Left Front Normal Shoe Right Front Normal Shoe

My shoeing method would best be described as basic horseshoeing. Keeping things simple and applying the basic fundamentals of horseshoeing is how I approach each case. I stay away from fads and fancy gimmicks because there is no one type of shoe or shoeing method that can cure everything. I only apply what is necessary to keep a horse sound. Most of the time a balanced trim job and four normal shoes are all required. However, some horses do have special shoeing needs which will enable them to stay sound. These needs will be addressed during the shoeing process by proper trimming/balancing of the foot, shoe type and hoof care aids.

My shoeing process begins by observing the horse from all angles. I walk around the horse looking at not just the hooves and legs but the conformation of the entire horse. Each horse is the walked toward me and away from me. If possible I like to watch the horse while it is being ridden and performing its job. After evaluating the horse I make an assessment and plan the way I want to trim and shoe the horse. Next to trimming the feet evaluation the horse’s conformation is the most important step in the shoeing process. You can’t balance a horse if you don’t recognized and understand the imbalances found in each horses conformation.

Balanced Balanced

The next step in the shoeing process is trimming and balancing the feet. Medial/lateral balance is achieved by trimming the foot to a plain that is parallel to the ground, perpendicular to the long axis of the cannon bone, and having equal portions of the hoof on either side of the axis. To obtain anterior/posterior balance I use a reference point about 3/8 of an inch behind the apex of the frog. I trim the foot so that 60% of the foot is behind (towards the heels) this point and 40% is in front of the point. This places the foot in a position to support the leg when it bares the weight of the horse.

When trimming the bottom of the foot I am careful not to over trim any part of the hoof. I want to leave all of the supporting structure that I can (sole, frog, and bars). After trimming the bottom of the foot I dress and flares or dishes on the outside of the hoof capsule so that the hoof wall is straight from the coronary band to the ground. This completes the trimming and the hoof is now ready for a shoe.

Right Front Untrimmed Right Front Trimmed

Selecting the right size shoe is the first step in fitting the hoof that is to be shod. Measuring the circumference of the hoof from heel to heel will give me the length of the shoe that will properly fit the hoof. Next I shape the shoe to look exactly like the bottom of the foot. Feet should not be shaped to look like shoes. Sometimes feet are not able to be balanced by just trimming alone. In these cases I’ll shape the shoe to be placed where the hoof wall should be to balance the foot. Once the shoe is shaped I then hot fit the shoe onto the hoof. After making a few final adjustments the shoe is now ready for the grinder. I use a belt grinder to smooth any sharp any sharp edges, apply sole relief, and box any extra width of the shoe. With the grinding complete, the shoe is now ready to be nailed onto the hoof.

Removed Shoes New Shoes

Once the shoes have been nailed into place it is time for the last step, finishing the feet. I first use a hoof gauge to make a small indention in the hoof wall providing spaces for the clinches to be seated. The clinches are made small and are flush with the hoof wall. A finish rasp, sanding block and hoof coating are used to give the hoof a nice polished appearance. Now the shoeing job is complete and the horse is ready to go to work.

Before Polishing After Polishing

I shoe most of the horses under my care on a five week rotation. Clients are given the next appointment after each visit and called a week ahead of time as a reminder. It is important to keep your horse on a regular shoeing schedule because the feet are constantly growing out of balance. If clients have questions, concerns, or problems they are welcome to bring them to my attention.

Hot Fitting Hot Fitting
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