Monday, October 25, 2010

Northwest Farrier Icon

This was a behind the scenes event at the 2010 NWSA Fall Classic Horse Show. There is a display board at the Salem, Oregon Fairgrounds for Farriers to put their shoes on display to show their craftsmanship and Blacksmithing techniques. The boards purpose is to honor and pay tribute to the late Bob Gwartney, a Saddlebred Farrier who learned his craft from the Ernst Brothers in Kentucky.
My first encounter with Bob was memorable, in the early to mid 80's, I was apprenticing for a Saddlebred/Jumper Farrier named Delver Gianella, who has shod for the majority of large Saddlebred barns in the NW.
We pulled up to Chuck Courts barn in Snohomish, WA to find this old beater truck that had scrap and misc. items tossed in the open bed of the old pick up, it looked like it was itself headed for the scrap yard.

Gianella and I walk up to it and Gianella comments "look at this heap of Gwartneys" then he reaches in the back of the bed and pulls out a very well crafted 1/2 round Saddlebred toe weight shoe. Gianella then said: Can you believe that something this well forged comes from a heap like this? ...Looks are deceiving.
  This was my first impression of Bob and I have learned that it is a good way to get to know someone by observing (admiring) their skills and craftsmanship.

  Some of the traditional Saddlebred barns still call their Farriers "Blacksmiths", The extensive forge work for some of these horses shoes require precision Blacksmithing for their shoes.

This photo courtesy of Rhea Turner
 So, Delver Gianella and I made some shoes for the Gwartney Memorial Board.  Gianella made his  interpretation of the 1/2 round toe weight shoe "Gwartney style" and I might add that it was spot on.
 I made the Roadster and the Lateral toe extension shoes. Delver and I teamed up after 25 years to forge a Saddlebred country pleasure shoe out of 1" round bar, wedged at 4 degrees.

The Roadster

Saddlebred Country Pleasure

Lateral Toe Extension

1" Half Round Toe Weight

  Some of the shoes on this Memorial board are made by Jamie Pruitt, Zack Morris, Bobby Bewley and others to name a few. Larry Bewley was my first instructor in  1983.
  I just thought this story behind the scenes should be told.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wade & Delver, Means a lot to us all!!!! Very Well Done!!!