Introducing the brand new Blacksmith Showcase and Classic at the Calgary Stampede

by Madeline Babinec, communications advisor

Guests at this year’s Stampede can take part in Blacksmith events all 10 days with the new Blacksmith Showcase and Classic. Here’s a premiere of what’s in store for you when you visit the blacksmith programs.

Each horseshoe is designed specifically for the type of horse it will fit
Each horseshoe is designed specifically for the type of horse it will fit

During the three-day Blacksmith Classic competition and daily demonstrations at the Blacksmith Showcase, the blacksmiths will create many types of shoes for our equine friends. Each shoe is different and tailored specifically for the type of horse and what the horse will be used for.

  • Light draft horse/beveled cob shoe: These shoes are designed to support smaller, “lighter”, draft horses in their tasks. Light draft horses are generally used to pull carriages of people or small wagons.
  • Draft horse shoes: These shoes are sturdy and heavy, made to fit the largest breeds of horses, such as Percheron and Belgian. The main job of draft horses is to pull large wagons. Originally, draft horses were often used to pull the materials needed to build roads and buildings and they still do so on ranches and farms today.
  • Saddle horse shoes:  These shoes are designed for “saddle horses” whose main role is to carry people on their backs. These horses are usually not as heavy as the light draft horses and the draft horses, so their shoes’ materials are reflected accordingly.
  • Pony shoes: These shoes are the smallest, meant to fit ponies. Ponies are often associated with pulling children in wagons or carrying children on their backs.
Part of the competition is to “shoe the horse” after the shoe is made
Part of the competition is to “shoe the horse” after the shoe is made

During the Blacksmith Classic competitions, there are a few requirements that the judges will be looking for. Here are two examples:

  • Masselotte toe clip: This technique requires extra material that the toe clip is pulled out of. When using general hammer/steel techniques there are often visible indents but in the masselotte technique, because of the extra material, the indents are not seen. Each technique does not affect the quality of the shoe, or task needed of the horse, but the masselotte requires more skill and produces a higher aesthetic quality, making it a great choice for the Blacksmith Classic competition.
  • Eight nails per shoe: The number of nails varies in horseshoes; most shoes use six nails. When you build a shoe you can use as many or little nails as you want. Some horseshoes, especially in Europe, have from 12-15 nails per shoe. Having more nail holes provides more options and you can move the nail back and forth, not having to fill each one at all times. This competition sets six to eight nails per shoe as the standard depending on the size of shoe.
Participants in the Blacksmith Classic competition act in teams
Participants in the Blacksmith Classic competition act in teams

Educational blacksmith demonstrations will take place daily showcasing the skills and different uses of blacksmithing. Guests will enjoy witnessing the transformation of metals into useable objects through heating, melding and creating all crafted by hand.

The final weekend of Stampede 2015, from Friday, July 10 to Sunday, July 12, hosts a riveting three-day patriotic competition between invited competitors from the United States and Canada. You’ll see the best of the best from each country.

Be sure to visit the Blacksmith Showcase and Blacksmith Classic in the Northern Lights Arena and on Country Trail. For specific times and locations, visit

Hope to see you there; you’ll witness the amazing transformation of metal!

Source: Calgary Stampede – Agriculture