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retired farrier rediscovers an old passion: art | Horse news and equine events

Steve Teichman spent his early career grooming horse hooves at equestrian events around the world. He has been described by some world class riders, horse owners and trainers as an entertainer for the way he kept their horses healthy before, during and after Olympic and other competitions.

Today, Teichman has returned to his pre-farrier roots when, during his teens, he was an aspiring artist and had hoped to study for an art degree and pursue a career as a painter.

“It took a little longer to get here than expected,” said Teichman, surrounded by his recent creations at his studio in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. He spends part of his day creating watercolors and unique jewelry in silver, copper, precious and semi-precious stones.

The now-retired farrier turned serious amateur artist says he still relies on his hands and the skills he learned in his early career and still uses some of the tools he s is pressed to work on the feet of horses in the manufacture of jewelry, but his painting is a direct link to his work as a teenager. Teichman never completely gave up his art, finding time to draw and sketch whenever he could throughout his more than four-decade career as a farrier.

The journey from farrier to artist is an interesting one and not the one Teichman actually intended.

“My dad definitely wanted me to graduate from a four-year college,” Teichman said, “and whatever I was going to do in life, it would be after I got a bachelor’s degree that I did. at Eastern College (now university) in my hometown of St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

Steve Teichman in his studio in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

One of nine children, as a teenager Teichman applied for a position – encouraged by his father – as an intern at Warrington’s Farrier School run by Eddie Warrington, a respected Delaware farrier for horses from standard breed. It was the first step in what became a long and distinguished career.

“I learned the old-fashioned mid-20th century farriery trade that summer,” Teichman said, “and while I probably would have preferred to paint, at only 15, I suddenly learned a skill that became a part-time job and source of income, giving me a degree of independence, all the way through college.

Although not a horseman himself, Teichman grew up on the mainline in Philadelphia, where many large homes and estates had small stables and barns where the family’s horses were housed. “Horses need their shoes changed and their hooves trimmed regularly and the big farriery companies around us didn’t want to be part of that job,” Teichman said, “but for me it was the perfect post-work job. school and weekends and for a teenager it paid well.”

From college, Teichman brought his equestrian experience to the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center in Chester County, one of the top veterinary education facilities in the nation. He apprenticed with farrier New Bolton RJ Charles. With a four-year degree and a major in biology, Teichman was allowed to enroll in the large animal classes taken by third-year veterinary students at New Bolton, which gave him a deep understanding of animal physiology. horses on which he worked. .

And, Teichman said, “I was in the middle of horse country where I volunteered to do farrier work at Chester Country equestrian events to hone my skills in both New Bolton and after the internship when I set up my first farrier business.”

Through his work at many major equestrian events, Teichman quickly earned a reputation as what was called a valuable problem solver.

“Before 2000, during what was then a grueling cross-country portion of the full triathlon competition (cross-country, dressage and show jumping), horses were allowed a 10-minute rest between events and many were coming out of the long cross-country course in need of immediate and prompt attention or they would be removed from competition by a veterinarian, Teichman said.

Teichman had a knack for quickly assessing the problem and making adjustments to the hooves with padding pads and other techniques that addressed the vet’s concerns and allowed the horse to be cleared to continue on dressage trials and show jumping.

Teichman smiled when he said it was far from artistic, but it became extremely valuable and sought after by owners and riders and built a reputation that led to the appeal of the Equestrian Federation of United States (now the Equestrian Team) in the fall of 1996. became one of the professionals responsible for keeping world-class Olympic (equine) athletes healthy and ready for competition. It’s a huge responsibility and stressful. I have spent 26 years working with USET horses and riders at multiple Olympic competitions and World Championships around the world.

In the fall of 2019, health forced Teichman into retirement and he was able to focus on his artistic interests. Combining his love of art with his skills as a farrier and blacksmith, he began creating jewelry for his family and friends, which led to a small hobby business, with much of his work having a connection with horses.

Teichman left the farriery business, sold his equipment and work trailer, and didn’t look back. However, he says, “I find myself visiting many equestrian owners, trainers and riders when delivering jewelry to them at competitions in and around Chester County.”

Teichman’s art takes two distinct forms: watercolor painting and silver, copper and stone jewelry in the form of cuffs, bracelets and necklaces.

His watercolors mainly focus on landscapes made from sketches while traveling around the world as well as what he calls the unusual facial expressions of donkeys.

“The donkey is a mammalian hybrid cross between two species – the horse and the domestic donkey – and there are some 40 million donkeys worldwide used primarily as draft and pack animals,” Teichman said.

Teichman noted that donkeys have unusual expressions. “I’ve seen them all over the world and drawn them hundreds of times. I do watercolor paintings of donkeys that are both impressionistic and realistic.

Teichman’s jewelry includes silver bracelets, some specially designed for riders, which are stamped with stars representing the four- and five-star equestrian competitions in which they participate. Teichman is still well known in equestrian circles and many riders reach out to him via social media to make four or five star wristbands that signify the level of competition they are participating in. Teichman can actually use some of his little farrier tools. in the stamping process.

The farrier-turned-artist also makes silver cuffs of all sizes with intricate and original designs that he engraves by hand, sometimes taking up to 20 hours.

Teichman can also incorporate turquoise into their jewelry to give cuffs a decidedly Western flair. Cuff jewelry dates back over 7,000 years to the Egyptians, Mayans and Incas.

Last spring, Teichman’s studio was part of the Chester County Studio Tour where he welcomed many friends from his equestrian days and new art fans, who purchased watercolors and jewelry.

Teichman, 63, is well into his second career, having gone from using his hands to work on horses’ feet and hooves to using them to create unique jewelry and watercolors. He is bent no more than 45 degrees with a horse’s hoof between his legs.

“The view is much better. Teichman said, “I love what I do and I’m very comfortable in my new career.”

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