First, my disclaimer.
I am in no way a farrier but have been thrown into this out of necessity. I'm working on a remote cattle station where it is not feasible to get a farrier out. Shoeing of the 20 odd work horses and breakers is done by the manager and stationhands. Once a year we have a shoeing school with a master farrier to help us out, and our manager has a fair bit of experience, but isn't a qualified farrier by any means. So we get by as best we can. The horses live and work on sharp rocky country (Iron ore country) and shoes are worn through pretty quick or are thrown. So we have shoeing to do every couple of weeks.
I have been trimming my own horses at home for a few years now with the guidance if a professional, but they are bare and on soft ground so I only ever have to rasp. Using nippers and the hoof knife and the actual shoeing part are completely new to me.
My problems are that I have little hands and not a super strong grip, so I struggle getting through the wall with the nippers, I have to have a hand on each handle and swing off them kind of, which means I find it quite hard to maintain a straight cut. Ditto with using the hoof knife on any part of the sole or bars - Their feet are just so hard I don't make a dent. Any tips?
I also find it hard to see if the foot is level. I think it is, then I try to nail the shoe on and it lifts on one side or twists. Once I have someone check it and tell me where to adjust I can see it plain as day. Any tips on this?
Lastly, I can't for the life of me hammer the first two nails in. Either my aim is off and i bend the nails, or the shoe starts to move and it all goes pear shaped. I've been having to get someone else to get the first two nails in and then complete it myself, which is kind of embarrassing and inconvenient! I don't know if I am holding the shoe/foot wrong, or if I just have bad aim with the hammer which moves the shoe... And tips here greatly appreciated.
I'll post some photos of the two hind shoes I did on one of my work horses yesterday. Please be kind as i'm doing the best i can, but I wold love some constructive criticism. I am really keen to learn as much as I can and improve at this, I hate not being good at something, and seeing as I have to do it anyway I want to be the best I can at it, for the horses sake and my own.
Ok, here is the right hind:
And the left hind: