Horseshoe/Nail Questions

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Trimming

Lameness

Hoof Injuries

Horseshoes

Horse Shoeing

Hoof Angles

Record-keeping

Q: When should a countersunk nail be used and why? 

A: Countersunk nails are used whenever it is necessary for the head of the nail to lie flush with or below the surface of the shoe or pad.

Some specialty shoe manufactures recommend this technique in order to gain the proper fit for their shoes.

Certain brands and/or types of horseshoes require the use of what is called a countersunk nail (E-head style, for example), again in order to gain the proper fit.

It is extremely important that the correct nail for the type of shoe be used and fitted correctly otherwise the entire process may be compromised, resulting in the premature loss of a shoe.

Q: I have a racehorse with a blown suspensory, is there a shoe that I can forge to hold up the suspensory? with straps maybe?

 A: This is a case where it is extremely important for the owner, farrier and veterinarian to work together to develop a satisfactory plan to get the horse back on its feet.

The first thing is to determine the extent of the injury. Is it just a mild case of suspensory strain or more serious, involving possible injury to bones as well.

Your vet should be able to perform diagnostic tests to determine this. They also should be able to work with your farrier, or you, if you shoe your own horses, to suggest the type of support (shoe and/or brace) that offers the best chance for recovery.

While there are a number of shoes (a run down shoe, for example) and braces used to treat suspensory injuries, the exact construction will depend on the individual situation. I’m sorry I cannot be more specific, but it is impossible to suggest one over another without actually examining the horse and situation.

Examples of some specific horseshoes and surgical leg braces can be seen in the book, The Principles of Horseshoeing II, by Dr. Doug Butler. This is an excellent resource for anyone who owns a horse and/or works on horse’s feet.

Custom made orthopedic braces for horses: http://www.horsebrace.com/

Also here: http://www.nchorsenews.com/horse_brace.htm

I think it is great that you are able to forge your own shoes. Perhaps you could locate a farrier with experience treating this type of injury who would be willing to assist you in designing a shoe that fits your horse’s exact needs. The American Farrier’s Association has a find a farrier service: http://www.americanfarriers.org/find_a_farrier/index.php

I hope I’ve been able to help with your situation. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Best of luck to you and your horse.

Q: Please I want e.m for horse shoe nails making machine.

A: I am not sure if I understand exactly what information you are looking for, but here are a couple of Web sites that discuss machines for making horseshoe nails:
http://www.dorchesteratheneum.org/page.php?id=48
http://www.hartfordhistory.net/firsts.html

Q: What is the name of a blacksmith's block?

A: A Blacksmith's Swage Block is a metal block with holes or grooves in it to facilitate the shaping of metal objects.

More information on swage blocks can be found at the following website. http://www.fholder.com/Blacksmithing/swage.htm

Q: How are horseshoe nails sized for length?

A: Horseshoe nails come in a variety of sizes and shapes, all with the purpose of meeting the needs of a particular shoeing situation.

Here are a few Web sites that discuss the horseshoe nail and how it is sized. I think they should help answer your question.

http://www.mustad.se/somproen.htm

http://www.horseshoes.com/advice/nails/horseshoenails.htm

http://www.northvillehorseshoe.com/horse1.htm#mustad%20nails

Thanks for asking.

Q: What type of things did blacksmith's make?

A: Depending on the time period involved, I think it would be safe to say that blacksmith’s played a very crucial part in mankind’s advancement throughout the ages.

Here are a couple of Web sites that may prove helpful in answering your question.

http://www.appaltree.net/aba/history.htm

http://www.appaltree.net/aba/history2.htm

http://www.dsrotenstein.com/html/blacksmith_bib.htm

http://www.abana.org/ The Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America.

http://www.abana-chapter.com/ A list of chapters of the ABANA

Thank you for your question.

Q: How do you remove an old shoe and replace a new shoe from a horse?

A: Hello,

I commend you on wanting to become more involved with your horse’s hoof care program. The more you know and are able to do will be of great benefit to your horse.

However, one thing to always remember is that no matter how well-behaved your horse is, horse’s get distracted easily and kick even faster, so anytime you work around any horse’s feet, you have to be aware of the danger involved.

Before trying to remove or replace a horseshoe, you should seek out professional assistance. Most farriers are more than willing to help an owner learn how to remove a shoe. It not only takes the horse out of a potentially dangerous situation, but removing a loose or damaged shoe may  prevent further damage to the hoof thereby protecting it until the farrier can replace the shoe.

There is a very informative article on removing a horseshoe located at the following website. http://horsecare.stablemade.com/articles2/shoe_off.htm

You may also wish to check out the shoeing related books written for horse owners located at:

http://www.antelopepress.com/Blacksmith's%20Page.htm

And it wouldn't hurt to ask your farrier to show you how to pull a loose shoe the next time he or she is working on your horse.

As for nailing a shoe to a hoof, that process is something that requires professional hands-on instruction. The actual nailing part is the last step in a process that will determine the ability of your horse to remain sound on its feet.

Before a shoe is nailed on, the hoof must be trimmed. Trimming is probably the most important aspect of a hoof care program. Trim the hoof out of balance and you do a great disservice to the horse. Lameness can be immediate, or worse, develop over time in such a manner that it is possible to measurably shorten the life of the horse.

Your farrier should be a valuable source of information and be willing to help you in your quest to learn how to handle your horse’s hoof care. If you are looking for a farrier, then it’s possible that either of these professional organizations may be able to help you.

The American Farrier’s Association has a “Find a Farrier” service on their website at:

http://www.americanfarriers.org/find_a_farrier/state_results.php?state=34&Submit=Submit

The Brotherhood Of Working Farriers Association (BWFA) also has a referral service for horse owners looking for a farrier.

http://www.bwfa.net/

Most states have a state farrier association that is a wonderful resource for hoof care information. They may even be able to put you in contact with a farrier willing to provide some hands-on training for you.

Additionally, you may wish to explore the possibility of attending a horseshoeing school. Some will have courses specially designed for the horse owner who just wants to take care of their own horses and not become a full-time farrier.

The important thing is that you are interested in your horse’s hoof care and want to do the best for your horse. I think it is great and your horse is going to be the one benefiting from your interest. My suggestion is to find a farrier willing to help you learn how to safely remove a shoe and if you are serious about learning to trim and shoe your horse, schedule the time to attend a class that will teach you the techniques necessary to successfully trim and shoe your horse and manages all your horse’s hoof care needs.

Best of luck to you.

Q: What size nails should be used with a size 4 or size 5 draft horseshoe?

A: Hello,

I’ll have to say that the size nail to use is going to depend on the construction of the particular horseshoes in question as well as the condition of the horse’s hooves.

There is very little standardization in the manufacturing of horseshoes. For example, a quick look at a chart comparing shoes made by different companies shows  #5 draft shoes varying in size from 17 Ľ inches to 21 inches. In addition, this does not take into consideration those shoes made by independent farriers for sale through various farrier supply shops or shoes made from bar stock by a farrier for a particular horse.

As a general rule, you want to use a nail that will seat properly in the shoe while providing adequate strength to secure the shoe to the hoof for the allotted time frame yet causing as little damage (by the nail holes) to the hoof as possible.

Additionally, you also have to take into account the size and shape of the nail hole in the shoe. Not all shoes are punched to use the same kind or size of nail.

I believe that your question could best be answered by asking the folks selling the shoes as they will most likely be able to tell you exactly what nail is best suited for a particular brand of shoe in their inventory.

I’m sorry there is no pat answer to your question, but your farrier and/or farrier supply shop should be able to give you the proper advice.

Good luck with your big horses.

Q: Do horses need to wear shoes year round if they are not being worked?

A: Hi,

Thank you for your question.

Horses wear horseshoes for protection, correction and/or medical reasons.

Horses that are otherwise healthy only need to wear shoes if their activities are such that the horse will be lame without the additional protection and support that a shoe provides. Otherwise, the horse can be left barefoot.

That is the simple answer. A lot will depend on the condition of your horse’s feet, the ground conditions (wet, dry, hard, soft), climatic conditions (rain, snow, ice) and the amount and type of work expected of it.

Keeping in mind that no two horses react the same, you may wish to consult with other horse owners in the area and see how they handle the situation. In addition, your vet and farrier should be able to help you make this decision.

In the end, the horse will be the final arbitrator in this matter. If, at the end of the work season, you have the farrier pull and trim your horse to go barefoot, you will know fairly quickly if your horse is going to adapt to not wearing shoes.

In Southwestern Montana, for example, most of the horses go barefoot in the late fall or early winter before the snow begins to fall. The exception are those ranch horses that are ridden throughout the winter as well as some show horses that are able to continue their training using indoor facilities.

Going barefoot over winter, or any time for that matter, that shoes are not needed for the additional protection of the hoof, gives the hoof a chance to experience its natural state and usually proves beneficial to the horse. This is not to say that one can simply forget about the feet until it’s determined that shoes are once again needed or the horse goes back to work. A good hoof care program begins the first day the feet hit the ground and continues for the life of the horse.

I hope I’ve been able to provide you with some useful information that will help guide you to a successful solution.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Thanks.

Q: Is there a way to shoe a horse to reduce knee action?

A: Hello,

First, you will want to be sure the horse is receiving a well-balanced trim. In order to achieve as smooth a gait as possible, it all starts with the trim. I would not advocate trimming a horse off-balance to lessen its knee action.

Then it has to be acknowledged that not every two horses will react in the same manner when attempting to alter its way of going.

Two things come to mind when considering how to change a horse’s knee action; Hoof length and shoe weight.

Generally speaking a shorter hoof breaks over quickly and is raised slowly while a longer hoof breaks over slowly but is raised quickly and as a result, folds higher (more knee action) than a shorter hoof.

Consequently, you may wish to keep a shoeing record that will allow you to determine the ideal length that your horse’s hooves need to be at in order to produce the least amount of knee action. An example of such a shoeing record that I designed can be found at: http://www.antelopepress.com/horseshoe_record_book.htm. If you take the measurement at the time of the trimming, you can take subsequent measurements as you notice a change in the flight pattern of the leg and hoof.

Once you have established the ideal length, you can adjust your farrier schedule to keep the horse’s hoof within the optimum range.

Another consideration is the weight and to a certain degree, the type of the shoe being used.

Weight increases momentum, thereby resulting in a faster, higher reaching and longer flight path (arc) than a lesser-weighted hoof.

Steel shoes come in various weights; standard, light (Lite) and extra-light (Ultra-Lite) and these weights may vary considerably between manufacturers. Your farrier should be able to help you locate and decide upon the shoe best suited to your purpose.

An Internet search for the term “Horseshoes” will bring up a number of horseshoe manufacturers, most which should have a weight chart available for comparison between the types of shoes.

Aluminum shoes are available that weigh considerably less than steel, however, they will most likely wear faster than a steel shoe.

One thing to keep in mind is that while you may be able to find the right combination of hoof length and shoe weight to achieve the desired results, it may take a bit of trial and error on your part and that of your farrier in order to reach your goal. Patience and sound judgment is paramount in finding the right balance for the job without sacrificing the safety, soundness or balanced condition of the horse.

Additionally, one must be aware of the rules governing lengths and/or shoe weights as they pertain to a particular show classification.

It should also be noted, that while trimming and shoeing can have a profound effect on a horse’s way of going, it is equally important to realize that training plays a very important part in the equation and one without the other will most likely result in an incomplete or unsatisfactory condition all around.

I hope this helps you in the development of a program to reduce the knee action of your horse. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance. Thank you.

Q: What alternatives are there to horseshoes?

A: Hello. 

The very first alternative to horseshoes is of course, barefoot.

However, assuming you have considered this option and find that your horse needs additional protection for his feet, then you will find there are a number of alternatives available to you in the form of slip-on or glue-on boots and shoes.

Here are a few web pages that have information about various alternatives to nail-on shoes in the form of slip-on shoe/boots.

http://www.equineperformanceproducts.com/easyboot.htm
http://www.swisshorseboot.de/com/html4/index.html

http://www.davismanufacturing.com/products/barrier_boot.html

Here are a few web sites that refer to glu-on type shoes.

http://www.cottamhorseshoes.com/plastic_glue_on_horseshoes.htm
http://www.horseshoes.com/supplies/alphabet/georgiafarriersupply/en-us/dept_154.html

I hope these sites will give you a starting point in your search for an alternative to nail-on horseshoes. Your farrier should be able to help you in determining which one will suit your particular situation best.

Good luck and feel free to contact me if I can be of further help.

Thank you.

Q: How does the blacksmith know where to put the nail in the horse's shoe so that it does not hurt the horse's foot?

A: Hi. This a very good question. As one can imagine, hammering nails into the bottom of a horse’s foot can be extremely dangerous both for the horse as well as for the person doing the hammering.

Knowing where to place a nail and how to make it come out of the side of the hoof exactly where it is supposed to requires training, practice and skill.

There is literally a very fine line where a horseshoe nail can be driven that will not harm the horse and yet, will provide the necessary strength to keep the shoe on the hoof for its allotted time period.

You cannot just stick a nail into the hole and hammer away. It does not work that way.

No matter how easy your farrier makes it look, it takes a great deal of skill and practice to be able to hammer a horseshoe nail in such a way to be able to determine exactly where it will exit the side of the hoof wall and not hurt the horse.

Every time a farrier places a nail in a hole in a horseshoe, he or she will more than likely use sight, feel or sound (or any combination thereof) to be sure that when driven, the nail will not hurt the horse, and will exit the hoof wall exactly where the farrier wants it to.

Most keg shoes, those manufactured and sold in stores, come with nail holes already punched in them. These are set at an angle that assists in the placement of the nail; however, it is up to the farrier to make the final placement of the nail, the actual “aiming” if you will, before it is hammered into the hoof.

Handforged shoes allow the blacksmith to set the angle of the nail hole to the angle best suited for the horse at hand.

Horseshoe nails themselves are designed for the sole purpose of attaching horseshoes to horse’s feet. They have a bevel at the point that helps direct the nail out of the hoof wall at the location chosen by the farrier. They come in various shapes and sizes allowing the farrier to choose the best nail suited for the hoof itself as well as the shoe to be fitted to the horse.

