Special thanks to Owen Jeffery-Parkinson, a work experience student at the museum in July 2012 who researched and put this exhibition together.
The horse marks the difference between the work of the blacksmith and that of the farrier; a blacksmith is a general iron worker traditionally making farm implements and other metal work while farriers specifically shod horses. It was often said that most blacksmiths could be farriers but not many farriers were blacksmiths.
As well as shoeing horses, farriers often took on the additional role of horses doctors which would involve docking tails, castrating, filing teeth and issuing medicines. In 1881 the Veterinary Surgeons Act was passed, relieving farriers of their additional role as horse doctors, this was a result of the attempt to regulate the veterinary practice. Farriers had the greatest call for service in the 18th and 19th centuries but with the decline of the horse and increased mechanisation of farming equipment, the craft has declined. Click on the individual images for more information.