Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends at Work: Ernie Gauoette Shod His Way from the Racetrack to the Show Barn

Somehow it didn't surprise me to see Ernie Gauoette's picture in the newspaper today. Our friend Ernie has been shoeing show hunters and jumpers at the well-known Briggs Stable in Hanover, Massachusetts for a while now and he's a good model, as well as a nice guy, so Ernie gets his picture taken a lot.

What did surprise me was when I went to the Patriot-Ledger newspaper's web site and Ernie's voice came out of my computer speakers as if he was right in the room with me; the paper made a video of Ernie explaining a few aspects of shoeing. Thanks to the magic of YouTube.com I was able to embed the video and share it with you.

Enjoy the video and please know that what you are seeing Ernie do is pretty normal shoeing in the Boston area from Thanksgiving to Easter. The shoe was four tiny tungsten drive-in studs for traction on ice or slippery pavement and a big black "pop-out" pad that prevents snow from building up on the bottom of the horse's foot. Pop-out pads are a poor rider's gait analysis system. They make an audible pop-pop-pop-pop with each stride set as you ride and if the rhythm is off, you know you have a problem. A sure sign of spring around here is when horses go back to clopping instead of popping. 

The shape identification system for hooves that Ernie alludes to on the video is the "Eagle Eye" system developed by farrier instructor Scott Simpson in the 1980s. He taught farriers to look for Norman, Stubby, Ralph and Tag...and guess what? It's pretty accurate!

By the way, Ernie's excellent accent comes through nicely. Every region of New England has a distinct accent so we can tell each other apart. Thanks to the Patriot-Ledger newspaper and web site. Click here to go to Ernie's page and leave a comment, or leave one here by clicking on the word
"comment" below.

  © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

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