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.
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
- Under normal circumstances, do not nail further back than the 4th nail
- Use a maximum of 7 nails and preferably 6.
- Unless a horse has a tendency to be clubbed hoofed, remove mostly toe and
- Nail approximately one third up between the bottom of the hoof and the
- 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
- 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
- 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
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO FOR THE FARRIER?
- Supply a horse that is a pleasure to shoe and do not put your farrier in
- 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.
it to a Horse Breaker. It is not your farrier's job and you are not paying him
- 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
- 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.
TO SHOE OR NOT TO SHOE
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
Some of the shoeing I have seen in the last few