But their hands are a second "face" and you can read a lot about them by looking at their hands' creases, their scars, their lumps and bumps and all the old burn scars inside their wrists and sometimes up to the crooks of their elbows.
Pennsylvania farrier Bob Skradzio Sr. has the most interesting hands of anyone I've met and I've even photographed them! His hands were featured for a month on the Hoofcare & Lameness/St. Croix Forge wall calendar about ten years ago, and many people told me that it was one of their favorite of all the photos, even though no horses, no hooves, no shoes, and no tools were in the picture. In a way, all those things were there because you could see what 50 years of shoeing horses had done to his hands.
That's what came to mind on Sunday when I read the article in Sunday's Augusta Chronicle about Mark Berchtold, a farrier in Aiken, South Carolina. It's a nice article, to be sure, but my eye went to the photo of Mark's hands cradling a hoof, shown above. I'm sure most would be checking the position or fit of the shoe but I was looking at Mark's hands.
In the article, Mark admits that he broke his left hand twice and his right hand three times and lost part of his thumb. And right now he's having a knuckle problem.
The newspaper did a nice article about Mark, and there's a little slide show, too.
Two of my favorite faces, four of my favorite hands: lifetime veteran farriers Bob Skradzio, Sr. of Pennsylvania and Joe Kriz, Sr. of Connecticut. Both have sons (by the same names) who are farriers.
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