Here is a webpage that has additional information concerning your question.

http://www.horseshoes.com/advice/nails/horseshoenails.htm

If you would like more information about horseshoeing, you might contact horse owners in your area and see if they would let you observe the next time they have their farrier over.

 You may also wish to check out the American Farrier’s Association at: http://www.americanfarriers.org/ to find a farrier or farrier school near you.

In the final analysis, the farrier determines the placement of the nail using his or her training, experience and judgment before ever striking the nail with a hammer. It is a precision skill that comes with training and experience.

Thank you for your question

Q: How many times do my horses shoes need to be changed?

A: Hello,

The simple answer is whenever his feet need trimming and/or the shoes have worn out.

However, even that is not as simple as it sounds. Unless you are comfortable trimming and shoeing your own horse, you will most likely use the services of a farrier in developing a hoof care program that will allow you to maintain your horse’s feet in a healthy manner.

The time between “changing” horseshoes varies from horse to horse. And, it usually, but not always, has more to do with the growth rate of the hoof, than the actual wearing out of the horseshoe itself.

Racehorses for example, during the racing season, are usually shod far more often than a typical pleasure horse over the same time period.

The average schedule for most pleasure and show horses, fits somewhere between six and eight weeks. Horses grow hoof at different rates. Some contributing factors include the age of the horse, the quality of its feed, the amount of exercise it receives and climatic changes.

 It is necessary to keep a horse’s feet trimmed within its comfortable operating range. Allowing a horse’s feet to go too long between trimmings most often results in the hoof becoming unbalanced and creating a hazardous condition both to the horse and for the rider.

A simple way to keep track of when your horse needs to have its feet trimmed and re-shod if necessary is to keep a shoeing record. This will allow you, the horse owner to know when your last farrier appointment was, when the next one is scheduled as well as the information about how your horse’s feet are to be trimmed in order to keep it sound.

One of the most important considerations of any hoof care program concerns consistency.

A horse needs to have its feet taking care of for its entire life. In order to provide the best care which will contribute to a long and healthy life, its feet need to be trimmed regularly and once the correct lengths and corresponding hoof angles have been established, you want the feet trimmed the same way every time.

The easiest way to confirm this is happening is to be able to personally check your horse’s feet after they have been trimmed to verify they have been trimmed correctly. Your maintaining a shoeing record will allow you to do this as well as help you manage all aspects of your hoof care program.

I hope I have been able to answer your question in a satisfactory way. If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me again, anytime.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you with your question.

Q: Is it ok to reuse the same shoe you just took off?

Reusing an old horseshoe depends on a couple of things. First, your farrier may have his or her own particular thoughts on the matter. If you are using a farrier rather than shoeing your own horses, I would suggest you ask your farrier for their policy as well as have them explain the reasons for their decision.

Next, the condition of the shoe itself has to be taken into consideration. If it is worn to the point that there are definite wear patterns established that could influence the flight and stability of the hoof structure, then you would not want to reuse the shoe.

In addition, the condition of the nail holes should be checked to be sure that they have not worn to the point that they will no longer allow for the proper seating of the new nails. Improperly set nails can lead to premature loss of the shoe, resulting in possible damage to the hoof.

From a farrier point of view, unless the shoe shows no sign of wear or is being used for therapeutic or corrective purposes and is still able to perform its intended function, I prefer to use a new shoe at each shoeing for all of the reasons listed above.

The cost of the shoe itself represents a very small portion of the actual cost of the job. It takes as much time to clean and prepare a used shoe for resetting as it does to shape a new shoe. Using a new shoe each time ensures the horse is getting the best possible fitting shoe, one with properly set nails that the farrier can apply, while giving the horse the best opportunity for keeping the shoes on until the next shoeing appointment.

However, if the shoes are not worn and the nail holes appear capable of holding a nail, then it is possible to reuse a set of shoes. At this point you will find that some farriers will offer a small discount for using the old shoes, while others charge the same because in the amount of time it takes to prepare an old shoe, the farrier can most likely shape and apply a new shoe.

This is a decision you and the farrier need to discuss as part of your becoming more familiar with your horse’s hoof care program.

This is a good question and I thank you for asking for my opinion.

Good luck and happy trails.

Q: How often do you have to change your horses' horseshoe, or does it depend?

A: Hello. Thank you for the question.

The time between “changing” horseshoes varies from horse to horse. And, it usually, but not always, has more to do with the growth rate of the hoof, than the actual wearing out of the horseshoe itself.

Racehorses for example, during the racing season, are usually shod far more often than a typical pleasure horse over the same time period.

The average schedule for most pleasure and show horses, fits somewhere between six and eight weeks. Horses grow hoof at different rates. Some contributing factors include the age of the horse, the quality of its feed, the amount of exercise it receives and climatic changes.

