Friday, November 01, 2013

Farrier plies his trade as 'progress' claims equine turf

Image: Brett shapes a shoe.

THE ever-advancing urban sprawl across the once-tranquil mix of paddocks and bush on the bayside and in nearby districts gives opportunities to some. However, the cruel sting is that the population and building boom may smother Redland's colourful rural heritage and steal opportunities from those who continue in rural pursuits. It has been gratifying to see a master farrier plying his trade through the acreage belts where property owners are yet to sacrifice their horses to the demands of developers.
BRETT Young has serviced Redland horses with hot and cold shoeing, trims and dentistry since he moved to South East Queensland from Taree, NSW, in the mid-1990s. He agrees the horse population in the SEQ peri-urban areas has been continually shrinking and he tells of driving past streets of houses where horses once ran on substantial properties. "There's been a massive reduction in the number of horse properties," Brett says. However, all is not lost, and he hopes to pick up some more clients through his modest classified advertising, which in a recent edition provided the only listing under the 'Horses' heading.
ANYONE who has seen farriers at work must admire their ability to control the awesome power of equine muscles. A slip-up can mean serious injury but Brett has been bruise free in his decades as a farrier. "It can be dangerous but I have been very lucky so far and I guess you need to know what you are doing," he says. "I was brought up around horses; you have to be very wary of them." Brett started shoeing his own horses when he was just 14 years old and working on Manning district cattle properties around Taree. Since about 1990 he has been a full-time farrier. He has worked for thoroughbred studs including several near Beaudesert where he has helped prepare prospects for the Gold Coast's famous Magic Millions sales. It was interesting to see's reference saying that historically the jobs of farrier and blacksmith were practically synonymous. Brett says hot shoeing, whereby red hot steel is shaped to suit the hoof, is less common than in past eras; the technique generally suits big horses requiring heavier steel – 10 millimetres thick and 2.5mm wide – that cannot be easily shaped when cold. Farriers have long used gas forges for the job.
NOW back to the Redland rural character: The 2011 census put the number of residents engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing at just 393 or 0.6 per cent of the city's workforce. This was a drop of 71 since 2006. Brett, however, would fall into the "professional, scientific and technical" category, which in the same period grew by 950 to 4271 people, representing 6.3pc of the workforce.

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