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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dubai World Cup: Will the Dirt Track Renaissance Affect the Shoeing for the World's Richest Race?

It's early morning in Dubai. Meydan Racecourse is preparing for a big day culminating in the world's very richest race. And the favorite is an American horse.

Normally, there wouldn't be anything unusual about that. The race has been won by American stars like Cigar, Silver Charm and Animal Kingdom. But last year, no American contenders were in the race.

Many people believe California Chrome is the favorite because his feet are used to flying through dirt. The other horses' hooves haven't done it, nor have the horses had dirt kicked in their faces. Could they be right?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Michael Wildenstein All-Day Lecture in Vermont on Saturday, March 28

The Vermont Farriers Association invites you to an all-day lecture with farrier educator Michael Wildenstein, CJF, FWCF (Hons) on Saturday, March 28 in the Old Chapel at Castleton State College in Castleton, Vermont.

Monday, March 16, 2015

For St Patrick's Day: The Legend of Páid O’Donoghue, Ireland's Farrier Hero

St Patrick's Day is a day to tell stories and have some fun. While you might not be able to recite the lyrics to this Irish ballad, you can certainly tell the story and entertain some people. Paid O'Donoghue was just one of many Irish farrier heroes, but his story isn't told often. Or maybe no one can remember all the words to his song!

It's a long one, but a great story lies within these lines!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chain Reaction Traction: Overshoes Took the Farrier Out of the Equation (and the Sale) 100 Years Ago

chain overshoes for hoof traction 1920

This is the latest chapter in the Hoof Blog's series on the history of hooves vs. snow and ice. To read other articles in this series, scroll to the bottom of this article for links.

When Harry Weed invented snow chains for automobile tires in 1904, he was just following a trend. He had seen people wrap grapevines and ropes around their tires. There was a lot of snow where he lived in Canastota, New York and Harry understood that for people to use cars year round there, they needed more traction. He patented his invention and, as they say, the rest is history. Steel tire chains based on his principles are still in use today.

And when horsemen saw automobile owners wrap Harry's steel chains around their car tires, they thought it should work if they wrapped smaller chains around their horses' hooves on snowy, icy roads. A clever Massachusetts veterinarian was waiting in the wings with a hoof strap that held chain links to the bottom of a hoof. You could strap it on and take it off without removing the shoe. It promised to keep horses on their feet and working, no matter the weather.

But would it? And what would horseshoers think of it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Traction History: Non-Skid Over-Shoes Were the Humane Society's Gift to the Horses of New York City

"Here come the hoof boot angels." That's what the people of New York might have said back in 1919, and for many years after that, when they saw Harry Moran  from the Humane Society or Mrs. James Speyer from the Women's League for Animals coming down the street. He had a bag full of canvas winter hoof boots for horses with him; they were called simply "non-skids". She would have boots made of carpet, or chain treads that clipped over a horse's hooves.
Both organizations gave safety hoof gear away for free to drivers and helped put them on over the horses' calked shoes. And then they went on to the next street to help more horses get through the a slippery, snowy winter on the streets of New York.