 It is necessary to keep a horse’s feet trimmed within its comfortable operating range. Allowing a horse’s feet to go too long between trimmings most often results in the hoof becoming unbalanced and creating a hazardous condition both to the horse and for the rider.

A simple way to keep track of when your horse needs to have its feet trimmed and re-shod if necessary is to keep a shoeing record. This will allow you, the horse owner to know when your last farrier appointment was, when the next one is scheduled as well as the information about how your horse’s feet are to be trimmed in order to keep it sound.

One of the most important considerations of any hoof care program concerns consistency.

A horse needs to have its feet taking care of for its entire life. In order to provide the best care which will contribute to a long and healthy life, its feet need to be trimmed regularly and once the correct lengths and corresponding hoof angles have been established, you want the feet trimmed the same way every time.

The easiest way to confirm this is happening is to be able to personally check your horse’s feet after they have been trimmed to verify they have been trimmed correctly. Your maintaining a shoeing record will allow you to do this as well as help you manage all aspects of your hoof care program.

As to the actual horseshoe and when to replace it, this also has a “depends” attached to it. I would suggest replacing the shoes at every trimming. The exceptions would be for special corrective shoeing considerations and those cases where there is no sign of wear to the ground surface of the horseshoe.

First and foremost, a new show eliminates the possibility of a shoe with a heavy wear pattern aggravating or intensifying an anomaly in the flight pattern of the leg and foot. I think it takes as much time to shape a new shoe as it does to properly prepare an old shoe to be nailed back on the hoof. With an old shoe, in addition to the wear pattern, you have to consider the condition of the nail holes and whether or not they will still allow for the proper seating of the nails.

Farriers have different opinions as to this and pretty much all aspects of their work. The ideal situation is for the horse owner to locate a farrier that they trust. This includes a willingness to keep the owner informed as well as being willing to listen to the owner and explain the what, how and why they are trimming a hoof in a certain way and most importantly, keeping the horse sound and on its feet.

If you would like to see an example of a shoeing record please follow this link:

http://www.antelopepress.com/horseshoe_record_book.htm

 I hope this helps answer your question. Please feel free to contact me if I you have any others. 

Thanks again.

Q: should my stallion have his front shoes tooken of for season(?)

A: I have found that in most situations, stallions do in fact have their shoes removed before a breeding session. Of course, as there are usually exceptions to every rule, you should consider the needs of your horse as well as the safety of the mares to be bred.

Here are a couple of books that you may find helpful. You might be able to find or request these books from your local library or bookstore. They are also available online.

Modern Horse Breeding: A Guide for Owners by Susan McBane (Author)

Storey's Guide to Raising Horses: Breeding/Care/Facilities by Heather Smith Thomas

Best of luck to you.

Q: Why do horses wear shoes?

A: Horses wear horseshoes for protection, correction and/or medical reasons.

Horses that are otherwise healthy only need to wear shoes if their activities are such that the horse will be lame without the additional protection and support that a shoe provides. Otherwise, the horse can be left barefoot.

For more information about horse owners and horseshoeing, you are invited to check out the Suggested Reading at: http://www.antelopepress.com/Blacksmith's%20Page.htm

Another website with a great deal of useful information concerning all aspects of horses and horseshoeing is: http://www.horseshoes.com/ 

If your horse is able to do what you ask it to do, without shoes and without injury, then by all means go barefoot. This is its natural state.

However, bear in mind that the main reason for horseshoes is to provide additional protection for the horse so it can do things that otherwise would render it lame.

For a long time the conventional wisdom was that all horses had to wear horseshoes. If you wanted to be a good horse owner … you put shoes on your horse. It didn’t matter if the horse was ridden once a day, every day or only once a year. Well cared for horses wore horseshoes … period.

Today we recognize that this is simply not true. Barefoot horses compete in just about every venue imaginable. With the advent of glue-on and slip-on shoes and boots, the horse owner has a number of options if the need for temporary extra hoof protection arises. Once the extra hoof protection is no longer needed, you remove it and the horse goes back to being barefoot.

However, there are circumstances where these temporary devices are not practical and/or the horse owner feels that having the horse fitted for horseshoes is necessary in order to insure the safety and comfort of the horse and rider.

This is not a bad thing. The vast majority of shod horses have worn shoes for some, if not most of their lives, without suffering any untoward consequences.

Today there are large numbers of horses living more comfortable and productive lives solely because of corrective shoeing.

Shoes or no shoes …either way, your primary concern should be the comfort and safety of your horse. You have to remember that each horse and situation is different. What works for one may not work for another.

You should discuss this with your farrier. He or she will be able to give you the benefit of their experience while your input as to what you expect of your horse will allow the two of you to formulate a workable hoof care program.

