getting shod

“The farrier will be at the farm tomorrow,” my older daughter said. “You should come.”

My daughter is not one to gush and coerce, so I took her suggestion to heart. If she thought we’d find the farrier interesting, then we probably would.

When my younger son and I arrived at the barn, the farrier and his assistant were already working, and my daughter was in the back stables getting the next horse. “Leah hates the farrier,” she said. “If we tie her, she breaks the ropes, so I’ll have to hold her.”

And so she did, standing directly in front of Leah while the farrier popped off her horseshoes, cleaned out her hooves, trimmed and filed them down, put the new ones on, and hammered them into place.

The farrier worked out of a truck he had backed up to the door. He had a little box kiln that he said gets up to 2500 degrees, plus an anvil and a ton of tools. Everything was hard looking and efficient, including the farrier himself—all ropey muscle and utilitarian toughness. (But warm and friendly, too.)

The most dramatic part of the whole process was when they stuck the red-hot guide shoe (or whatever it was) onto the newly filed-down hoof.

Flames shot up and smoke billowed, and the powerful stench of burned hair filled the barn. The horse didn’t even flinch.

PS. Interesting (gross) fact: dogs love to munch on discarded hoof clippings.

This same time, years previous: pointless and chatty, 37, the skirt, warm feet and golden crosses, and ballerina daredevils.


  • Mama Pea

    Wow, what dramatic photos of the whole process. Sure glad the horses aren't fazed by that whole process. (Dogs also love goat hoof trimmings, too.)

  • Margo

    well I'll be: I didn't know they put the hot shoe on the hoof! I wonder why it has to be hot. Or if that's just efficient – get it done while they horse is right there.

    • Jennifer Jo

      That hot shoe is a guide. They use it like a press, to get the hoof to melt and conform to the shape (or something). After they're done with that, they hammer on the regular shoe. Not that I really know what I'm talking about, of course….

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