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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friends at Work: Hoof Knives Hand-Made in Vermont by Farrier Jim Hurlburt

13 February 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at

Please wait patiently for this video from WCAX-TV in Vermont to load.

Vermont is one of the horsiest states in the USA, although you might not know that unless you went there and drove the back roads. As a former dairy farmer friend remarked to me recently, "Horses are the new cows."

Texas doesn't have to worry about Vermont beating them in the number of horses in a single state, but the number of horses per square mile, or per capita, must be right up there.

For as long as I can remember, Vermont has been famous for having more cows than people--it is, after all, the home of Ben and Jerry's ice cream--but lately a lot of dairy farms have been converted to horse farms. And a lot of veterinarians and farriers and hoof trimmers have moved to the Green Mountain State to serve those horses. Some were even born and raised there.

The Vermont Farriers Association was formed about five years ago, has an active educational program and was one of the first farrier associations to openly welcome non-shoeing trimmers to its membership and its events. They'll host a seminar with veterinarian Tracy Turner of Minnesota next month.

The winters are long in Vermont, and most of the people are involved in some sort of craft or hobby or a second job during the dark snowy months. Farrier Jim Hurlburt of Stowe drives right by the famous ski lifts of his hometown to pursue his work with horses, and comes home at night to work on his hoof knives, which he sends all over the world.

That's the kind of place that Vermont is. Out in any back barn you can find almost anything being made, designed or invented on a cold February day. The roads may not be paved, but somehow FedEx and UPS find the most out of the way cabins and farmhouses and the labors of Vermonters get shipped no matter how deep the snow is.

Enjoy this little video about Jim Hurlburt and his knives, courtesy of WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vermont. I hope no one on the tv crew cut themselves while making this video. Jim's knives are sharp!

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask.

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1 comment:

jesstay24 said...

Really good article!! Recently my own horse had an absess in one hoof and it caused a lot of trouble. It's great to know how to take care of their hooves.