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Hunter Front Shoe by Gary Darlow


The second farriery article has kindly been written by Gary Darlow RSS/AFCL, seven times National Champion and winner of numerous county show competitions. Gary is based in Cheshire where he runs clinics from his forge - visit the Clinics & Tuition page of the Education and Training section for further details.

Click here to download a pdf version of this article for printing.

"I have chosen the hunter front because often when I am judging an apprentice class the common problem I have come across is the forging of hunter heels, therefore I will demonstrate how I make a hunter front -using 13.5” out of 7/8 , 7/16 - concentrating on the heels.

1. Mark centre of the steel. Heat the steel, the steel should be an even temperature all the way through the toe enabling you to put in toe bend and two nail holes. The nail holes are 2” from centre mark.

2. Forging of outside heel, forge inside web of concave to centre and repeat on opposite side and then forge outside ground surface to the centre of the concave, then forge hunter heel approx. 45degrees. When levelling shoe do not flatten the heels, (*see picture below) , do not go to the end of the shoe for this will ruin the shape of the heel, only go as far as I have shown. Also, do not try to forge the corners of the heel. NB. Ensure that the heel is forged to the bottom of the foot surface of the concave.

*When levelling stop your hammer blows approx. here enabling you not to flatten the heel.

3. Bending outside branch and putting heel and quarter nail holes in. making sure the stamp is on the inside edge of the concave for maximum coarseness and pitch.
4. Forging inside heel: repeat process of outside heel but run the outside concave to middle approx. 1.5 hammer widths back, forge heel at 45degrees just the same as the outside heel.

5. Bending inside branch and putting heel and quarter nail holes in.

6. Clip - clipping shoe with bob punch, after driving bobble of the clip down the side of pritchel hole, with ball of hammer make 4 or 5 hammer blows to start the clip, leaning shoe slightly away from you and finish off with the flat part of the hammer to draw the point of clip.

7. When rasping outside of the heel start on the inside of the concave and follow round to the centre and then take the outside of the heel off and then blend both the sides to the centre of the concave. repeat this process on the other heel making sure you keep the same angle on inside heel as you kept on the outside heel.

Note the angle of both heels are the same.

8. Re-heat the shoe all over to finish nail holes, then flatten and level shoe, and finally brush.





The Hunter Front."