Trip to NM 2012

Yippee! Again a wonderful visit to Norway. This time it was a competition trip. The Norwegian Championships is a nice, well organized competition. Tretten, where the competition is located is a beautiful area,  facilities for the competition and accomodation are working, the food is good and the hospitability of Norwegians makes the most out of everything. And I was more than happy to meet again all the friends and of course meet lots of new nice people :)

On this trip all the excitment didn’t end into Norway. In Finland on the way back to home was a hoof keratoma case waiting and I got the advantage to follow the operation and got some photos of it. Some are included in this post, too.

But first to Norway. I was taking part in division 2. I wasn’t happy with two first classes, once again I couldn’t control my mind and I made lots worse than I know I could have done, so I was a bit disappointed. But then in the final class I could keep my mind in control and I had the same feeling as working at home, not in a too hurry and panicked. I was just doing my job. The final class went then overall well compared to that I hadn’t really practiced a lot. In the final class had to be done a navicular shoe and shoe one foot with a shoe made of concave iron.

The navicular shoe was the 3rd best in the class even though I hadn’t time to finish it or check the nailholes or even check if the the shoe was level.. I think I had some good luck :D With the shoeing I was happy. Of course there is always lots to be done better, but overall I felt the shoeing was good for the horse and that’s for me the main point. In the shoeing I was worried about measuring the length of steel because I have made only couple of shoes of concave iron before, but the measuring was just fine and the fitting of the shoe was good.

The winners: Division 1: Petter Spilling, Division 2: Ådne Sæterøy, Division 3 Katinka Ødegaard

More results and points can be checked from

Congratulations for the winners and thanks for all the organizers and sponsors, this is a competition I really wish to visit every year!


A Magician! Åsne’s shoe is levitating.


On Thursday evening judges Petter Spilling and Tobias Villsen gave a clinic. They showed how they make the shoes and shoeing the competitors were supposed to do in the final classes next day.

Look at the faces: “Oh no, now something is not correct. Maybe we should stop drinking beer and smoking and concentrate a bit..” I love photos you get just at the right moment, I can assure you Tobias knew what he was doing but here everything lookes like the opposite :D


At least Karl could leave his beer for a while to grab the foot. But be careful never to leave the beer too far away!

palkinto  palkinto2

Who said women can’t shoe or forge? Look at these prizegiving pictures.. Hooray Katinka, Åsne and Siv!


The competitors have a tough job to do, but the staff taking care of the horses have it even more so. Hours just hanging around has to be spent somehow.


It’s time for Tommi to read the manual before the final class. “How to shoe a horse”



Daniel Evensen’s shoeing in the Division 1 final class got most points. Absolutely beautiful!



Beside the shoeing competition in Stav, there is other horse activity, too. Here is going on a show of the pulling skills of a Døle horse.


An then back to Finland!

The Finnish team arrived by boat this morning and there was something interesting immediately waiting for us. In Turku, where the ship arrived, was a hoof keratoma case. Jaakko Granström operates several keratomas a year, so he had work to do and I got some photos of the operation


The horse is anesthetized during the operation. The keratoma was found from the toe. The horse had been more or less lame for longer period already and now the keratoma was detected from x-rays. There was to be seen a clear hole on the coffin bone, caused by the keratoma.


The keratoma is cut away. In the middle can be seen the round hole on the coffin bone. After this the wound is treated and bandaged daily and if the treatment is done carefully and everything goes well, the wound will dry quite quickly. After that the horse can be shod and in some months new hoof has grown and no mark of the operation can be seen anymore.



The keratoma is the triangle in the middle of the piece. Not very big, but it was already disturbing the horse.


The battle with bad hooves and heels

Long toe and low heel, negative palmar angle, underrun heels, flat sole and many many more ways to call a certain kind of hoof, you name it. Every farrier runs into this problem every now and then. The problem is easy to solve if the situation is caused by bad shoeing or trimming or too long shoeing interval. Make a proper shoeing by trimming the toe as much as you can, take the heels where they should be and fit the shoe (maybe with rolled or squared toe) on the right place, usually back enough and there it is. Couple of shoeings and you’ll have good heels, some concavity, and the PA is ok again.

