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A horseshoe is a U-shaped metal band that is nailed to the horses’ hooves to prevent them from wearing out. Depending on the animal’s workload, this wear will be more or less important. Often, the blacksmith will “shoe for value”, which means that they charge a fixed annual fee to the owner, allowing them to bring the horse in for shoeing as often as necessary.

To shoe a horse, the blacksmith holds the horse’s leg between their legs or with a tripod. The animal can also be immobilized in a structure. The blacksmith first removes the old shoe, impurities, and excess horn from the hoof, then levels it with a rasp. Finally, they nail the iron carefully so as not to break the hoof or hurt the animal. The blacksmith can also work on orthopedic shoes to correct defects or injuries in the horse.

In the villages, the blacksmith exercises the various trades involving iron. In fact, they are a farrier for horseshoes, an edge-tool maker for farming tools, and a nail maker for nails; they also act as cutler for knives and household cutlery.


Date: 1850–1950

Origin: North America

Owner: Forge Saint-Laurent. Saint-Anaclet-de-Lessard.


Dupont, J.-C. (1979). L’artisan forgeron [The craft smith]. Presses de l’Université Laval; Éditeur Officiel du Québec.

Dupont, J.-C. (2006, February 6). Blacksmithing. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/blacksmithing

Illustration: Horseshoe