What Is a Farrier?
Blacksmiths can fit shoes to horses only if they are registered as a farrier which is an individual specializing in crafting shoes and tending to equine hoof care. This includes being able to measure, fabricate, and help the horse get acclimated to the new metal shoes by utilizing extensive knowledge of hoof care to tend to the health of the horse's feet. The best horseshoes are uniquely fitted to each animal. Much like brake pads on your car, a horseshoe that is not properly fitted can cause many issues to a horse's gait and mobility along with other ailments. There are many tools a farrier can use to accomplish this and we have listed some information about each one below.
If you ask most farriers, they will tell you that the farrier knife (hoof knife) is the most commonly used tool in shoeing a horse. This knife helps trim and balance a horse’s hooves. Finding a style that fits your grip and does the job can be a difficult task. To save on time and cost, know that the sharper the knife, the better it will function. Couple that with a reduction in arm fatigue due to having to apply less pressure and you will have saved time and turn out quality results. This tool will prove useful as you continue work on maintaining the hooves of your horse.
The farrier nailing hammer, also known as a driving or horseshoe hammer, has no vibration and shaped for effortlessly driving nails into the hooves. The other side allows the farrier to take off the nail to prevent it from protruding out the hoof. Overall, the process to choosing a farrier hammer is subjective but there are a few things you should keep in mind. The best hammer will have maximum durability and be well-balanced so you’re getting maximum output. The weight should be determined by what you are comfortable with lifting for 2-3 hours at a time. Since these hammers are light, pay extra attention to nail placement and monitoring the level at which it shows is crucial to successful shoeing.
Hoof pliers (hoof nippers) are used by a professional farrier to remove the overgrown hoof and trim the edge to reduce rasping. Due to their similar appearance, it is difficult to identify the difference between hoof nippers and horseshoe pullers. The main noticeable differentiation is the rounded tips on the horseshoe puller handle. The hoof nippers have straight handle ends that slightly stick outward. This tool acts in the same way nail clippers work for people and is the best tool for trimming hooves. It’s important to consider that steel is the best high-grade material to ensure durability and provide the correct trim to the edges of the hoof.
Horse Hoof Plane
Hoof planes or farrier rasps are the most neglected tool. They are the most cost-efficient and effective product that smooth and shape horse hooves and the hoof wall. This product primarily acts as a nail filer for horses and allows the farrier to keep the hooves smooth and uniform. Most of the grooming is done using the rasp side of the tool. The other side is used to keep the hooves' overall shape and removes any bumps or lumps that may be hindering a smooth finish. Part of the reason this tool is neglected is because of the price. Rather than choosing by price, it's better to make your choice based on the quality of the results yielded by this tool. You can handle more horses with a nicer rasp because you will not have to repeat your work, thus saving time and money.
Keep In Mind
Most farriers are proponents of veterinary care. It is always important to consider the horse's pain and discomfort when working on their hooves since they are a very vulnerable part of the horse. This is why it is so important to be precise and accurate when using farrier tools.
We recommend using a farrier shoeing kit that has all of the best basic tools you’ll need to care for hooves. If you have certain basic tools already, don’t forget to add the hoof plane to your collection as well. It is an integral part of the shoeing process and often forgotten. There are many options to choose from when deciding what items you want in your shoeing kit so this knowledge will help you choose the best!