Horseshoes are used to protect a horse’s hooves from wear and tear. Domesticated horses often require shoes because their hooves do not harden in the same way as wild horses, and they carry the extra weight of riders and work equipment. The following are some common terms to know when looking for horseshoer.
Farrier – A farrier is a professional who supplies horseshoes, and who is highly knowledgeable about horse hoof care. They can trim a hoof to make it more balanced and fit a horse for shoes. Farriers will either nail shoes on to a hoof in a way that does not cause pain to the animal or glue shoes on.
Blacksmith – Blacksmiths forge things from steel and iron by hammering and bending metal into a desired shape. They make a wide variety of objects, including horseshoes. A blacksmith who makes horseshoes either works as a farrier as well or works with a horse-shoeing specialist to provide supplies for shoeing horses.
Anvil – An anvil is a metal block used by a blacksmith for forging metals. A work piece is placed in the anvil and struck with a hammer to shape it. Anvils are typically made from steel.
Laminitis – Laminitis is a disease that effects the hooves of horses, causing inflammation and lameness. Laminitis can be caused by many things, including overworking a horse, or result as a complication of another medical problem, like Cushing’s disease. Veterinarians and ferriers work together to care for horses with laminitis.
Pincers – Pincers are a type of handheld tool used to pinch and pull an object. They are commonly used to remove nails. A horseshoer would use pincers to remove an old horseshoe in order to replace it with a new one.
Horseshoers are the professionals who apply shoes to horses. Commonly made of steel, horseshoes are U-shaped objects nailed or glued to a horse’s hooves, meant to protect the equine’s feet. Horseshoers, also called farriers, can go to school to learn this trade or they can learn it over time, say, through a family farming business.
They attach the horseshoe to the hoof wall, which doesn’t hurt the animal due to the thickness of this substance, akin to toenails. They work with a variety of supplies and materials for horseshoes, and although steel is the most popular, these u-shaped devices can also be made out of aluminum, rubber, copper, iron, or plastic. Steel is meant for more heavy-duty running, competitions, and show jumping, whereas aluminum is lighter and is meant for horse racing.
Horseshoe specialists, known as blacksmiths in the UK, use many specialized tools in their practice, including anvils to forge the horseshoes for proper balance. To prevent cracking in the horse’s hoof, many farriers give the animals special supplements. These pellets can also prevent weak hoof walls and promote normal hoof growth, plus it can help the horse’s hooves retain shoes for a longer period of time.
Applying horseshoes is all a part of general horse care and grooming, such as brushing and cleaning. Farriers may purchase the necessary supplies from wholesalers or retailers, both in store or online. They may get recommendations from local veterinarians as well. Vets can also prescribe necessary medications, such as in the case of Cushing’s disease, an endocrine disorder.
General care is taken by farriers and blacksmiths to keep a horse’s hooves as comfortable and balanced as possible, given all the work they do, running, jumping, competing, riding, and galloping.