Blacksmith Shoeing Horses and Making Horseshoes From Scratch
In the shade of an old willow tree in Frătăuții Noi commune from Suceava county, an old farriery has endured the test of time. Ranchers stop off to have their horses’ shoes replaced on the way to the farm/. The blacksmith is on duty, shoeing horses.
Horse’s hooves may grow to as much as about a quarter-inch to
three-eighths of an inch every month, so regular hoof care is required to avoid
potential damage to hoof structure.
Here, in Romania, horses are used for farming, so they still need hoof care. Horses have played an essential role in human societies, on every aspect of life, and farriers have been caring for horses’ hooves all by the strength of man’s arm. This ancient skill has been passed down for centuries.
Making Horseshoes From Scratch Instead Using Ready Made Ones Is a Dyng Art
For over twenty years, Confederat
Gheorghe, the 63 year-old farrier, is well practiced in the art of shoeing
horses and making horseshoes. Although there have been advancements in shoes and
methods used, he largely prefers traditional techniques, with little changes over
He is one of the few farriers who make horseshoes from scratch, instead using ready made ones. The trade is the same as it was centuries ago. Metal shoes are nailed onto horses’ feet to protect them and aid in the horses’ balance.
It all starts with a piece of metal heated in a forge to an orange glow. It is shaped with a hammer, then, with a forepunch and a driftpunch, he marks the holes, prior to punching six or seven holes with a pritchel.
Farriers are specialists not only in horse shoeing, but also in hoof care, shaping and rebalancing the foot to evenly distribute the weight of the horse.
Shoeing Horses Is a Hard Work and Includes Bending Next to
Gheorghe grew up owning horses. He began shoeing his own horses and
fell in love with the work. Years of experience give him confidence in doing
the job, sometimes without any assistance. „Usually, a person must hold the
leg. If the horse is calm and tamed, I shoe it alone.”, he says, while leading a horse toward a wooden
enclosure. „I tie the leg up with a
rope.” It includes a lot of hard work and sweat.
Before fitting the horseshoe, the farrier bends next to the thousand-pound horse, cleaning and adjusting the overgrown tissue.
The horseshoe is heated before being attached to the hoof. Hot shoeing helps for a better fixation and doesn’t do any harm to the horse. It literally doesn’t feel anything through its thick hoof.
The tip of the nails that go through hoof wall are trimmed and bent, beaten flat to prevent wounding and so that the nail can’t easily slide back.
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