Preparing for your Farriers

Preparing for your Farriers

Leslie Batistich1 comment
The horse’s foot is completely surrounded by a substance similar to your fingernail to protect it against having to sustain the wear and tear of having to carry one quarter of your horse’s weight over the varying terrain you may be riding him over. A horse’s foot consists of an outer layer of horn (hoof), inside which is contained the pedal and navicular bones, and the deep digital flexor tendon which is attached to the pedal bone.
The foot also contains the digital pad, lateral cartilages, coronopedal joint, blood vessels, and nerves. The foot as a whole absorbs concussion and by its continuous growth, it is able to replace its striking surface which is lost through everyday wear and tear. As a horse owner, you can help assist your horse in this latter process by choosing the right farrier for your particular horse’s needs. Farriery is one of the most vital of all the professions connected to the horse. If there were no farriers, the entire horse world would just about come to a stop; except for a few fortunate individuals lucky enough to be able to ride always and exclusively on grass, or in an arena completely void of rocks.
Even these folks would find it difficult to keep their mounts sound and true if there were no one to trim, shape, and generally care for their pony’s feet. The best way that I have found to increase my own knowledge of my horse’s feet is to watch my farrier shoe my horses. It will also be to your advantage to pay attention, and actively participate when your farrier comes out. Here are a few things that I always try to do to help out to make the whole process easier. I always let my farrier know in advance if I am going to have any special shoeing needs, or if I have a youngster that is going to be shod for the first time. Horses being shod for the first time should be used to having their feet picked out and be familiar with having the wall and sole of their foot tapped. You should ALWAYS present your horses for shoeing with clean, dry feet and legs. And always provide the farrier with a well lit area, and dry solid footing; undercover if possible. The first time the farrier shoes your horse, let him know how your horse is going and what discipline you use him for: trail, cutting, endurance etc. Assuming the horse is already shod, he will look at the wear of the shoes and the growth of the hoof to determine wear and growth patterns. With your help, the farrier will then determine whether your horse has any problems such as overreaching, stumbling, dragging its toes etc. If such problems are discovered, your farrier will discuss alternative shoeing solutions with you. The above ideas will help you and your farrier develop a relationship that will benefit you both, and more importantly, benefit your horse.  

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Performance Horse Shoeing Tips

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No matter what kind of performance horse you might happen to have, cutting, reining, roping, or pleasure, one thing is a constant fact: your horse must be in balance with his body to perform at his optimal level. It is your farrier’s job to trim and shoe your horse to allow for optimal balance. 

I have been lucky with my reining cow horse, Smoke ‘em. He has never needed any corrective shoeing. I simply have my farrier trim him flat and level based on the conformation of each of his legs. I have his feet trimmed short to ensure that he moves naturally. Horses with toes that are too long or heels that are too high do not stride naturally and do not look pretty to the judges. Eventually, excessively long feet cause problems that may require correction and even rehabilitation down the road. You can compare this problem to the human athlete. If a runner wore shoes one size too small, or too large, for even one training session he would feel a lot more stress and strain in the legs than with shoes which fit properly. The same is true for your horse. The most important factor in the shoeing of your performance horse is to have him land level on the ground, You can notice this by observing your horse move at a walk. View him from the front and from the side. Does the inside or the outside of the shoe hit the ground first? Or, does he put the entire hoof down level? If his walk is level, he will most likely lope and trot level also. And, most importantly for cow horses, he will stop level also. If he does not land perfectly level his timing (and yours) will be off. This problem will only get worse as you work him at a quicker pace. Remember, all foot and leg problems intensify as the horse moves faster. The best way to make decisions about your performance horse’s shoeing needs is to watch him move from the ground, and learn to listen to your seat. If you have any tips on shoeing the performance horse please post them here and share your experience.