But some horses seem to need more help, the hoof just keeps growing forward and the heels keep on crushing, and usually the whole hoof is bad quality and not growing much. There are lots of ways to give some extra help and every farrier probably has their own favourites. This week I shod a show jumping horse that seems not to cope just with basic shoeing job, so I thought I could write about what I have found to be a very effective way to help most of the horses with the long toe-low heel syndrome.


This was the situation two years ago. The photo doesn’t reveal everything. There is no concavity in the sole, there is a crack on the left toe, probably caused by the stress of the too long toe. The hoof quality is all over bad, in this photo it looks quite ok, but it was a struggle with nailing and if the horse lost a shoe.. well, half of the hoof was gone, too. Everything looked quite ok after shoeing with the shoe back enough and rolled toe and I thought that now it will get better.. but after six weeks the hoofs were always like this and if a shoe was lost, I had to start everything all over again. The horse was sore of the fronts, not really wanting to put weight on them and developed an inflammation on the fetlock joint, so something had to be done.


The same horse this week.

I tried plastic pads and silicone. The sole was so flat and the heels were so crushed that there was not even much room for the frog under the pad and I considered cutting a hole into the pad to prevent more pressure on the frog but for some reason (don’t ask me what reason exactly, I can’t remember anymore all my ideas after so long :)) I didn’t do even that. There was a slight “bump” seen on the pad made by the frog, but the plastic pad thin enough is flexible, so there seemed to be not too much pressure. The horse was immediately moving better.

Then I had to do some readjustment only after a week or two, I think drilling studholes I had forgotten, and when I took the shoes off, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked like the whole sole and frog would have lifted up and suddenly there was some heels already. They couldn’t had grown that much only in a few days, so I think the pad with the silicone filling had really helped the hoof to get more concavity. The horse went with the pads four or five shoeing intervals and then I decided to take them off, because the hoofs were just perfect with hoof quality, concavity and strong heels. But slowly the hoofs started to fall apart again, so after some shoeing intervals the pads needed to be put back again. And now everything is fine. After six weeks the toes are not unecessary long. It may be that the pads will be taken off for some time again but I think this horse just needs to have the “pad treatment” every now and then. It may be that the hoof quality is just not very strong, because there is same kind of problems in the hinds, too. At least on the present use the horse needs some extra help.


Before that experiment I wasn’t a great friend of pads and silicone. The Vettec products are expensive and you always have to make the customer really to understand the problem so that they are willing to pay and with other silicones I have not been happy with. But this one in the picture has has been good stuff. This is some silicone dentists use, but at least in Finland you can buy this from farrier shops in biiig buckets :D It’s not very expensive and you don’t need any extra equipment. Just take a suitable amount of the silicone, mix it in your hands with a suitable amount of hardener from a different tube and put the silicone on the hoof and nail the shoe with the pad on.

So far I have had significant results with many horses. Most of them need the pads for three to four shoeings and once the hoofs are in good condition, they stay like that also without pads. There was only one horse that didn’t seem to improve and to that I tried Vettec Equi pak, but that was the last shoeing I made to that horse so I have no idea if that had any help either. The silicone and pad is quick to apply and anyway you’ll get the spent extra time back in the next shoeings when the condition of the hoof gets better and the shoeing all over easier.

I think the reasons in the hoof condition improvement are, that the pad with the packing takes some pressure off from the too stressed and weak hoof walls and it keeps the moisture level in the hoof stable.

I like the pad with packing, but I always try not to get stucked only to one idea, because in the long run you’ll probably get a bit blind and don’t see anymore other alternatives that may work even better. And every case is individual, anyway.


