This is the Greyson/ Jockey Club Foundation Horseshoer Survey

Mon, Mar 28, 2011

Fun and Games for Racetrackers


I found the link to this survey in the ROAP eBlast, and I posted it on my blog at: http://


1. Rate how you agree with the following statements:
Racetrack Horseshoers should be very knowledgeable about Basic Conformation Problems; Equine Locomotion /Gait problems;  Lameness problems;  Basic anatomy.

I think Farriers should have the knowledge to care for the feet of an equine athlete if they shoe on the race track, and they should educate themselves about new methods regualrly, and they should be licensed as Farriers.

Horseshoers, on the other hand, are people who put shoes on horses. I don’t think they need to be qualified to do more than that. However, on the race track they should neither be licensed equally to farriers, nor should they have the same pay scale.


My contractor friend re-did my breakerbox-to-grid wiring. He used PLASTIC conduit pipe.. You cannot do that. It’s NOT LEGAL (and not safe, either). I had to pay en extra $250 – to replace the material, PAY HIM to re-do it, and PAY for a SECOND INSPECTION (cost $100 just for second inspection.) He is a trained contractor…but he’s NOT an Electrical Contractor, nor an Electrician. He’s a competent individual, but he still didn;t know how to do THAT job properly (the first time).

2. In your opinion, should racetrack horseshoers display a working knowledge of shoe modifications? (For example barshoes, clips, rim pads, etc.)

a) They should know what they are capable of doing correctly – and they do, but racing doesn’t have any regulations. I presume that is what this survey is aiming at, so that’s a good thing.

Explain: How would you feel about getting a call from your loan officer, who says; “Your ‘accountant’  entered all  your equity data in the assets column.”
What if your web designer understood layout design and made you a real pretty website, but when you went to see it, it took forever to load?
On the other hand, if the above, less-than-qualified professionals can be counted on to enter data or code where instructed, they could still save a supervisor lots of time doing the simpler tasks (further explanation below)
3. In your opinion, should racetrack horseshoers be required to forge or show compentency with the forge in order to obtain an racetrack horseshoer licence?
Why or why not?

a) Read below for further information:
4. In your opinion, should the racetrack horseshoer show competancy with multiple shoe materials (plastic, rubber, etc.)
a) Not necessarily (read below)

5. In your opinion, should the racetrack horseshoer show competancy with multiple shoe materials (plastic, rubber, etc.)?
a) Not necessarily (read below)

I propose that there be two separate designations for shoer, and a  Licensing Heirarchy

Here’s what I keep saying “read below” about:

Time and again, I hear people say “Carl has to shoe Butch Wacker, but crap it takes but he’s so freakin busy, I wish I didn’t have to remain loyal to him just to get him to shoe my one problem horse, because it takes him forever to get over here…
but if I get someone else to do Yammy, Sammy and Hammy, who all have beautiful conformation and no foot problems, Carl will piss off and I’ll lose him!

Because of his level of training and experience, Carl essentially holds an advanced degree. Carl deserves more money for his expertise. He works on more complex cases and gets paid accordingly. Reciprocally there is, if not a written guarantee, an implied understanding that should the job need and adjustments between that shoeing and the next, Carl would negotiate fixes at either a discount or free. I say this because I think it would forestall any requests by trainers to less qualified shoers to take on a tougher task, even off the track (ship in).
For the easy jobs, Carl (as farrier-consultant) recommends Eddie to the trainer of Butch Whacker. The trainer uses Eddie to trim the easy ones and put the shoes on. Eddie would be classified as a horseshoer, or whatever title you want to hang on him. He doesn’t need teh qualifications that carl has to earn a living, but he has a lot more horses to shoe because he works cheaper.
This saves Carl’s back – he shoes less horses and still makes moneySaves Eddie’s job – he gets to make a living tooSav es the trainer  he gets two blacksmiths and doesn’t have to a) wait and he doesn’t haev to b) worrySaves the public – horses get shod on time and properlySaves the horse – it can walk (and run)Doesn’t threaten the Unions (not so sure on that one)Spares a lot of anxiety – Works in accordance with human nature, rather than against it.
Because ‘Carl’  has the experience and (importantly) the kind of temprament for solving any kind of difficult shoeing challenge, he deserves more money. That means Carl will shoe less horses, but he’ll make the same amoutn as Joe Schlepp, whose only concern is how many can I do in a day?” Joe Schlepp isn’t a bad shoer; he has a different personality, and could satisfy the  demand for  horseshoers to handle the simple jobs – basically problem-free, symmetrical feet with no anlge- challenges (too many T-breds have low heels and volume-chasing shoers often fail to pay attention to the angle of pastern/ hoof and what can be done about undeslung heels).

5. For Trainers, Owners, and Horseshoers Only:
Who determines which type of shoe should be used for a particular horse?
a) I’m none of these

6. What are the most common mistakes that plague most young racetrack horseshoers?
a) I don’t have experience to answer that question. I could try but it wouldn’t be fair. Young doesn’t necessarily mean anything to me.

Racetrack Horseshoer Survey – Testing This section pertains to the actual testing of the horseshoer

1. Who should administer the uniform written horseshoer exam? (choose all that apply)
a) The Stewards. It’s a written exam. Assuming it’s not full of essay questions, why tie up the Track Shoer or State Vet?

2. Who should administer the uniform practical horseshoer exam? (choose all that apply)

a) I’m out of my opinion territory on this. Those administering exam should not be trainers but should be familiar with a trainer’s concerns. One should be a qualified Farrier with at least 10 years of experience and preferably more (like 40) and at least 10 on a race track.

3. Is it fair to expect a potential racetrack horseshoer licensee to travel off track (within 100 miles) to take the test?
a) Why  not?

4. Do you see any potential problems with a current racetrack horseshoer adminstering a test to a potential licensee for the same jurisdiciation?
a) yes,

a) Only that the track shoer has a vested interested in limiting the number of available shoers at  a track. Since shoers could be catty about sharing their business, I think there ought to be another, disinterested party involved such at the comission vet, or other desginated party (retired farrier authority – even a traveling member of a judging comittee  — the Asociation of Horse Shoers International, perhaps????
Farrier associations ar Voluntary in the US, but they serve a valuable purpose. My thought is that one or more of these associations could oversee the test curriculum, and also have a representative view the results of the test. That might eliminate the problem of “Shoer Envy”.

5. Please provide any additional comments:

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