As a farrier, there will undoubtedly be times when you don’t have the answers; when you want to learn a skill, brush up on a skill or even teach a skill to a client. Internet videos by other professional farriers can be an efficient way to build your skill set or get another perspective on a problem when there isn’t anyone in your area you can turn to for answers to your questions.
As with any Internet offering, quality varies. Here are some of the best online video resources out there, all available on YouTube.
FootPro Information Series for the Professional Farrier
A company called Farrier Product Distribution has a video series called the “FootPro Information Series for the Professional Farrier,” in which Mike Wildenstein, CJF FWCF (Hons) demonstrates the basics of how to trim a hoof, gives some tips and techniques and talks about the kinds of tools required. Whenever tools are introduced, the name brand is displayed, so it’s a bit of a commercial, but the commercial aspect isn’t too distracting and the focus is really on how to get a trim job done.
Mike gives a clear explanation of his methods, and the camera work is nice and close so you have a solid idea of exactly what’s happening.
World Champion Blacksmiths
More experienced farriers might want a look at an advanced video series from World Champion Blacksmiths. In the series, Craig Trnka, CJF, explains forging and welding techniques, as well as shoe making techniques like bevels, wedges, bars and French shoes. Trnka starts each video with a lecture, but then moves into the shop to give in-depth practical demonstrations of how to work with the forge. Their video “Barshoe 101,” for example, introduces farriers to this kind of shoe and the theoretical principles behind it while also giving specific troubleshooting advice before actually showing us how to build the shoe itself.
Farrier Quick Takes
A quick reference for common problems is the American Farriers Journal AFJTV series “Farrier Quick Takes.” Well-respected farriers talk about a range of issues like laminitis, training techniques, tools, even how to shoe horses when conditions aren’t great. The videos are only a couple of minutes each but many give actual demonstrations. The video about abscesses is especially useful. In it, Travis Burns, the chief of farrier services at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, talks about how to care for an abscess once it’s opened. There’s no practical demonstration, but Burns is really specific about potential problems that might crop up and his own process for treating the abscess.
You can also find a host of different solutions for specific lameness issues just by doing a search for the lameness you’re dealing with. One great example comes from McKee Pownall Equine Services. The video “Laminitis—Using a Wooden Clog” starts with an explanation of what the clog is and how and why it might be used. Dr. Mike Pownall then goes on to explain how to use the clogs in conjunction with information based on X-rays of a horse’s foot. Finally, Pownall (who is both a farrier and a vet) demonstrates how to put the clog on and gives a regimen for post-shoeing care that should be followed.
How to Pull a Shoe
Finally, for the horse owner, Horse Illustrated has a video on how to pull a loose shoe. Farrier Eric Johnson explains when and why an owner might have to pull a shoe, and then shows us what tools they might use and how to get it done. It’s a short video, but it gives a lot of clear, straightforward details about how to use the tools, what the process is and even where and how you should stand to take the shoe off.
Videos are an easy way to put a few more tools in the toolbox, so to speak. Hopefully they’ll give you some new ideas, some new perspectives or at least some new ways to spend rainy Saturday afternoons when all the clients have cancelled.
by Cindy McMann