Sunday, July 29, 2018

Horseshoes As An Occupation

At one time St. Tammany Parish had enough horses to keep a horse-shoer busy. In fact, there are still enough horses in the parish to keep a horse-shoer busy. 

This article, from about 25 years ago, told the story of one such farrier, Ed Glockner. Click on the image to make it larger.

Here is the text from the above article:
Shoeing Horses Keeps Ed Glockner Busy

by Judi Berry

Few people begin to prepare for their livelihood when they are only tots. The passion that Ed Glockner has for horses developed at age four, when he received his first horse, and it shaped his future.

As a member of the 4-H Club during high school, he presented a demonstration on the safe handling of horses and won second place in the state's 4-H competition at LSU. He also participated in the Mandeville Saddle Club and the St. Tammany Parish Horsemanship Association.

After graduation from Mandeville High and a year of pre-vet at Southeastern Louisiana University, Glockner enrolled at the Oklahoma Farriers College in Sperry, Oklahoma to learn the art of shoeing horses. "We had students of all ages from all over the world," he says.

Nearby ranches had a ready supply of animals for the students to practice on. "There's more to horseshoeing that most people realize," he comments, and more than half of his class soon dropped out. As the twenty-year-old Mandeville resident describes his trade, the farrier requires not only the ability to physically persuade an uncooperative animal that it needs its hoofs shod or trimmed but also the endurance and agility of an athlete.

"When you're first learning, it takes about three or four hours," he said. "Your muscles cramp, and your legs start to shake."' He has worked on animals from a wild burro to a massive Clydesdale and can shoe a horse in about an hour.
The shoes are a subject unto themselves, functioning as protection and as shock absorbers, they can be made from steel, aluminum or even synthetics.

Whether manufactured or handmade, they must be fashioned to fit the individual animal's hoof. The "keg," or ready-made shoe can be hammered cold on the anvil, while the handmade variety evokes the image of the old-timey blacksmith, for it is formed from a rod of metal which has been heated to the red- or white-hot stage in a forge and then shaped immediately on the anvil.

As the farrier gains experience, Glockner says, his hands toughen and become sensitive to the feel of the shoe being hailed to the hoof. The touch and sound of this procedure indicate its proper accomplishment.

Though horses' hoofs may vary in size and characteristics, the farrier has a maximum of approximately one quarter inch, often thinner, on the edge of the hoof in which to attach the shoe. The farmer's dexterity prevents the special nail from penetrating elsewhere and risking infection.

Shoes also act orthopedically. They can be made to alter the horse's distribution of weight, thereby correcting a gait problem.

Glockner continues, "It's vital for the hoofs to be cared for." He explains that the effects of stress, diet and environment can cause problems, but regular care by the farrier can insure that the animal's hoofs are healthy and are growing well.

Not content to merely dodge the potential kicks and bites of his clients, Glockner took up bull riding about six months ago. His bag of riding gear contains spurs, a heavy glove, resin, a nine-plait rope and bells for extra weight and testifies to the serious nature of his newest hobby. These are not the mechanical monsters popularized by recent movies but the live, menacingly active breeds. "If it bucks. I'll ride it," he says. He visits Springfield near Hammond to ride weekly.

Glockner persistently pursues his trade. His green Jeep, loaded with an 87-pound anvil, a portable forge and a selection of tools, is a familiar sight on the highway. Though' his family has traditionally been commercial fishermen and boat builders. Glockner's goal is to become a self-sufficient farrier, shoeing four or five horses daily.

Though he despairs that the growth of the parish will diminish the need for his services, he much prefers the mild temperatures of Louisiana to the bitter freezes in Oklahoma and dreams of owning a ranch, livestock or rodeo company 
End of Judi Berry's article ---

A horse-shoeing advertisement from 1955