein to rein as necessary to keep the reins even until you have the proper gap.

A final note.

In addition to setting the proper gap of the jaws and the reins you have to consider the condition of your rivet. If your tongs start to bind, won’t open or close freely or are extremely loose it’s time to change the rivet. Heating the rivet and working the tongs or hammering the rivet will never fix it. It has become worn and needs to be replaced.

This Tool Corner is from The Natural Angle Volume 2, Issue 3 – written by Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

PhotoELF Edits: 2013:10:30 --- Saved as: 24-Bit JPEG (EXIF) Format 98 % --- batch crop --- cropRoy Bloom has been shoeing horses since 1973. He has been a member of the American Farrier’s Team on two different occasions and for many years served as the manager of the team. Roy has always been willing to share the extensive knowledge he’s gained over the years with members of the farrier industry. In addition to his farrier background, he developed a strong interest in blacksmithing and tool making and for many years has been manufacturing a broad range of farrier and blacksmith tools. He also has a fully equipped shop and the ability to do a wide variety of ornamental and artistic work. Roy’s work as a clinician has earned him the Educator of the Year Award from the AFA and a position in the Horseshoer’s Hall of Fame.

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Tool Corner: Using the Undercut

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by Roy Bloom, CJF APF and Dave Farley, CF APF

The undercut, sometimes called a hoof gouge, can be used in place of the rasp when clinching. The photos give an excellent view of the steps involved. Like all new methods, the undercut may seem awkward the first few days of use.

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 3.45.43 PMI think the undercut gives me a stronger clinch with a smooth finish. The sketches illustrate the results of clinching with and without the undercut. In sketch A, you can see that after clinching, either with a clincher or a hammer, the nail is rasped or filed to eliminate burrs or jagged edges. This process takes material away from the clinch, weakening it. In sketch B you have the nail that has been clinched after undercutting. The undercut provides a pocket to fold the clinch into. The end of the clinch is also resting within the pocket, lessening the chance that it will loosen. Because it is not protruding from the hoof wall it does not need to be filed as aggressively. A sanding block may be all that’s necessary to finish.

I also think that the horizontal mark or scratch that is often caused by the rasp is weakening the wall, a bit like the process of cutting glass by scratching the surface. The undercut minimizes the area disturbed in the clinching process. The undercut requires very little maintenance. If it feels like it is becoming a bit dull just use a small flat file to touch it up. A couple strokes following the angle of the end of the tool is all you need. You need to be sure your undercut has the angles as shown in the photos.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 3.46.08 PMUsing the Undercut

1.  After cutting the end of the nail fairly close to the wall, strike the undercut straight into the wall. You should be approximately 3/16” under the nail on the first hit.Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 3.46.25 PM

2.  Tilt the undercut (about a 45 degree angle) on the second hit.

3.  The last blow at a high angle should finish the removal of the pocket.

4.  Use the clincher with a very light squeeze to start the clinch over.

5.  Now push the clinch back into the pocket produced by the undercut. Do not use a severe pulling motion, just a squeeze and push.

6.  Place your clinch block on the nail head and set the nail with the heel edge of your hammer.

7.  A light flat blow with the hammer completes the steps of clinching. You’re now ready to sand or lightly file finish the foot.


Tool Tips:

Sharpening the Undercut

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 4.00.53 PM

This photo shows the file stroke and angle used to sharpen the tool. A 6” flat file works well for touching up the tool. Sharpening should only require a few smooth strokes following the angle shown in the photo.

 


 

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Tool Corner: Tips for More Efficient Creasing

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by Roy Bloom, CJF APF

Is the shoe creased or fullered? I use the term crease if the bottom of the groove is sharp or V shaped. If the bottom is flat I consider it fullered. Call it what you want, there are two reasons to crease.

 

1.  To allow access to the nails for easy removal.
2.  To produce an area where dirt can collect and produce traction
.

 

A creaser replaces the forepunch that is used for plain stamped shoes. The crease follows the same positioning pattern of the forepunched nail holes (figure 1). The first nail hole is generally in the middle of the stock if you are using 3/4″ stock and gradually moves to the outside of center when it reaches the last nail hole.

Figure 1_3There are many details to address when creasing.

The inside angle of the crease is more upright than the outside angle. The width of this crease should match the nail you are creasing for (figure 2). Because of the difference in inside and outside angles and the fact that the crease runs to the outside of center, there is a significant amount of distortion to the branch.