Q: I have a 5 yr. Old Paint gelding that had moderate lameness for almost one year. After x-rays, nerve blocks, etc., we found out he is Navicular and has a fractured coffin bone. We had a neurectomy done on the foot with the fracture, now how would you suggest we shoe him?

A: I’m sorry to hear of the problems you are having with your horse.

 It would appear that you have been very diligent in your determination to discover the cause of your horse’s discomfort and are applying equal effort in your quest to resolve the situation.

In the situation as you have described it, I would advise that any shoeing program for your horse should be a concerted effort between you, your veterinarian and whoever takes care of your horse’s feet. If that is you – great – otherwise your farrier. 

In order to determine what type of shoe to use in a situation as you described, consideration of the location and severity of the injury (s) along with any possible collateral damage to the surrounding structures will need to be considered during the shoe selection process. 

Moreover, along with the fracture, you have the Navicular problem to consider. This is another reason to bring your vet and farrier together so you all can develop a plan encompassing both the immediate needs as well as a long term program to ensure a continuous method of trimming and shoeing that will provide the maximum benefits to your horse. 

As for the particular type of shoe to recommend, there are a number that you may wish to consider. I’ll mention a few and your farrier and veterinarian will probably have some suggestions of their own. Additionally, I’ve listed a few links to online web pages that contain some very interesting information regarding your question concerning possible shoe selections. 

There are a number of options available in your choice of shoes including, but not limited to: bar shoes, bar shoes with a forged rim, with or without clips, a bar shoe with a “Hospital Plate and possibly a combination of any of these with or without pads.” Additionally, with the Navicular problems, your farrier may wish to incorporate parts of one type of shoe with another in order to alleviate stress and pressure associated with one or both of the conditions you described. 

The Equine Digit Support System, http://www.hopeforsoundness.com/edss/store/lameprod.html, is worth a look for the information they provide, as well as the support they offer to horse owners and Farriers. Their aluminum 'P3 fracture plates’ are discussed in these articles:

 http://www.horseshoes.com/prdsrvbb/hhhhhh/messages/1326.htm 

http://www.horseshoes.com/prdsrvbb/hhhhhh/messages/3174.htm 

An article discussing the treatment of coffin bone fractures can be read here: http://www.xcodesign.com/aaep/displayArticles.cfm?ID=73

And an article aboutShoeing Support for Fracture Surgery” can be read here:
http://www.hoofcare.com/archives/surgery_support.html.

I hope that this information will allow you to add a few additional possibilities to your options list while you work through this very troubling situation. 

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Thank you for your question.

Q: What are  horseshoes for?

A: Horses wear horseshoes for protection, correction and/or medical reasons.

Horses that are otherwise healthy only need to wear shoes if their activities are such that the horse will be lame without the additional protection and support that a shoe provides.  Otherwise, the horse can be left barefoot.

For more information about horse owners and horseshoeing, you are invited to check out the Suggested Reading at: http://www.antelopepress.com/Blacksmith's%20Page.htm

Another website with a great deal of useful information concerning all aspects of horses and horseshoeing is: http://www.horseshoes.com/ 

I hope this answers you question satisfactorily. If you would like more information, I’ll be happy to see if I can locate additional reading material for you.

Q: What type of shoeing is best for a horse with a right rear suspensory injury?

A: The type, location and specific parts of the anatomy involved in the injury will each have a definite impact in the formulation of a plan, including horseshoes, necessary for the recovery of your horse.

Shoes that may be applicable for this type of injury include extended egg bar shoes, Patten bar shoes, swelled heel shoes, wedge pads and/or bar wedge pads in conjunction with a horseshoe. Additionally, a surgical leg brace that would be designed dependant upon the extent and location of the injury may be used in treating certain injuries.

It is important to consult with your veterinarian and farrier in order to determine exactly what the best course of action will be regarding any suspected suspensory injury.

Here is an article on Suspensory Desmitis. Paragraph #4 deals with types of shoes specific to the hind feet.

http://www.horseshoes.com/anatomy/esad/articles/tendoninjuries3/tendoninjuries3.htm

A search on Google using the terms suspensory injuries displays a number of sites and articles relating to suspensory injuries.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=suspensory+injuries

http://www.theequinejournal.com/Resources/issue37/suspensoryart.html

I wish you the best of luck in the speedy recovery of your horse. Please let me know if I can be of further service.

Q: I have a horse with chronic founder. It hurts him to nail on the front shoes. I would prefer to use a glue on shoe but can't find a supplier anywhere that has a 000 kit size. Do you have any ideas where to look?

A: I would suggest giving either one or both of these Farrier Supply shops a call and see if they have a glue-on shoe that will fit your horse. It appears they offer glue-on shoes in a variety of sizes and they do mention the smaller feet.

You might wish to have the exact hoof measurements of both feet handy before you call as there is sometimes a discrepancy in the way manufacturers assign sizes.

