Team Heller Clinic

Two weeks already from the Team Heller clinic in Norway at Klones Hest og Hov. I’ve been lately visiting Norway often to learn from Aksel Vibe. This time the whole bunch of masters was available. Team Heller (Grant Moon, Jonathan Nunn, Jesper Eriksson, Aksel Vibe) won the four man draft shoeing in world Championships in Calgary in July and three of the team members placed in top ten in the overall results. Not bad to have an opportunity to get instruction from those guys, or what do you think?

The idea is great. With so many instructors they had enough time for everyone, even though the attendees represented every level from apprentices to experienced farriers and competitors. The clinic included lectures, demonstrations of making different shoes and shoeings, hands-on instruction in shoeing and forging. And of course great fun with a big crowd of others sharing the same passion, shoeing horses and making shoes.

I personally wanted to get instuctions for the shoes in Norwegian championships that will take place already in couple of weeks. I was sooo happy and thankful when Jesper could help me to get the idea of the French hind, with which I have been now struggling already for weeks without getting anywhere. I just didn’t have anyone before this to show me how to do it. Any descriptions or videos didn’t help me, but now Jesper patiently showed, explained, corrected, and finally, there it was! Now I have tried it at home as well, and it seems I got the idea! One step forward again!

I got huge amount of nice pics from the event, so let them speak:


Nothing else is needed to create a good atmosphere, than lots of farriers forging in the same room! The sound of the gasforges, hammers and everyone concentrating on their work. I love it!


Evaluating the horse walk. Grant told that it is important to look the horse move before (and after) every shoeing. The first issue to look at, is, if the horse is sound. “It happens every now an then that a farrier is accused to cause the horse’s lameness, when he in fact was lame already before the shoeing!” After that you’ll start to look at how the foot lands and other issues depending on the case.


Demonstrations of making shoes and shoeings with different shoes. Lines drawn on the hoof define the geometry of the shoe, nailholes placement etc.


Hunter shoeing is a bit different. Hunters are doing lot of work in rough environment, the shoes wear fast and the fit has to be tight. Also the last nailholes are a bit behind the widest point, to ensure that the shoe stays on. Due to all this the shoeing interval is only 4 to 5 weeks.


Jonathan rasping the heel of the huntershoe. The angle of the heel should continue the same line with the heel of the hoof. It is individual for every hoof.


Here the heel of the shoe is a little bit too upright, but from this photo you probably got the idea.


Roadster concave.


Grant talking about the anatomics of the hoof with an opened dead hoof.


The Grillmasters. Aksel is not only passionate with shoeing and forging, but also with cooking! The food is always carefully planned and prepared when Aksel is around. This time we got for sure enough grilled meat for tens of hungry farriers from this huge grill!


Back to shoeing business. Jonathan nailing on a roadster.

A roadster fit.


Grant making a heartbar shoe.


While making the heartbar shoe Grant demonstrated what you should do if the fullering starts to get crooked in the start. Just correct it. In the end you’ll only have couple of extra scratches in the shoe, but the horse doesn’t mind. If you’re in a competition, the judges don’t mind either that much, compared to that if you make the whole fullering crooked and the nailholes end up somewhere where they shouldn’t be…


The instructors had a little bit of fun and challenge for themselves, too. Here Jesper is making a draft shoe with caulks and toeclip in three heats! Grant made a roadster in two heats and Jonathan a concave with two clips and studholes in one heat only! Did someone say that shoemaking is too time consuming?


A surprise competition during the clinic! We were given some nails and 45 minutes time and we were supposed to make a necklace. I know farriers are creative and skilled by their hands, but still I was amazed of the beautiful, beautiful pieces that were created.