Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ferrie Brothers DVD Reveals Family Secrets of Shoemaking and Clydesdale Hoof Care

Two of the world's most accomplished farriers are Allan and Jim Ferrie of Ayrshire, Scotland. Both are Fellows of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, top international competitors, and first-class educators. But first and foremost, they are Scotsmen, and as such they are impeccable ambassadors for the craft of farriery in their country. Plus they look great in those kilts.

So impressed with these two men am I that within minutes of receiving a new DVD produced by them, I was searching for a DVD player. I usually am not anxious to watch tapes of shoemaking demonstrations or competitions, but I knew this would be different and I was correct.

The DVD is a superb revelation on how and why the traditional Scottish heavy horse is shod the way it has been for so many years. The Ferries dissect the construction of the shoes into minute details (of both front and hind shoes) and relate the details of the shoe to the foot of the horse; you watch Allan forge each inch of the shoe, while Jim explains what Allan is doing, which is shown in slow motion. Sparks stop in mid-air.

Admittedly, it looks all too easy, as if the steel in the shoe wanted to follow the focused nudge of the hammer's head. Every hammer blow has a distinct purpose; Allan's technique is a model of efficiency and artistry.

The second half of the DVD is about the application of the shoe and the foot of the Clydesdale.

The good news is that you too can stay up too late looking at feathery Clydesdale feet. The Ferrie Brothers' DVD will be sold by Hoofcare & Lameness, beginning December 1, 2006. Cost is at an introductory price of $49 plus $5 post to US addresses ($10 to the rest of the world). The price will be subject to change without notice because of the change in value of the dollar against the pound.

To order, email dvd@hoofcare.com or call 978 281 3222. Mail checks to Hoofcare DVD, PO Box 6600, Gloucester MA 01930. Please note that the office will be closed from December 1 to December 6 while we are at the AAEP convention.