We’ll show the work of a local farrier, still practicing the ancient craft of shoeing horses.
Ted Simons: When you weigh a thousand pounds and you're on your feet, all four of them, for 20 hours a day, your shoes matter. That's why farriers, the men and women who shoe horses, are so important. Indeed, a bad shoe can sometimes do serious physical damage to a horse. Photojournalist Langston Fields and producer Allysa Adams spent the day with a farrier on a mission to create a custom fit for every hoof he encounters.
Jeremiah Harris: Acting depressed. So --
Jeremiah Harris: My name is Jeremiah Harris and my business is Hoofs and Forge. We had horses growing up and started working with our farrier when I was 13 years old. I love everything about it. You know, I think there's a connection we have with horses that a lot of people have, they've been in our life and civilization for such a long time. And you get to use your brain. It's a very, very scientific, but people call it an art and science. I always tell people I've been putting shoes on horses for 18 years but it's really only the last seven to 10 years that I've got a true appreciation and made it a skilled trade and really realized what I'm doing. Shoes are custom made every time for the horse as opposed to buying a store-bought shoes. In order to get the proper fit, there's an equation you use for the proper fit. A couple of methods, so I know how much steel to cut in order to make it fit just right for him. Good boy, I know, it's serious stuff. I think if you respect them as a creature, I feel like we offer or ask a lot out of them in order to do what we do as farriers and to just man handle them is a lot to ask so I try to be as polite as possible to them. And they generally return the favor. Shoe selection, what type of shoe you'll use is important, these are things that an experienced farrier will be better able to serve your horse. That's a term you hear a lot in farriers, balancing, and so having -- you have pigeon roll and yaw, just like a plain and roll - make sure the line is perpendicular, that the foot is underneath, a horse can tolerate a little imbalance but over time, if it's chronic, it can lead to a lot of different types of injuries, you don't want to think of the shoe as an apparatus but an extension of the hoof. So just as an athlete wears custom fit cleats, you want the same for the horse, you want them to feel that it's an extension of their hoof. And every hammer blow I do, every time that I'm reshaping or changing the -- this shoe, I'm thinking of shape of his foot. So the shape of the outside heel is going to be different than the shape of the inside heel. This is actually all epidermal hoof wall. They don't feel it just like our hair and fingernails and just like you can burn your nails or hair, you don't feel it. If you left it on too long, you would. Or if I trimmed it down too much -- good boy, harry -- then they would feel it. A lot of little details go into the proper shoeing. Where I choose to put each nail is a conscious decision, I've learned from farriers and gained more experience, you realize there's a reason that you do everything and it's very methodical and even though each horse is different, you're able to use equations and guidelines to make the adjustments. That said, there's curvature and having an artistic eye certainly is helpful. It's a career, it's a passion, it's a love. It's everything -- those things combined. The fact that we do get compensation monetarily is great, but the fact that what we do is extremely important, so if you don't have a good farrier, you'll probably not have a good foot which means you probably won't have good horse. It starts with the farrier and everything goes from there.
Ted Simons: Farriers do not have to be licensed, but if you're looking for a farrier, Harris suggests you hire someone who is certified from a major farrier organization.
Ted Simons: Tuesday on "Arizona Horizon" -- a new report shows improving conditions on the lower Santa Cruz River. And we'll discuss the economic impact of charities in Arizona. That's on the next "Arizona horizon." that's it for now, I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us. You have a great evening!
Jeremiah Harris: Hoofs and Forge