You may have already considered this, but in case you haven't, you may wish to consider a slip-on shoe instead. They are easier to remove than a glue-on shoe which is handy if you need to treat the hoof for any reason.

NC Tool Company:
Toll Free: 1-800-446-6498
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm Eastern
6133 Hunt Road
Pleasant Garden, NC 27313
(336) 674-5654
Fax (336) 674-9991
http://www.nctoolco.com/

Centaur Forge
Toll Free: 800-666-9175
Phone: 262-763-9175 Fax: 262-763-8350 
Address: 117 N. Spring Street, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105
http://www.centaurforge.com/horseshoes-glue-on.html

Here is an article on Mustad's Gluon shoes.
http://www.cottamhorseshoes.com/plastic_glue_on_horseshoes.htm

 

Both of these suppliers are great to work with and should be able to help you find a set of shoes for your horse. Let me know if they are not able to help and I'll see if I can find another supplier.

Q: What is the purpose of horseshoes?

A: Horses wear horseshoes for protection, correction and/or medical reasons.

Horses that are otherwise healthy only need to wear shoes if their activities are such that the horse will be lame without the additional protection and support that a shoe provides.  Otherwise, the horse can be left barefoot.

For more information about horse owners and horseshoeing, you are invited to check out the Suggested Reading at: http://www.antelopepress.com/Blacksmith's%20Page.htm

Another website with a great deal of useful information concerning all aspects of horses and horseshoeing is: http://www.horseshoes.com/ 

I hope this answers you question satisfactorily. If you would like more information, I’ll be happy to see if I can locate additional reading material for you.

Q: How do I remove a loose horseshoe(?)

A: There is a very informative article on removing a horseshoe located at the following website. http://horsecare.stablemade.com/articles2/shoe_off.htm

You may also wish to check out the shoeing related books written for horse owners located at:

http://www.antelopepress.com/Blacksmith's%20Page.htm

And it wouldn't hurt to ask your farrier to show you how to pull a loose shoe the next time he or she is working on your horse.

It is also possible there is a farrier school located nearby that offers a course for horse owners that would be beneficial to attend.

There are also a couple of books written for the horse owner you might wish to check out at:

http://www.antelopepress.com/Blacksmith's%20Page.htm

Thank you for your question.

Q: Why do horses need shoes?

A: Horses wear shoes for protection, correction and/or medical reasons.

Horses that are otherwise healthy only need to wear shoes if their activities are such that the horse will be lame without the additional protection and support that a shoe provides. 

For more information about horses and horseshoeing, you are invited to check out the books at the bottom of the page at: http://www.antelopepress.com/Blacksmith's%20Page.htm

Another website with a great deal of useful information concerning all aspects of horses and horseshoeing is: http://www.horseshoes.com/ 

I hope this answers you question satisfactorily. If you would like more information, I’ll be happy to see if I can locate additional reading material for you. 

Thank you.

Q: How many times do horse shoes have to be changed?

A: Horseshoes are put on a horse for a particular reason or reasons. It may be for a medical reason, corrective shoeing or because of the work and/or work surfaces the horse is going to be asked to traverse

There is no need or benefit to be derived from shoeing a horse simply because everyone else does. If your horse can comfortably and safely perform the work asked of it, without shoes, then shoeing the horse serves no useful purpose.

That being said, how often a set of horseshoes needs to be replaced depends upon the individual circumstances involved. The average time between trimming a horse's hooves is generally somewhere around six (6) to eight (8) weeks. At this time, both you and the farrier will be able to look at the horseshoes and decide if they need to be replaced.

You will need to take into consideration the reason for the horse to be shod in the first place. Perhaps the conditions requiring the shoeing of your horse have changed and you won't need to have it shod at this time.

If the need for shoes still exists, then a decision needs to be made concerning reusing the old shoes or replacing them with new ones.

A main reason for not reusing old shoes is that after being on an active horse's hoof for any length of time, there will be a wear pattern established on the ground surface of the shoe caused by the shoe's contact with the ground. This "worn" area of the shoe can and will aggravate any imperfection in the travel pattern of the leg and hoof. 

It is for this reason that most farriers will replace old shoes with new, even if there does not appear to be that much wear on the shoe and even if the horse has not had much use since the shoes were put on the horse. Irregularities in the way a horse's leg and hoof travel will be greatly exaggerated by even a slightly worn horseshoe. This can lead to degradation of muscle, bone, joints, cartilage and tendons. Definitely not something you want to encourage.

If the reason for the shoes is medical or corrective, then it may be possible to re-set a shoe or shoes, rather than replace it as long as it has not worn to the point of interfering with the travel of the leg and hoof.

As with most things concerning horses, there is no simple answer to this question that can be made without actually being in the company of the horse. Horses grow hoof at different rates and this, too, has  a major impact on how often a horse's feet need to be trimmed.

