© Garde républicaine

The blacksmiths of the Republican Guard

The Republican Guard has its own forges where its blacksmiths fashion customised irons, thus perpetuating a skill rare today.
With a single piece of metal heated to 1200 °C, the blacksmith quickly forges a horseshoe perfectly adapted to the size and shape of the animal's foot.
The manufacture of horseshoes can be achieved by three soldiers who forge using the "three hammer" method. This demanding exercise brings together a forger, a striker and a finisher to perform their role to stretch the metal and give it its final shape.
When hot, the horseshoe is then, in the "French" method, placed on the hot callus of the hoof. The "French" method of farriery requires the presence of two blacksmiths. Nails should be driven to the nearest millimetre to prevent harm and injury from being caused to the horse.
On average, the horseshoe must be changed every forty-five days and there are more than twenty types with sizes ranging from 28 to 48 (the smallest fits inside the largest).