Horseshoeing is a distinct trade, but to most people blacksmithing and horseshoeing are synonymous terms. There are thousands of smiths who have never nailed on or made a horseshoe, and there are a great number of horseshoers who cannot be termed “smiths” in that sense of the word, for their knowledge of blacksmithing is limited to the fitting of horseshoes. Sometimes we find a blacksmith who is a fairly good shoer, but we shall never find a horseshoer who is a good blacksmith; but in the smaller towns and country shops the smith must practice both trades.
In no other trade has there been such a great confusion in the last decade as in the horseshoer’s. Every horseshoer, with few exceptions, has his whim or hobby. They are mostly “one-idea men.” The shoe is shaped a little different at the heel, and that is it to one man. Another believes in the side-weight shoes, another toe-weight shoes, another bar shoes; and many have such faith in their fad that they can make any old nag complete with Dan Patch for championship of the world, and cure diseases for all kinds simply by shoeing with the right kind of shoes. From their talk, you are certain that they can subdue any disease, from glanders to corns. And I warn the horse owner against the toe-weight farrier, for he might put on such toe-weights in front that the front quarters of the horse might run away from the hind quarters.
To follow all these whims would require a large volume alone, and we assure the mechanic or apprentice who wishes to know the facts that we shall not be guilty of any hobbyism of any kind, but give the rational ideas and facts. We do not believe in faith-cure shoeing.