A record of your farrier appointments will help remind you when it is time for your horse's feet to be trimmed. Knowing exactly how your horse's feet have been set up will allow you to be certain that it is being trimmed the same way each time. A written record provides you with the comfort of knowing that you can show any farrier exactly how you want your horse set up, thereby giving it the opportunity to perform at its best and in a manner most beneficial to itself and to you, the rider.

An example of a very simple, inexpensive shoeing record book can be seen by clicking on the following link: Personal One Year Shoeing Record.

The question of when to replace horseshoes is a very relevant one and one that you should discuss with your farrier.

Thank you for asking this question and please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions concerning your hoof care program.

Q: How many times do horse shoes have to be changed?

A: Horseshoes are put on a horse for a particular reason or reasons. It may be for a medical reason, corrective shoeing or because of the work and/or work surfaces the horse is going to be asked to traverse

There is no need or benefit to be derived from shoeing a horse simply because everyone else does. If your horse can comfortably and safely perform the work asked of it, without shoes, then shoeing the horse serves no useful purpose.

That being said, how often a set of horseshoes needs to be replaced depends upon the individual circumstances involved. The average time between trimming a horse's hooves is generally somewhere around six (6) to eight (8) weeks. At this time, both you and the farrier will be able to look at the horseshoes and decide if they need to be replaced.

You will need to take into consideration the reason for the horse to be shod in the first place. Perhaps the conditions requiring the shoeing of your horse have changed and you won't need to have it shod at this time.

If the need for shoes still exists, then a decision needs to be made concerning reusing the old shoes or replacing them with new ones.

A main reason for not reusing old shoes is that after being on an active horse's hoof for any length of time, there will be a wear pattern established on the ground surface of the shoe caused by the shoe's contact with the ground. This "worn" area of the shoe can and will aggravate any imperfection in the travel pattern of the leg and hoof. 

It is for this reason that most farriers will replace old shoes with new, even if there does not appear to be that much wear on the shoe and even if the horse has not had much use since the shoes were put on the horse. Irregularities in the way a horse's leg and hoof travel will be greatly exaggerated by even a slightly worn horseshoe. This can lead to degradation of muscle, bone, joints, cartilage and tendons. Definitely not something you want to encourage.

If the reason for the shoes is medical or corrective, then it may be possible to re-set a shoe or shoes, rather than replace it as long as it has not worn to the point of interfering with the travel of the leg and hoof.

As with most things concerning horses, there is no simple answer to this question that can be made without actually being in the company of the horse. Horses grow hoof at different rates and this, too, has  a major impact on how often a horse's feet need to be trimmed.

A record of your farrier appointments will help remind you when it is time for your horse's feet to be trimmed. Knowing exactly how your horse's feet have been set up will allow you to be certain that it is being trimmed the same way each time. A written record provides you with the comfort of knowing that you can show any farrier exactly how you want your horse set up, thereby giving it the opportunity to perform at its best and in a manner most beneficial to itself and to you, the rider.

An example of a very simple, inexpensive shoeing record book can be seen by clicking on the following link: Personal One Year Shoeing Record.

The question of when to replace horseshoes is a very relevant one and one that you should discuss with your farrier.

Thank you for asking this question and please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions concerning your hoof care program.

Q: Do I need to put horseshoes on my horse or can he go barefoot?

A: If your horse is able to do what you ask it to do, without shoes and without injury, then by all means go barefoot. This is its natural state.

However, bear in mind that the main reason for horseshoes is to provide additional protection for the horse so it can do things that otherwise would render it lame.

For a long time the conventional wisdom was that all horses had to wear horseshoes. If you wanted to be a good horse owner … you put shoes on your horse. It didn’t matter if the horse was ridden once a day, every day or only once a year. Well cared for horses wore horseshoes … period.

Today we recognize that this is simply not true. Barefoot horses compete in just about every venue imaginable. With the advent of glue-on and slip-on shoes and boots, the horse owner has a number of options if the need for temporary extra hoof protection arises. Once the extra hoof protection is no longer needed, you remove it and the horse goes back to being barefoot.

However, there are circumstances where these temporary devices are not practical and/or the horse owner feels that having the horse fitted for horseshoes is necessary in order to insure the safety and comfort of the horse and rider.

This is not a bad thing. The vast majority of shod horses have worn shoes for some, if not most of their lives, without suffering any untoward consequences.

Today there are large numbers of horses living more comfortable and productive lives solely because of corrective shoeing.

Shoes or no shoes …either way, your primary concern should be the comfort and safety of your horse. You have to remember that each horse and situation is different. What works for one may not work for another.

You should discuss this with your farrier. He or she will be able to give you the benefit of their experience while your input as to what you expect of your horse will allow the two of you to formulate a workable hoof care program.

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