"Trimming is a subtractive process, shoeing (composites, glue or otherwise) is an additive process"
First of all, apologies for the delay in writing this post, but my goodness I have been flat out! Between uni, trimming, the online store, my own horses, and my personal life there has hardly been a minute to catch my breath since this workshop. Largely because I've been so busy using all the information I've learnt from it!
Daisy Bicking, of Daisy Haven Farm Inc., is an dynamic, innovative (ha, see what I did there? She's PERFECT for us!) farrier from Pennsylvania, USA, who specialises in the use of composite shoes. We were lucky enough to secure her for a 3 day workshop for some very lucky farriers and trimmers at the start of May, 2016. (Just before that, I was lucky enough to attend the 3 day Professor Bowker Masterclass with Daisy invited along as a guest lecturer / attendee at The Australian College of Equine Podiotherapy and discuss these ideas in greater detail with her too! How jealous are you right now? ;) ).
The reviews from the students were fabulous, and as a result we will be hosting further workshops with Daisy in the near future with many more exciting announcements to come (to keep abreast of these, go to our blog home page and subscribe!). We had an absolute blast, lots of laughs, learned loads, and were "affectionately" referred to as "Daisy's Crazies" (although I will concede it is entirely possible Daisy's fingers were crossed when she said it was a term of endearment). Daisy also has an extensive case study portfolio and presented us with a selection of interesting cases to think about.
But here are some key take home messages I want to share:
- Trimming is a subtractive process, shoeing (composites, glue or otherwise) is an additive process. Sometimes you can't fix the hoof by only taking material away. This is particularly true of horses who don't have much wall or sole.
- The trim is the key, whether you leave the hoof bare or shod! You can think up the cleverest shoe in the world, it won't help the horse if you haven't balanced the hoof first.
- Learn hoof mapping! This will help you make sure your trim is balanced in all dimensions prior to applying the shoe, or alert you to how to shoe to compensate for any imbalances you cannot correct with your trim!
- When performing glue work, preparation is critical to your success. Set up your table in advance, use a safe area (ideally an undercover concrete barn where you won't have to deal with dirt or gravel sticking to hooves!), have a helper if possible, and make sure you are glueing to clean, dry feet!
- Unless you're starting to look like the Stay Puft Man, you're probably not wearing enough gloves. You want at least three pairs on if you want to avoid making the horse's legs messy and having the pleasure of effectively waxing your wrist hair in the shower later that night.
- Glue timing is temperature dependent. We recommend using Equibond Fast Set (available in our online store here), or Equilox II Fast Set, and investing in a heating pad (I recommend this one from Harvey Norman if you're in Australia and you want to buy it in person, or Daisy recommends this one if you're happy to buy online). When you touch the glue to your cheek on a winter's day (timely given current weather!) you want it to be toasty warm against your cheek, not scolding, or colder than you are. (I also leave my glue in the foot-well of my car on cold days to warm up with the car heater in between jobs)