A blog about Cowboy Music, Western Swing and Cowboy Poetry. 2014 WMA Radio DJ/Radio Program of the Year

Hug your Horseshoer

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter

With the advance in rural living perpetuated by the invention of the 40-acre ranchette, trail ride associations and urban horse owner playdays, the horseshoers of the world have found themselves in a completely new atmosphere of commerce.

Owning a horse is much like wearing a thong bikini-anyone can one but not everyone should.

Ownership of either should require some sort of an application process.

Farriers, or horseshoers as we regular rural people call them, have come from a long dignified line of blacksmiths.

Cowboys at the ranch usually shoe their own until they either are too old or they become financially sound enough to justify the cost of hiring it done.

Historically, a farrier was a horse doctor.

It is only in the last hundred years that people who shod horses began calling themselves farriers and history is not clear on how that transformation came about.

It is unknown who invented the first horseshoe. Early Asian horsemen used horse “booties” made from leather and plants.

During the first century, the Romans made leather and metal shoes called “hipposandals” and by the sixth and seventh centuries, European horsemen had begun nailing metal shoes to horses’ hooves.

Around 1000 AD, cast bronze horseshoes with nail holes became common in Europe. The 13th and 14th centuries brought the widespread manufacturing of iron horseshoes.

Hot-shoeing, the process of heating the horseshoe before shoeing the horse became common in the 16th century.

All this before the first horseshoe was ever patented.

The first notable patent in the U.S. went to Henry Burden in 1835 for a horsehoe manufacturing machine. Burden’s machine made up to sixty horseshoes per hour.

For those that are new to owning a horse and need the services of a hard working iron-pounder to keep your animal shod, here are some tips of etiquette, or as it were, the things you should never say to a horseshoer.

  • Good Morning. Glad you are here. Can we reschedule? I have a lot going today.
  • Can you bill me? I left my check book in the car.
  • I know I said just a trim, but would you go ahead and shoe them as well?
  • I know it’s been a long day. That’s why I saved the worst one for last.
  • I don’t understand why the shoes didn’t stay on. I had them done four months ago.
  • Does it mean my horses have some sort of deficiency when they chew the paint off your truck like that?
  • Oops, wrong horse.
  • My weanling colt needs a trim. Maybe you could halter break him while you’re here.
  • I’ve got a new horse with feet that are in pretty bad shape. The previous owners said their farrier wouldn’t work on him.
  • I forgot you were coming. I just turned all the horses out.
  • My last farrier couldn’t finish. They gave me your name and number.
  • If he didn’t kick like that, I’d trim him myself.
  • Can we shoe him in the arena? If he rears in the barn, he hits his head.
  • Can you make it here after 6 p.m. or on Sunday? I have to work.
  • Good thing you are slow today or he’d have had shoes on when he kicked your truck.
  • If you will just give each of the dogs a piece of hoof, they will get out from under the horse and quit fighting.
  • Most time when he kicks, he misses.
  • Can you shoe him so that he doesn’t paw?
  • If you get done in 30 minutes you’ll be making $160 an hour.

Keep in mind that a good one is hard to find and harder yet to keep.

Julie can be reached for comment a jcarter@gmail.com.

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