Studied under Chris Gregory, CJF, FWCF; internationally recognized farrier, competitor, and educator
Once upon a time, farriers-of-old crafted elaborate suits of armor for those brave medieval knights daring to serve, stand with, and defend the king and his kingdom. With the King of kings, Jesus Christ, we have elaborate armor that no man could ever come close to creating. This armor is tried in fire, but will never be used against flesh and blood. (Eph 6)
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There are many in the ancient, noble trade of farriery and blacksmithing who have left a legacy of excellence and old-world craftsmanship, while adopting state-of-the-art tools and techniques to further perfect the art and science of farriery. My desire is to walk in their paths, and in so doing, leave a legacy of excellence for future farriers.
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A skilled craftsman can make a handmade shoe that has much more quality than keg shoes. Handmade hot-fit shoes fit most hooves much better, because they are made for each individual hoof. Also, they are seated out, which means that the shoe is tapered toward the inside to eliminate the possibility of sole pressure. In addition, handmade shoes have heel checks, which allow the commissures on either side of the frog to naturally clean out much easier than with the rounded heel on a keg shoe. This allows oxygen to reach the commissures, which reduces thrush, a bacteria which eats away at the hoof and cannot survive in the presence of oxygen.
I pull clips on every non-therapeutic shoe I apply. That means I draw a small piece of metal upward which I burn into the hoof. This helps secure the shoe and takes much of the shearing force off of the nails. Many horses that frequently lose shoes will normally not lose them when they have clips on them. And because I burn the shoe on, it produces a perfect union with the hoof, and the clip is totally flush with the outside of the hoof wall. This creates a very high quality job with little chance of a lost shoe. For more information, see Hot Shoeing.
In the Fall of 2012, Charlie completed his AFA Certification, but with an interesting twist. The examiner wanted to test his ability to successfully create a straight bar shoe within 30 minutes, which is 5 minutes less than what is required at the Journeyman level certification. To the amazement of all who stood by, Charlie threw the bar stock in the coke fire and went about handcrafting an outstanding straight bar shoe, with minutes to spare. The result? Charlie passed his certification with a hardy congratulation from the AFA examiner.