MASTER farrier and former jockey Laurie Paltridge is sharpening his tools in preparation for one of the Southern Hemisphere's biggest equine events.
Mr Paltridge, of Tower Hill, said EQUITANA Melbourne, which begins next week at the Melbourne Showgrounds, was for anyone who loved horses.
"There'll be everything you can think of from horse rugs, horse clothes, magazines and all sorts of knick-knacks," Mr Paltridge said.
The event will feature presentations from more than 70 experts in everything from trick riding to horse nutrition, massages and psychology.
Mr Paltridge will run presentations on traditional farriery, including hot shoeing, on November 18 and 19.
He will also run workshops on hoof care and awareness.
Mr Paltridge lends a hand at the Warrnambool Veterinary Clinic.
He said strained ligaments and fractured bones were just some of the injuries a horse with ill-fitting shoes c ould suffer .
"The horse's shoes and feet are the foundation and everything has to be level," he said. "It's just like driving a car. It doesn't matter if you're driving a Mercedes, if the tyres aren't balanced then you will be wobbling all over the place."
The former top jumps jockey partnered Grand Annual Steeplechase winners Dunroe and Commission Red in 1989 and 1990 and shod this year's winner Al Garhood.
"There aren't too many people who have ridden and shod a Grand Annual winner," Mr Paltridge said.
"I've been involved with horses all my life and I'm one of the lucky few that's managed to make a career out of something I'm passionate about."
EQUITANA Melbourne runs from November 18 to 21 and will feature competitions, presentations and more than 300 exhibitors.