Friday, January 18, 2013

Wes Champagne's Blacksmith Buddy: A Life-like, Positionable Horse Leg Simulates Shoeing / Trimming for Training, Demonstration and Practice

   Sponsored Post from Wes Champagne   

Learn about Wes Champagne's Blacksmith Buddy in this introductory video.

When I heard that California horseshoer Wes Champagne had a new invention, I sat back and said, "Hmmmm...." My mind lit up with imagined new lightweight shoes, or space-age adhesives, or something that you could put on a racehorse so it could break the sound barrier, or maybe jump the moon.

After all, Wes has quite a "track record" already, as a pioneer of adhesive shoes for racehorses and quarter crack repair. He pioneered the "direct glue" method and shod the first winner of a Breeders Cup race with glue-ons, Lit de Justice in the 1996 Sprint. 

I was in for a surprise this time, though...

Blacksmith Buddy is a plastic "practice" horse leg on a stand with a trimmable, nailable,
and replace
able hoof to hold between your knees or forward on a hoof stand to simulate
a real horse. You can adjust the height, feel the tendons, and critique its conformation.

Wes Champagne's high-tech "Blacksmith's Buddy" mechanical horse leg is much more than a practice leg. You can put a leg from a dead horse in a vice on a work bench and learn to trim shoe that way, but horse legs are becoming harder to find, and you don't want them hanging around too long. Besides, it's just not the same without the leg between your knees.

And whittling on a wooden leg or rasping a dead hoof in a vise won't build your back and leg muscles that need to get used to standing in that posture. Sure, the Blacksmith Buddy doesn't tremble, stamp or snatch the way a real horse does, but students or apprentices can get used to using sharp tools without as much danger, build up core strength, and move on to the real thing when they're ready.

The most unique thing about the Blacksmith Buddy is that yes, you can nail into the hoof if you are learning to shoe, or just rasp and nip and knife it if you want to do is learn to trim. But once you've trimmed it, you can replace just the hoof part of the device, and start again on a new hoof.

Students can take turns using the Blacksmith Buddy and submit finished hooves for evaluation. Vet students can learn to pull shoes and do minor hoofcare procedures.

One place I see the Blacksmith Buddy headed is to trade shows, where manufacturers will be able to let trimmers and shoers try out a tool or drive a nail or swing a hammer to a hoof that is the natural position and posture for their work. Different lengths of reins on a pair of nippers, for instance, means that the purchase of the wrong size is an expensive mistake for a first-timer. Flexing a high-price tool in your hands is one thing; being able to take a nip with a hoof between your knees makes it nearly an on-the-job product test.

Wes Champagne's Blacksmith Buddy is a great idea that has been carefully thought out and engineered. His tool gives student valuable experience without endangering the welfare of horses or the safety of students. I'm sure that the clever farriers in the field will find ways to incorporate these legs into all sorts of demonstrations, certifications and even competitions; the newbie shoer's first-time pretzel shoe can be nailed on with pride--and kept!--or a shoemaking champion can make a Blacksmith Buddy hoof capsule into a valuable trophy by glueing or nailing on an exquisite handmade creation.

The Hoof Blog is pleased to introduce you to the Blacksmith Buddy; be sure to check out all this new tool's social media and web resources, and visit Wes in his booth at upcoming farrier trade shows in Cincinnati and Baton Rouge.

To learn more:

Telephone (USA) 800.856.SHOE

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received compensation for writing and displaying this post. However, I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.