Snails, Slugs and Earthworms

by F. Thomas Breningstall

Published in the April - May 2002 Issue of Anvil Magazine

Your hoof knife slips or your rasp takes a liking to your knuckles and you pour forth blood all over your shoe, apron and the floor. The horse owner gets real excited because she thinks all that blood belongs to her horse, then states how releived she is it's your thumb lying on the floor and not a part of her horse.

Or how about this one...The horse is less than cooperative with the shoeing process and you need to correct the horse's behavior. She tells you not to do that because she doesn't want to teach her son, who is watching intently, violence. I tell her, "Then you had better teach your son first aid." And then I ask her why she thought it was all right for her horse to beat up on me?

If we as farriers would group together and refuse to work on damgerous horses just maybe we would all be safer. This will never happen of course, because there will always be the cowboy shoer trying to impress himself or someone else. We all know that correction needs to be quick, short and sweet. If you battle a horse and get hurt you'll be laid up, out of work and the owner will be looking for a new farrier, telling all that will listen how mean you are to horses.

I had one lady call and ask me if I beat horses. I told her only in self-defense. She must not have liked the answer, as she hung up on me.

Each of us needs to remind everyone that we as Farriers and Blacksmiths are descendants of the Roman god VULCAN and the Greek god HEPHAESTUS (the gods of fire and metalwork and handicrafts) and we should be respected as such.

We should demand respect from people, from horses, from each other and most of all from ourselves. We should not be hurt because we shoe horses. There will always be some idiot out there that will shoe or trim horses at half the price you charge. I stopped worrying about those people a long time ago because I know I'm better than that. I'm a farrier, I'm better than snails, slugs and earthworms.

Return to the April - May 2002 Table of Contents

Return to the Commentary Articles page