Monday, June 27, 2011

Not to be superstitious or anything...

   ...But I just realized my last post brought my count for this blog up to thirteen.  My luck is hard enough without that, so let's jump right on past that mark ASAP with a blog special offer...

   The New Dictionary of Farrier Terms and Technical Language (current 9th print edition, version 2.7.2) is available on Amazon for $18.12.

   Follow this link and enter discount code EDMKA7GA to order yours for $12.00 a copy.

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Hold Your Horses...

   This entry will probably be integrated into the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Farriery appendix section.

   May be of particular interest to horseowners.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

High-Low Illustrations: Revisiting old projects.

   About fourteen years ago I was putting together my application for the Registered Master Farrier credential.  I decided to submit a project on correcting mismatched forefeet, which is something I'd had quite a bit of success with in the field.

   The problem was that the Guild of Professional Farriers rules required that RMF projects be evaluated by a panel of farriers who were not to know whose project they were grading.  This meant that the project materials needed to be reproducible (so that copies could be sent to the various panel members) and should not contain anything that would identify the applicant.  The point of the latter was to keep the Master level from becoming a political good ol' boy's club.

   In those days, farriers who knew how to format documents and produce graphics on a computer were still sort of a rarity.  And I was one of the better-known examples.  So, in order to stay anonymous, I had to "unslickificate" my application.  Typewriter text.  Simple pen over pencil, photocopied illustrations.

   Now, as I rush to get The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Farriery composed for next year, the old project has come out of the file cabinet as a resource for the High-Low Hoof Syndrome entry.

   It's been kind of interesting, trying to rehabilitate the intentionally sketchy illustrations into something suitable for the book.

Here's the sort of thing I had to start-out with.
Pretty cool what we can do with GIMP these days...

Lateral views of the high and low hooves, with trimming guides...

Palmar views.

Solar views...
Note that the hoof on the right (the "low foot") has its white line stretched around,
and has underrun heels, while the "high foot" white line is distorted mostly at the toe.

Here we have the same hooves, trimmed and flat-shod.
The match isn't perfect. (Note the differing heel slopes.) 
But the overall base of support and breakover is now fairly matched.

Palmar views.  Note the extra full fit on the "high" (left side) hoof's shoe.

Solar views of same feet shod with Thera-Flex inserts and abbreviated shoes.
An approach which has worked well for me with severe/stubborn cases.

Plamar views.
Note that the narrow, high foot (on the left) has its insert carved to gently
drive the bars/heels apart when the foot is loaded.
The wide, flat foot's insert is carved to load the frog, effectively "pushing" the middle of 
the hoof up to create concavity and unload the crushed heels.

Lateral views.
Despite the very different functions of the inserts as applied to each foot,
They are a good match in appearance and gait (weight/breakover/traction).

   Even after GIMP, these images are still a little simplified and "sketchy".  But I think they get the idea across, and will reproduce well in mass printing.  What you're seeing here are, of course, scaled, low-res versions of the graphic files that will be used to generate the actual book.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

High-Low Hoof Syndrome...

   Seems there is a lot of talk about mismatched hooves, now popularly known as High-Low Syndrome over at the American Farriers' Journal and elsewhere here lately.

   Naturally, Millwater Publishing's Encyclopedic Dictionary of Farriery will include this subject...  Actually, I did a project on it over a dozen years ago, parts of which will be incorporated into the entry...


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Monday, June 13, 2011

Eagle Eye Horseshoeing...

   Hot shoeing, which is to say the use of a forge, is seen by many to be a distinctive trait of a real farrier versus a mere horseshoer.  This is almost funny, as any hack can stick a shoe in a fire, and many have done so to impress gullible horseowners over the years.

   It is true that working hot has its advantages.  While a skillful farrier with a modern anvil can shape factory shoes to accurately fit hooves cold, it's a little easier on the hammer arm to do it hot.  Plus you can weld and punch new holes.  Hot setting to seat clips and seal the foot also comes in handy...

