This Horse Was in Good Hands; Farrier to Be Remembered at Virginia Farm Where Secretariat Was Foaled

By Fran Jurga, Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

This photo just showed up in my email a while ago. I thought it was quite beautiful...and even moreso when I realized "the rest of the story".

This horse's toe crack has been patched with PMMA adhesive, which will harden into a shell-like covering that closely mimics the hoof wall. Plastic wrap is placed over the material while it sets and the farrier is smoothing the big patch as it goes through its metamorphosis from a pastey liquid to a solid.

The same procedure is used to build up heels, fill in gaps in the wall or sometimes create a quarter crack patch or cover patch lacing. A similar process was used during the 2008 Triple Crown by hoof repair specialist Ian McKinlay in his work on Derby-Preakness winner Big Brown's separations and crack. The material also can be used to glue shoes directly onto hooves.

By feeling the texture and heat through the plastic, the farrier will know when it is safe to put the foot down. Once hardened, the patch can be rasped and shaped and may be indistinguishable from the "real" wall at the quarters if the job is done with skill.

You can be pretty sure that was the case here; those long fingers that look like they should belong to an artist or musician were Mr. Edgar Watson's, an expert farrier from Keswick, Virginia. Eddie died this fall, and the farrier world hasn't been the same since.

Eddie was a supremely talented farrier and a wonderful man. Many of Virginia's top Thoroughbreds, foxhunters and jumping horses were helped along by Mr. Watson's skilled and caring hands.

I'd like to thank Dwight Usry of Peak's Forge in Hanover, Virginia for sharing this photo.



CAPTION: Architect's drawing of the Britt-Watson Veterinarian/Farrier Facility to be built in Virginia in memory of farrier Eddie Watson.

Be sure to watch for news of Virginia's fundraiser for the Britt-Watson Veterinarian/Farrier Facility to be built in Mr. Watson's memory at The Meadow Event Park, a new horse park and home for the state fair.  The 2,600-acre Meadow Stud in Doswell, Virginia was once a legendary breeding farm where Secretariat was foaled on March 30, 1970 and is now owned by the State Fair of Virginia, a 501 c (3) organization that is converting the farm site to an event center.

Dr. Olive Britt, whose name goes on the building with Mr. Watson, was the veterinarian who foaled Secretariat for the Chenerys; she also lived on the farm. He would go on to win the Triple Crown in 1973 and become the most famous racehorse of the second half of the 20th century.

Farrier Product Distribution (FPD) of Shelbyville, Kentucky has already kicked off the fundraising with a $1000 donation.

If you'd like to chip in, I can fax the donation form to you or click here to send Dwight an email.

Republished with permission of Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Photo of Eddie Watson's hands by Dwight Usry.


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Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a rich information platform for all types of news and media related to the care of horses' hooves and legs. The related journal, Hoofcare and Lameness, is dedicated to the professionals who specialize in this important aspect of equine care. Visit to learn more and to subscribe.

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