If the creaser is simply driven into the steel there is no way to fix the distortion (figure 3). As the creaser is driven in, the outside angle pushes the material down and away with little resistance. The inside angle is steeper, it cuts down but meets resistance from more stock and pushes material up and in. If you run the hammer down the outside edge to push the distortion in you simply close up the crease. If you run the crease again you end up with the same distortion. You must first put extra material where the crease will be. This is called hemming or knocking up the branch. The edge is hammered at the opposite angle of the outside angle of the creaser (figure 4). The outside angle of your creaser is the angle the edge should be hammered. Angle it all the way across the edge of the branch.

Figure 4_5After hemming you will be ready to crease.

Before you start you need to look at your creaser. There should be no sharp edges on the creaser. Sharp edges cause coldshuts and cracking of the bottom of the crease. The creaser needs to flow when you are working it and sharp edges will cause the creaser to stick. Even the bottom edge of the creaser should have a slight radius (figure 5).

Once you’ve hemmed and made certain of your creaser edges you should be ready to crease. Starting from the heel or the toe, depending on the branch you start with, the creaser should be struck in the center of the head. Some have a tendency to lean the creaser away to be able to see better or to produce a straighter angle on the inside. If you do this you still need to make sure you strike the tool in the center. Striking the inside edge of the head will cause the inside edge to mushroom and even break. It can also cause the cutting edge of the tool to curl.

You can begin by making a marking run. You can then start the actual creasing. Once the creaser is struck, pick up the handle, pull and slide to the next position. Overlap your positions, pulling the creaser until the center of the tool is over the end of the previous impression. Continue until the desired length is reached. The depth of the crease will be determined by the nail you will be using.

You should now run your hammer down the back edge of the branch. Then take a good flattening run down the foot surface of the branch. You can now make another run through the crease to clean it up.

Summary

1. Prepare your creaser before you begin (no sharp edges).
2. Do your hemming of the branch.
3. Make a quick run to mark your crease.
4. Crease.
5. Lightly hammer back edge.
6. Make flattening run.
7. Do your clean up run through the crease.

This Tool Corner is from The Natural Angle Volume 2, Issue 1 – written by Roy Bloom, APF CJF. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Roy Bloom, CJF APF

PhotoELF Edits: 2013:10:30 --- Saved as: 24-Bit JPEG (EXIF) Format 98 % --- batch crop --- cropRoy Bloom has been shoeing horses since 1973. He has been a member of the American Farrier’s Team on two different occasions and for many years served as the manager of the team. Roy has always been willing to share the extensive knowledge he’s gained over the years with members of the farrier industry. In addition to his farrier background, he developed a strong interest in blacksmithing and tool making and for many years has been manufacturing a broad range of farrier and blacksmith tools. He also has a fully equipped shop and the ability to do a wide variety of ornamental and artistic work. Roy’s work as a clinician has earned him the Educator of the Year Award from the AFA and a position in the Horseshoer’s Hall of Fame.

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Tim Cable, APF and the Red Mile

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Tim shaping the Kerckhaert Half Swedge

Tim Cable, APF

Guest Blog from Rob Logsdon of FPD

The Red Mile in Lexington, KY has long been referred to as “The World’s Fastest Harness Track.” Established in 1875, this track is the second oldest harness track in the world and holds many world record times. Many Standardbred horses have achieved their personal best times on the soft, but fast, red clay surface. Every surface presents different challenges for the farriers of these marvelous equine athletes. Recently, during the Red Mile’s Grand Circuit race meet, I was able to spend the afternoon with farrier Tim Cable, APF and discuss the particular challenges of the Red Mile.

Tim is a third generation farrier with many relatives who are farriers, as well. It’s always a pleasure to watch him work. His horsemanship, skill and attention to detail are why he works for such clients as top stable, Lindy Farms and top trainer, Chris Oakes.

We began the morning watching the training of some of the horses Tim would be shoeing later in the day. Tim evaluated the movement of each horse during the training; looking for clues for what he could possibly do to help the horse.

Afterwards, we worked our way to the blacksmith shop where Tim works. Tequila Monday, one of the top 3 year old pacing fillies, was waiting to be fitted with her new Kerckhaert shoes. Tim fitted her nicely with a leather wedge pad and Kerckhaert Half Swedge hind shoes.

I wish the best of luck to Tequila Monday, trainer Chris Oakes and Lindy Farms during the Grand Circuit Meet and safe travels throughout the year. Big thanks to Tim Cable for the photos and video clips.

 

Tim Cable Shoeing Tequila Monday

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