   But the modern American farrier service is usually a mobile operation.  Traveling with a forge, starting it up, then stowing it away several times each day, is a hassle and a hazard.  The farrier has very little control over the environments in which he'll be working.  Loose dogs, poorly controlled horses, careless passers-through, unsupervised children, and all manner of flammable materials piled all around are danger enough without adding fire and sparks to the mix.  So some farriers like to do as much forge work as possible ahead of time, in the quiet safety of their own smithies.

   The eagle eye method for fitting horseshoes efficiently is also a very useful shorthand which allows a farrier to write down customized shoe-making instructions in a quick note.

   For example:

   NF:      13"                       5"                       Norman/Spike
   OF:      ------                  5 1/8"                    ---------------
   NH:      12 1/2"               4 5/8"                           Tag
   OH:      -------                4 3/4"                      ------------

   Is enough information to allow a farrier to make a full set of shoes that will need only minor adjustment in the field before nail-on.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Good and ugly horseshoeing...

   "Fit the shoe to the horse, not the horse to the shoe" the old axiom goes...  Dubbing off wall after the shoe is nailed-on is generally considered sloppy, unprofessional work.  Farriers are supposed to trim and dress the hoof into its proper shape, then fit a shoe to that shape and nail it on.

   Here we have a cross-section of a hoof wall (at the quarters) with a pretty bad flare.  Note the hard, outer (dark in this image, and in most hooves) layer of wall, along with the softer, unpigmented inner wall (the water line when seen from below), are bowed outward.  The laminae (the white line proper when seen from below) are stretched out of shape and filled with scar horn.

   Here is the same cross-section after the flare has been dressed off and a shoe has been applied.  This is a proper, neat shoeing job.  A layer of dark hoof polish to hide the exposed white, and you'd never even know how distorted this foot was before shoeing.

   But look at the path of this nail.  It passes through mostly scar horn, and barely touches the dark, stronger hoof wall.  It's not going to take much to pull this shoe off, probably taking a lot of what little wall is left with it.

   Here we have the same wall, but the shoe was nailed-on first, with the hoof that hung over the shoe dubbed-off after the shoe was on.  Sloppy, ugly, half-ass shoeing...

   But notice that the shoe placement and base of support is identical to the "properly" shod foot.  And that the nail passes through, and is clinched into, the full thickness of the wall.

   Sometimes ugly is functionally better.

   {Note: These images are low-res roughs from the upcoming Encyclopedic Dictionary of Farriery.}

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Encyclopedia of Farriery: More illustrations...

   The Encyclopedia format relies heavily on cross-referencing and illustrations.  Working on getting some of the basic illustrations ready to insert into the article-length entries...

   Here's an old-school favorite... The open-toed eggbar, Napoleon shoe, or plain ol' backwards shoe.  Thing can actually come in handy, even if it does look like a short-cut that might be employed by a redneck shoe-horser.  ;)

   This one will go with the underrun heels entry, and demonstrates how adding an eggbar to underrun heels only transfers all that extra posterior load to a point far too forward, and can crush the heels further.  The lower image shows how far the actual hoof loading can be moved back just by taking off a thin wafer of underrun heel.

   The distorted, rasped anterior wall depicted on both versions of this foot is intentional.  Underrun heels often go with toe flares, as the whole bottom of the foot tends to distort forward.

   This will go with horseshoe, conventional application.  It's basically just an idealized image of a shod hoof...  Admittedly featuring a few of my personal preferences.  Rockered toe, swedged/concave/rim shoe, upper surface beveled-off from the heel quarters back.

   Wedge pad...  I use diagrams/drawings a lot because they reproduce more consistently than photos.  All these started out as pencil sketches, then got doctored-up a bit with GIMP.  Of course, these are scaled-down from the hi-res files that the book will use.

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