Friday, July 24, 2015

Word of the Day -- Farrier

A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses' hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves, if necessary. A farrier combines some blacksmith's skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with some veterinarian's skills (knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the lower limb) to care for horses' feet.

Historically, the jobs of farrier and blacksmith were practically synonymous, shown by the etymology of the word: farrier comes from Middle French: ferrier (blacksmith), from the Latin word ferrum
(iron). A farrier's work in colonial America or pre-Industrial Revolution Europe would have included shoeing horses, as well as the fabrication and repair of tools, the forging of architectural pieces, and so on. Modern day farriers usually specialize in horseshoeing, focusing their time and effort on the care of the horse's hoof. For this reason, farriers and blacksmiths are considered to be in separate, albeit related, trades.

In the British Army, the Household Cavalry have farriers who march in parade in ceremonial dress, carrying their historical axes with spikes. They are a familiar sight at the annual Trooping the Colour. There is also a farrier on call "round the clock, twenty-four hours a day, at Hyde Park Barracks."

In the United Kingdom, the Worshipful Company of Farriers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Farriers, or horseshoe makers, organized in 1356. It received a Royal Charter of incorporation in 1571. Over the years, the Company has evolved from a trade association for horseshoe makers into an organization for those devoted to equine welfare, including veterinary surgeons.

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