Horse shoeing is intended to protect a domesticated horse’s natural hoof from cracking or bruising. Becoming a farrier is a skill that needs a clinic on the subject or it would require some on-the-job training or apprenticeship with an experienced farrier who has extensive knowledge about horse shoeing. The hoof of the horse is made of keratin and is much like a human’s fingernail, only thicker and tougher. Shaping the hoof and nailing on a horseshoe can be learned with thorough training and observation. Special tools are required for horse shoeing. Trimming and horse shoeing is literally a back-breaking task if done consistently and an unskilled farrier can easily cause harm to a horse’s foot and balance. When it comes to the horse’s comfort, having new horseshoes fitted is a very relaxing event for the experienced horse. There is no sedation involved in the horse shoeing process, in spite of that once the horse realizes that it is stuck standing there until his feet are done, he may doze off as he is shod.
Before you start with the horse shoeing process, have someone assist you by holding the horse. A very calm horse can also be tied to a post during the horse shoeing process, but some horses have a propensity to move around and need a steady hand by the owner or handler. The first step of horse shoeing involves removing the existing horseshoe from the hoof with the help of metal pincers or shoe pullers. Once the shoe has been removed, trim the overgrowth section to the appropriate length using nippers, which are similar to pliers, but bigger and sharper. Clip the rough and overgrown bottom of the hoof from the frog and sole of the hoof using a hoof knife. This is not painful to the horse. Think of it as a manicure that you would perform on someone.
Measure the shoe in accordance to the hoof and use a hammer along with an anvil to bend each horseshoe to the right shape. If you are cold horse shoeing the animal, the shoe is bent without heating it, whereas when performing hot horse shoeing, you will be required to place the shoe in a portable forge to heat it before bending. Cool down the hot shoes in a bucket of cold water and nail the shoes onto each hoof. Continue hammering until level with the underside of the hoof and sever the sharp ends of the nails. Using a large file referred to as a rasp to even out the outside edge where the hoof meets the horseshoe.
Many farriers obtain all their training as apprentices, but a farrier school will offer a more formal training. If you are interested in learning about horse shoeing or if you are considering becoming a farrier, you should enrol at a horse shoeing school. A horse shoeing school covers a number of different topics and provides you with extensive knowledge on horse shoeing.