Voices in the Coalshed: Blacksmiths & Farriers
Why has the word “farrier” always been closely associated with the word “blacksmith?” Possibly because a farrier ( ferrier in French) comes from Latin word ferrum meaning metal.
A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care: trimming and balancing of horses’ hooves and, if necessary, the shoeing of horses. A farrier combines some blacksmith’s skills –the making, adapting, and adjusting of horseshoes with some veterinarian’s skills- a knowledge of its anatomy and physiology of the lower limb to care for that horse or pony.
On the other hand, a blacksmith (a forger, a hammerman) is a metal smith who forges iron (and other metals) to mould and produce a variety of objects including horseshoes.
The colliery owners of the past employed a farrier -a specialist- to take care of the pit ponies’ feet. After all, a pit pony cost money while men and young lads could easily be replaced.
So you decide, is a farrier’s work a kind of blacksmithing and blacksmithing a kind of farriering?
Voices in the Coalshed is a volunteer-led project that explores the language and literature inspired by coal mining. Discover more here!