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TOPIC: attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic

attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 09 Oct 2006 02:36 #1

  • vthorseshoe
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This weekend with my wifes blessing (as she pushed me out the door with the ground surface of her shoe) I drove 5 hrs. to central Ny and attended the first, I think drafthorse forging contest and clinic.

Let me tell you, I saw some awesome draft shoe's being made by a variety of folks.


Dallas Morgan was the clinician and judge.
Dallas made sample shoe's for all to look at and then turned everyone loose.
(post script; Dallas donated both shoe's to be auction off at the Vermont Farriers Association Forging contest Oct. 28 and 29th. Come and put in a bid for some of the most beautiful drafthorse shoe's you will find anywhere. Own a "Handmade Dallas Morgan Draft Shoe" by attending and bidding in the auction.) Thank you Dallas the VtFA

What was interesting and a bit different from most forging contests of today, was almost everyone worked out of a coal forge.
There were 2 gas forges being used but everyone else lit coal forges.

I will follow with 3 pictures, I am sorry but the actual shoeing I video taped so have no pictures of the live shoeing.
I can tell you the feet and the shoe's looked awesome.

This all took place at the Gorton farm in West Edmeston, Ny.
Tod and his wife and family worked hard to put together a super 2 day event.
I want to thank them again for a wonderful time.

Sat was the forgeing and live shoeing contest and Sunday was an informal hammer in.
I was able to recieve one on one instruction from Dallas Morgan how to improve my forge welding. (I really s---k)
Not to forget to mention a number of other folks there who freely gave me advice and took time to show me little details on welding.

If The Gortons decide to do this again next yr. and if you want to experience some of the best hospitality around anywhere along with 2 days of bending steel I urge everyone to attend.
This is a real working farm and well mannered horses.

I also want to mention all the sponsors who donated items. Everyone left with an armfull of different items from a multitude of suppliers generosity.
You can see their names behind the contestents in the group picture.
Tod made sure they recieved "top" billing to express their appreciation for their generosity.
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 09 Oct 2006 02:41 #2

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This fellow came up from Pennsylvania and was partnered with Ben Managan (spelling ?)
I am awful on remembering names , I hope I have it right. Brian and Ben did beautiful work and their shoeing was 2nd to none.

The metal box is a home made coal forge that Ben Managan made and brought. He said he has a lot of modifying it to bring it to a more esthetic look. I can tell you it really functions great.
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 09 Oct 2006 02:47 #3

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Steve on the left, Tod in the center and Dallas's apprentice, ( I appoligize for not remembering your name. Please forgive me)

Standing around as the coal fire comes to life. Tod built this shop and it is large enough to have a large clinic in.
Surely the envy of most.

Once again, if you want to experience western Ny hospitality at its best, then plan on attending any future clinics or forging contests at the Gorton Farm.
You won't be sorry.


Bruce
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 10 Oct 2006 18:54 #4

  • smitty88
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Bruce
the fact you had to drive 5 hrs to get there
says it all

great stuff
i hope you get to many more Bruce

thats what keeps everybody goin when they
here people make that kind of effort
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 11 Oct 2006 11:38 #5

  • vthorseshoe
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Hi Smitty;

With a long time established shoeing business, I have this inert desire to improve my forging skills.
I am even going to make an attempt at entering a contest the end of this month.
When I go to the forging contest(and I am on the begining end of the scale)
I watch with great admiration of the skills I see. From watching a first time forger to watching an experienced contestant.

I also noticed when I return home my shoe fitting takes on a new dimension.

Doing the big horses I am always lighting my forge to work the shoe's, so working the steel isn't hard or foreign to me. Gaining the finess' and the skill and know how to go beyond just bending a heel or flattening a toe is what is entrigueing. It is just that, becoming more skilled in a certain faze of the business we do everyday.
There is an excitement, and a sense of self gratification from taking bar stock and producing a beautifully well formed shoe.
In a previous thread it was asked what good comes from making a raodster shoe when in this country it isn't used by the majority of shoers.
I asked this question myself many times. I am begining to see making this shoe and other shoe's will develope your ability and self confidence to make any shoe that comes along or is necessary in your particular area of the business.
It also developes your desire to make a really well built shoe along with it being a functional shoe.

