Category Archives: General



A letter in a magazine article regarding floating problems when the horse was on the driver’s side but not when on the passenger side caught my attention and prompted me to respond. My own observations have been gathered over forty-nine years as a competitive horseman, colt breaker and Master Farrier. As a colt breaker I used to wonder why some colts mouthed better on one side than the other - was it because of something I was doing? I would change my methods with that particular horse, spend more time on the slow side, but still they behaved differently and were uneven to control. Then as a farrier, I noticed when shoeing these ‘uneven’ horses for the first time that about 99% of them were always half a size different in their front hoofs. So, relating that back to their initial mouthing tendency, there seemed to be a pattern emerging that the colt which was slow to yield on the near-side rein nearly always had his off-fore … Continue Reading ››


In my recently published book, I lamented that I owed two dollars to a friend from over 30 years ago. The story in brief was that I had a horrific horse accident when in my twenties, cutting short my ambition to ride my way into history. After years of recuperation, I dreamed of working with horses back in the bush. It was then in the early 1970’s that my accountant had bet me two dollars that if I put an ad in the local paper, I would find enough horses to shoe in the Adelaide Hills to keep me busy 24 hours a day. He was right, but I lost contact with him, and the two dollars that I owed him was the centrepiece of my silver belt buckle.

After the book was published, I found him again less than 100km away, and it was great to renew the friendship over the phone. I dropped in unannounced to his property one day and finding no-one at home, strolled over to the horse paddock to see what horses he had.

There in retirement was an aged … Continue Reading ››


In management courses, the first step is often to train the trainer. I run ABC Hoof Care Courses for horse owners, enabling them to recognise a balanced hoof and, if they wish, to trim or even shoe their own horses. Sometimes I think I should go back a step or two, and teach horse owners some basic horse sense too. Maybe I could call it Train the Owner. At a recent course, all the participants were trimming the hoof in preparation for the shoe. One participant was having trouble with her horse, and repeatedly belted it with a rasp. “If you do that again, I will start crying,” I said. “But she is a bitch,” said the owner in indignation.

I preach total non-violence in shoeing horses, and will not tolerate it from any of my pupils. In these modern times it is no longer acceptable practice to smack a child and it should be equally unacceptable to hit an animal. On seeing new horses, I am often told by my clients that their horse doesn’t … Continue Reading ››