This horse had awful hindhoofs, no heels, the medial heel worse, lateral wall was flared badly. She had bad problems in the back. The horse was considered to be put down because she was so bad from the hinds. A good riding school horse is worth of gold and I thought that something must be done immediately to help the horses back and hip area and I couldn’t wait for three to four months that the heels maybe grow enough. I made wedge shoes for her and the horses condition got better and the heels started to get better, too. In this case the wedge helped, even against the theories that the wedges apply more pressure on the heels. I think the main help was that with the wedges this horse was more comfortable with her back and could move her hinds more back from under the stomach where she used to keep them and got that way also lot of pressure out of the heel area. This is the third shoeing with the wedges and there is still seen on the lateral wall the cracks as a result of the past flaring. Otherwise the situation starts to be quite good. The wedge is only 3-4 mm. Winter was coming, and there is longer studs on the heels and shorter on the toe to make the breakover easier.

Other great experiment for me was when I six weeks ago in Norway visited farrier Siv Ørnvall. Her own horse had cracking hoofs with bad heels and she wanted to try something on him. She had learned a theory of toe shoes. The only problem with that system is that you need to reset the shoes every 3-4 weeks, because the toe grows too long very fast. Practically it’s not very easy to arrange with many customers. But it was Siv’s own horse, so she could shoe him as often she wished to. And if the result would seem to become catastrophic, that even the rest of the weak heels start to wear away as I was suspecting, she could shoe him immediately normally again. We made the toe shoes and shod the horse with Siv together. Siv reset the shoes after some weeks and yesterday she sent me a photo of the strong, thick heels. Now it’s time for us to start to give clinics worldwide concerning toe shoeing and we’ll save all the horses on the planet and get rich and famous as we planned to! :D

As said already earlier, there are many ways to help the flat hoofs and I could write forever, but maybe this was enough for today :)

One more photo to lighten up the huge theory blah blah:


Sometimes I get a strange feeling that I’m not actually taking photos of the hoofs as I was going to..

Norwegian Championships is getting close

Today it was again time for the Finnish team competing in Norwegian Championships to gather together at our forge for a training session. We’ll head to Norway in nine days, so the most repeated phrase today was once again the sarcastic “There is still plenty of time left to practice”! These sessions are always as fun and motivating. I really love that Tommi, Mika and Antti are freaky enough to drive several hours just to spend a day bending steel to some bizarre shapes that should be horseshoes. And when you are in despair with your just produced piece of junk, in these practice sessions you’ll definitely hear even more truths of your worthless work and no one of us will be spared of that. :D

Now I have made at least once all the shoes I’ll need to make in the competition. But oh yes, the final class shoe is still missing. ..Is it possible for me to get 90 minutes time for a class instead of 55 minutes printed in the program? Maybe then I would bother to start to think more seriously that I would be in the finals, too.  :D

I have also some other request for the judges. You can see that the welding is not perfect, but there IS a welding, isn’t there?


Is it possible to judge only the ground side of the shoe..? 

Then I’ll honour my today’s practicing mates by owning for each one of them a photo:



Mika “The Machine” Nurmi. When the engine starts it never seems to stop.

Antti listening to the radio while practicing. Why to take it too seriously? It’s enough to make every shoe once before the competition and then just compete ..and usually get a good ranking. My opinion is that in reality he must be practicing in secrecy, he just won’t admit that.



I thought that Tommi was today at the forge, but when I look at the photo, I’m not so sure anymore. The man in the photo seems almost to smile. I think I have never seen anything else than a desperate grin on Tommi’s face while forging or shoeing. Oh, but he is so terribly sweaty, he must be Tommi, he is always forging like a madman. Maybe someone just told him a joke and he is smiling at that.


Jaska seems still need a little more guidance in the use of all that strange equipment and tools at the forge. Anvil and vise grip together can of course make a quite good easy chair.. And if you forget your shoes in the heated forge behind your back, they’ll probably burn.