Horseproblems Australia
Post Office Box Victor Harbor
SA. 5211
(61) 0885521418






John O'Leary


Farriers' can be frustrating characters'. They have their good and bad days, no watches and there isn't a farrier alive that won't do a slack job now and again. Can't work that one out. Other's have lot's of bad days or are poorly trained or not at all.

 Horse owners' should know a little about the shoeing process and be able to tell a good job from a bad one. If for no other reason than to keep a farrier a little bit on the ball. So I will endeavor to explain a series of comparisons about the various subjects that make up a completed, good  job.


  • Prepare the shoe to fit the finished hoof, not the hoof to fit the shaped shoe.
  • Under normal circumstances, do not nail further back than the 4th nail hole.
  • Use a maximum of 7 nails and preferably 6.
  • Unless a horse has a tendency to be clubbed hoofed, remove mostly toe and not heel.
  • Nail approximately one third up between the bottom of the hoof and the coronet band.
  • As nails progress from toe towards heel, they should maintain a parallel line and height.
  • Clinches should be no more than 3mm long, squared off on the end and all facing the same direction in a straight line down the grain of the hoof.
  • The shoe at the heel should cover the heel by protruding about the thickness of a 10cent piece past the end of the hoof.
  • The shoe should hang over and outside the heel of the horse by a thickness of at least a 10cent piece, commencing from about 3cm before the end of the heel.
  • When the shoe is fitted to the hoof, both heels should be covered regardless that they may be slightly forward or back.
  • The toe clip should be roughly in the centre of the toe when looking from the front.
  • When you look from side on, there should be near to a straight line from the centre of the fetlock, down through the centre of the pastern and then the hoof. There should not be a change in the angle when the line meets the hoof. In other words, the lines in the hoof should be the same angle as the pastern.


Never allow a farrier to nail on a shoe and then just rasp off excess hoof around the shoe. This is called "Blocking" and is one of the biggest mistakes a farrier can make. They do it for speed as it saves them time in accurately shaping shoes to fit properly, thus allowing them to shoe an extra horse for the day.




  • Supply a horse that is a pleasure to shoe and do not put your farrier in danger.
  • Don't expect a good shoeing job if your horse is a pain.
  • Don't attempt to use your farrier to re-educate your feral mongrel. Send it to a Horse Breaker. It is not your farrier's job and you are not paying him danger money.
  • Try to provide shelter from the elements. Shade etc.
  • A tie up facility helps. (if the horse ties up)
  • Your horse should stand still and not be trying to waltz all over the stable block..
  • Have your horse shod when it is due and don't leave it forever. It is not fair on the horse or the farrier.
  • If you cannot afford to shoe on time, don't shoe at all.
  • Don't shoe until you have the money. Don't pull the old, "I haven't got the money" trick after the job is done.



Most horses will handle not being shod. Horses without shoes generally have better hooves. If you remove shoes from a regularly shod horse, it may chip and break away, even get sore but if you hang in there it will toughen up. We weaken horses hooves through domestication. Wild horses are not shod and never need it.

There is little doubt that if you can get away without shoeing your horse, its hooves will be in far better shape than with shoes.

To find if this is possible for your style of riding, you must give it a decent trial period and allow the hooves to toughen up naturally like the wild horses.

Some of the shoeing I have seen in the last few years.

Low in the heel.
  This one I did. B4 and after.

This one shod to the flair.

Blocking the Hoof, making the hoof fit the show. Low nails Clubby feet
Seedy Toe

Rotated Pedal bone

This causes locking patella Racing Shoeing. Incorrect pastern hoof angle.