Only a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working in the field with a good friend and respected colleague of mine, Michael Wharton. Together we collaborated on a dressage horse that neither of us had ever worked on previously. We decided to try him for the first time in the EasyShoe Flex (size 4, heart bar with side clips, to be exact). 

On this particular day, as Mike and I worked side by side to help this horse, I realized that all along he has helped remind me of the true meaning of our profession.

Michael Wharton

Rewind to years ago when Mike and I first met. I was sporting a hat printed with my business name, No Anvil LLC. Already a highly accomplished horseshoer and naturally proud of his profession, Mike wanted to know exactly who I thought I was to be wearing such an offensive piece of apparel. No anvil? I’d better be prepared to offer a good explanation. So I did, and to my surprise, Mike listened with an open mind. His top priority was not in proving anyone right or wrong, but rather to do the best he could by the horses he shod. 

Since then, Mike has continued to be regarded as one of the most respected sport-horse farriers in our industry, as well as a true professional in glue-on shoeing. 

Regardless of the fact that both Mike and I have been under horses for longer than most farriers today have been alive, we make a conscious effort to consistently collaborate and learn from one another. Most recently, I introduced him to the benefits of utilizing the Easyshoe Flex in the dressage industry. While I showed him how to get an ideal fit, he supervised me to make sure I didn’t drive any weeny nails in the process. We voiced our opinions from a place of trust and mutual respect, and the end result was a happy horse.

At the end of the day, what we have come to know for sure is that when we assume the role of a farrier, we become an integral part of something much larger than ourselves.

We make the choice, consciously or unconsciously, to create a life of service to the health of the horse. 

With that choice, we also take on the responsibility to develop ourselves and to continually lean into new knowledge so that we can better serve the horses in our care. Why? Ultimately, this profession is more important than ego. This title is more than the accolades and recognition we receive for our efforts, and far more than the revenue we earn from the businesses we build surrounding it. It is more important than our self-image, reputation, or status. In fact, time has taught us that it has little to do with any of those things. 

Instead, what we know for sure is that being a successful horseshoer has everything to do with what you don’t know. If you don’t know how to apply a particular shoe or how to handle a particular case, what makes you a true farrier is not in having the right answer, but in being open-minded enough to listen to and act on what the horse needs. 

If serving the horse with the very best you have to offer becomes your ultimate goal, you’ll soon realize that everything else is just top dressing.  

So my challenge to you this month is to learn something new through collaboration. Trust me. Your horses and your clients will thank you for it.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Respectfully, I invite you to review that the right hoof has no heel, and the left hoof appears to have little heel. The new photo looks better, but not by much. Rather than force a shoe on these hooves, those heels need some time to heal.

    • It takes much longer than one session working on a new horse to make a drastic change to any hoof. We trust that Curtis and Mike had good reasons for choosing the EasyShoe Flex because of their knowledge and experience. We also trust that this horse’s hooves will only continue to improve from here as they do more work on them in the future.

  2. Definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 7 farriers and 2 barefoot trimmers over a 8 year period. 5 years of shoes resulting in a 3” wide front left hoof on my 1200lb performance mare. Being told not to get her hooves wet, keep them in plastic bags, keep her stalled, don’t feed her on the ground, reset every 4 weeks, apply this or that topical…. 4 years ago we went barefoot, well, actually we went to boots. She has a club hoof, its been good, its been a mess. I don’t want to think about the money I poured into that hoof. 2 years ago I learned to balance her diet – reduce the iron, test her hay and add what was missing. She has beautiful hooves now, that problem hoof is now 4.5” wide. Frog isn’t contracted, she doesn’t have deep sulcus thrush. She does have a rotated coffin bone with remodeling which keeps her tender on hard ground. Boots are … clunky… and there are only a few that work with a club hoof. 4 weeks ago we applied the Easy Shoe Love Child. Within seconds my mare was licking, chewing and yawning. She’s sound on all surfaces. She runs and bucks and plays with joy. She works hard! She threw the shoe off the clubby hoof a week later – no hoof damage! We glued it back on. She threw it again this past weekend – no hoof damage. I was able to put it back on. I didn’t have to keep her in a boot and wait for the farrier. That hoof is always going to be high maintenance, but thanks to Easy Shoe, its maintenance that I can perform as needed. My mare is sound, happy and her hooves are too!

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