I know forging isn't for everyone and I know forging contests aren't of interest to most, but it is a relaxing break filled with intense concentration along with an inert desire to compete your skills agains others of your trade.

I am begining to see where this portion of our trade has its benifits.

It is a personal thing for me and I am not trying to sell its merits to anyone else.
Kinda like a release for me.
The live shoeing takes the forge work one step further and gives more validation to the making of a well formed shoe.
The ability to make a shoe that is beautiful and also applicable to a foot brings it back into the world of shoeing and not just blacksmithing.
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 11 Oct 2006 17:06 #6

  • jseyffer
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It was explained to me once that all the contest shoes are puzzles. You need to figure out the steps and techniques to make one. This teaches you the think/plan/scheme/plot when making shoes. My everday work is much better from "mastering" some of the contest shoes. I contested for several years (very middle class) after Jack Miller told me (at my CF testing) to "go forth and contest and you will quit being so nervous". He was right, I enjoyed contests and contestants, and it made me a better technician.
Jack Seyffer
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 11 Oct 2006 21:31 #7

  • smitty88
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Hi Bruce
was it a 2 man effort in the shoeing
or an individual thing

what type of shoes where they making?
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 11 Oct 2006 22:19 #8

  • Gary Hill
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Jack good points. But maybe the hoof is the puzzle not the shoe? Of course practice always helps, and being able to pull a clip even tho ya might not really ever use, one or two for that fact, it is still a good practice. The feet we all see everyday sometimes require that we address differant issues because of conditions of the feet we work on are not always ideal? Personal skills always need to be honed and some do so everyday. The tools used are the forge and anvil and ability of the farrier to alter a keg or build a shoe from barstock to achieve the desired results of whatever the need be? I very much liked the 2006 World Championships Blacksmiths competitions and admire the skill and desire it takes to build a shoe at that level. I believe tho that everyday farriers run into problems that they must try to repair and being able to build a pretty shoe quickly sometimes doesn't help a problem, it is the desire of that farrier to address and do what is possible with his ability. I have been hammering away at a couple of local farriers I run into and bug them to use their forges? I might of had some success because today one of them came by my reg Wed. stop and showed me a pair of sliders he made. He had me build a pair for one of his horses a few weeks ago. He even showed me his new used forge! The other guy told me last Sun. at a can chase our wives were at ,is now using his forge because it makes shapeing so much easier! He liked the way I punched new useable nail holes in a EXTR EZ on a bad foot and it made the whole foot look so much better than chaseing keg nail holes. There may be hope yet? Best, Gary
"As I see it, winners get the money - while losers talk of "individual goals" and similar stuff." Tom Stovall
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 11 Oct 2006 23:14 #9

  • vthorseshoe
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here are a couple of the shoe's made as examples by Mr. Dallas Morgan.
This is a terrible camera shot and doesn't do the shoe justice but you have the idea.

2 man competition.
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
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RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 11 Oct 2006 23:15 #10

  • vthorseshoe
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another shoe
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
The administrator has disabled public write access.

RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 11 Oct 2006 23:16 #11

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another shot
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
The administrator has disabled public write access.

RE:attended drafthorse forging contest/clinic 12 Oct 2006 17:43 #12

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Gary - I find that both the foot and the shoe are/can be puzzles. The first challenge is to find the "right" shape and balance for the foot/feet and to get it to look that way (finding the good foot under the "mess"). The second challenge is to make/change a shoe to properly fit the "good" foot. Most of the time, both of these challenges are fairly routine but sometimes fun happens. I was shoeing a mare once that the owner was going to loan out to a hunting buddy. He stated that other shoers did not like to shoe this horse. I said that she was a little stiff/old but generally very pleasant to shoe. He said that the complaints were about how hard it was to fit shoes on her oddly shaped feet. My reply was that that was what I was being paid for. Making contest shoes has greatly increased my shoe shaping skills in general and has taught me to think before I "just get it hot and hit it hard". Besides - competing and making contest shoes is just plain fun, and you get to hang out with talented people. Or as an old shoer I knew put it - this job gives just what I need - an excuse to drink.
Jack Seyffer
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