Over the week of June 18, 2018, two Olsen Equine clinics were held in Dupree, SD. Eighteen participants from as far away as Hardin, MT and Hazen, ND, and from nearby Dupree and Eagle Butte, SD. Throughout the clinics, participants learned about and practiced trimming, shoeing and blacksmithing. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation offered scholarships for several of the students to attend. This marks the third year that Lee Olsen offered his clinic in Dupree, where he grew up. Lee Olsen, American Farrier Association Certified Journeyman Farrier, says he enjoys getting to share his what he’s learned to help others. The West River Eagle, Dupree’s local newspaper, remarked, “The reason Olsen comes back to Dupree is to share his craft with other people who want to invest in a career that can show a quicker return on the investment than a college degree for anyone who is willing to approach the craft with the idea that there is always something new to learn.” Lee hopes to continue the annual shoeing clinic in Dupree, and possibly even adding another clinic later this summer. If you’d like to hear more about upcoming clinics, please contact Lee. “This is one of the best experienced I had. I would like to comb back again and would recommend to anyone who wanted to learn to be a farrier.” “Great clinic. I feel when I leave here I will able to comfortably trim my own horses, which was my goal coming in.” “Thank you for being so helpful when a guy struggles. Showing me what I’m doing wrong and letting me fix it.” Got questions about equine hoof care? Join Lee's Facebook group, "Ask the Farrier," and be part of the iron-sharpening discussions. Upcoming Hoof Care Clinic
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By Lee Olsen Have you ever noticed all the problems and issues that today’s horses seem to have with lower leg injuries? I’ve seen a growing number of horses experience these types of injuries. I’ll admit that we do ask a lot of our horses, and that accidents and bad shoeing incidents do happen. But it might be worth considering the possibility that we’re breeding them that way.Have you ever seen a wild mustang’s feet before? They’re typically not just good, they are great! Why is that? They haven’t received any hoof care other than wearing their own feet off. My theory is that’s because every single mustang that had bad feet died. There’s likely not a single one left in the gene pool with bad feet or lameness tendencies.Seems to be pretty much the opposite now. What’s the first thing someone does when they have a nice mare that can’t compete anymore? Of course, they’re going to breed her. I don’t blame anyone at all; I would, too, as that’s a big perk of owning a mare. Taking a chance that whatever crippled your mare won’t happen to baby, versus getting a replica of your pride and joy seems worth the risk. With that said, I believe it affects the entire industry as whole.What about if it was an injury that took your mare out of competition. Could it be that her conformation had something to do with it? Ruptured deep flexor tendon maybe? Did she have long pasterns? Long toes and under run feet often go with long pasterns, which put more stress on the deep flexor tendon. What about a hock problem? Did she have straight hind legs, or was she sickle hocked or cow hocked? Those will put more stress on the hocks. Veterinarians and farriers have both made lots of advances that allow us to keep horses competing at high levels, while earlier in history they may have been side lined or retired. I can’t help but think about all the horses that came along 20-30 years ago that could have been world class athletes, but just never got their shot due to unsustainable injuries. Here’s another thought. I know several people that talk about great horses from back then; NFR type horses that never once had a joint injection, specialty shoeing, dental work, etc. I wonder if back then we knowingly or unknowingly bred for great conformation and soundness. Or did we breed for toughness? Food for thought. God Bless America This article was first published in the Dally Times- The Magazine for Team Ropers. Got questions about equine hoof care? Join Lee's [...]
By Lee Olsen Have you ever had a horse lose a shoe? Chances are, that if you have ever had a shod horse you’ve most likely experienced the frustrations that come with a thrown shoe. Whose fault is it? Is it because the farrier did a poor job applying the shoe? That’s usually where the blame goes first, and it’s totally possible it could be due to an incorrect trim or application of the horseshoe. With that said, there are a lot of other variables that directly affect how successful you will be at keeping shoes on. In this article, we are going to consider the variables of environment, performance, balance, soundness, confirmation, rider error, and physical condition as they relate to losing a shoe. Environment Environment can play a big role. If it’s wet a lot of the time where your horse is at, or if you wash your horses excessively, the hooves can get water logged and be a lot like a sponge. In this case, clips can be very helpful. They do not stop a shoe from being pulled off, but it will stop shearing forces and twisting effects. In effect, this will strengthen the hoof wall by limiting movement and stress on the nails. When a horse gets daily baths, the hooves will expand when they’re wet, and then shrink when they dry out. Shavings will suck out moisture quickly as well. Clinches will eventually loosen with all of that expansion and contraction. When a shoe is lost like this, most often it doesn’t take much force to pull it off and usually appears flat. In the US, clips aren’t really that common, but if you get into most other countries, they are the norm. Performance Knowing the job the horse is going to be performing is critical to a successful shoeing. How a horse’s shoes are fit greatly depends on what job the horse is doing and the length of shoeing schedule it is on. A good rule of thumb is that slow horses, such as dressage and show jumping horses, get shod with plenty of expansion (meaning a little extra shoe left behind for support). When these horses are turned out in a small pasture, it is usually supervised and for a short period. Racehorses are shod short and tight, meaning no extra shoe left out for the go grab at all. That is for two reasons. First, they are on a short schedule, usually four-week cycles or less, so there isn’t going to be much growth. The second reason is for safety. These horses are running very long lengths as fast as possible. [...]
By Lee Olsen Have you ever had to make a big decision and known in your heart you were right, only to find out later you were wrong? I don’t care who you are or what you do, if it hasn’t happened yet, it will. I believe one of the most valuable things you can do is get a second opinion. It’s really valuable to have someone who knows what they’re doing, who you can bounce your ideas off of. Anyone against getting a second opinion is usually more worried about looking bad than helping the overall problem. Consulting someone with a fresh perspective can usually bring a lot of insight, and they just might have the missing piece of the puzzle. Getting a second opinion doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing. In my opinion, it actually means you’re confident and wise, not insecure and closed-minded. There isn’t anything more impressive for me then when you go to the vet or doctor and they consult with their colleagues. A team is always stronger than an individual. One time I was helping rehab a deep flexor tendon injury (which is about as serious as it gets), and it wasn’t having great success. At that point, the owner asked her veterinarian if there was anyone else he knew that might be good to get a second opinion from. The vet replied, “The only ones this horse needs is me and God.” I appreciate the shoutout to God, but how sad is that statement? This horse is obviously very important to the owner, and yet the vet isn’t willing to even consider the thought that maybe he missed something. I hope that whenever serious things happen in my life, that everyone involved is open to a second opinion from a knowledgeable source. Can you imagine living with a permanent disability because a doctor missed something? And to find out later that doctor was too proud to ask someone to double-check his plan for your situation? I know those are extreme examples, but here’s the bottom line- if someone is paying you to do something, it’s probably important to them and should be handled accordingly. There have been so many times in my life when I thought I had a “great idea.” When this happens, the first thing I’ll do is run it by my wonderful wife. Quite often I’ll get the “I don’t know about that one, Babe” response. At times it can be frustrating to be told I’m wrong, but I know it’s for my own good and we all need someone that will bring us back to reality. That’s [...]