 

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Founder and Naviculer Help

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Just a few lines to tell how these shoes and pour pads have helped me help a lot of horses. I've been using HOOF-it plastic shoes and medicated pour pads at the Bhighterdays Horse Refugee in Pipe Creek Texas on 2 very laminatic horses. The horses are no longer laying down all the time and are starting to grow good horn. These horses were shod in 8mm HippoPlast wedges and saw almost imediate improvement. Now we are presented with a horse that is pre naviculer this with 3 xrays and no diognostic blocks. I go over the horse real good and determane the feet are very dry and contracted... again Hippoplast 8mm wedges and soak the feet. This horse is in the high dessert of New Mexico. Three days latter the folks are poneying colts on him... 6 weeks later the foot has opened up so much that the old shoes are to small and we go to flat shoes. Bill Mc Donald BWFA Farrier

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Plastic Horseshoes

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I began using plastic shoes on my draft horse that kicked himself in the side of the foot as his confirmation was base narrow and because of the weight of a steel shoe. In looking for alternatives to protect him from brushing, I found HOOF-it horseshoes in draft size and tried them.   I noticed so much growth in his feet and that he was so much more comfortable , moving more fluid, and yes he stopped brushing and injuring his hind leg. I began to try them on my cross country and event horses and haven't gone back to steel since. The plastic shoes contribute to increased hoof growth. This gives the farrier more hoof to work with if the horse needs correction in his hoof.  The shoe flexes, this creates more circulation in the foot and a healthier foot. The shoe flexes and this protects pasture mates form injury of serious kicks from steel shoes, but protects the using horse from hard surface or stone bruises. I've had one thoroughbred with under-run heels for ten years. With plastic shoes and my certified farrier's expertise in trimming and setting the shoe, he has grown upright heel for the first tine in 10 years! I love plastic horse shoes. People ask if there wear as well as steel. I actually had them re set three times on my draft horse. He weighs about 2500lbs. We were doing trail rides and arena work with him. I think they wear better than steel. Thank you Hoof-It! Christine Amber, owner/trainer www.equestriantraining.com

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HOOF-it Glue On Horseshoes

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Somken Up Lee (Smoke) is a 22 year old own son of Mr. Gunsmoke who has had careers in cutting, jumping and now dressage. He's been way above average in all three sports, and though he's proven himself to be "golden", he does have one problem... he does have BAD FEET. They are thin and shelly, and after a full summer and fall of competition, his feet are so broken up my shoer has to be quite clever to even find a place to put nails to hold a shoe on.   Enter the glue shoe and HOOF-it!! My vet, shoer, and I felt he needed to go barefoot for the winter, but being very flat footed and tender without shoes he couldn't be ridden. We decided to try a glue shoe and keep ridding. It was suggested that I have Steve Samet take over as he did most with the glue shoe in my area. To make a long story short... Steve has found a way to help keep glue shoes on. HOOF-it is an incredible product for helping in many situations, this being one. He brushed HOOF-it over the glue shoe, thus helping hold the shoe on, and in doing so he stabilized the whole hoof capsule, gave the foot lots of support, and Smoke traveled and performed well... he was one happy camper, as was I. Now going to summer, we have a healthy, not so toey foot that should hold a shoe until winter when I certainly will use HOOF-it and glue shoes once again. Many thanks to HOOF-it, Steve and Sean for their help!!!

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HOOF-it helps a horse with a Quarter Crack

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I am writing this letter to inform you how happy and grateful I am with HOOF-it Hoof Repair. My horse suffered a serious quarter crack on both front feet. With the excellent assistance of Steve Samet and HOOF-it my horse immediately became sound. I appreciate how it easy the product is to use. Thanks again. Sincerely, Stephanie Zolkowski

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Hoof Repair

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I watched your product being demonstrated at Equitana in Louisville, Kentucky a few weeks ago, not realizing I would be in need of it. But as fate would have it, my horse pulled a front shoe and the farrier had to patch it with a product he uses. It only stayed on one day! As luck would have it, a friend had bought your HOOF-it product at Equitana. I tried it and was amazed at the ease of application and durability. It has stayed on and I am delighted with the results. Gail Shelbyville, KY

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Fitting a HOOF-it Natural Flex Plastic Horseshoe

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Question: I'm ordering my second set of shoes. I was hoping your shoes would encourage hoof growth and expand my horses feet. Well good news it seems to be working. Why do I sound surprised because I've tried all kinds of supplements,... well nothing really seemed to be all that effective. The only thing that seemed to make a difference was pulling my horses shoes and turning him out with a horse that really kept him moving for the winter. (no shoes & exercise) My only concern as I'm looking at the shoes that were pulled off, it appears my horses weight on the outside of the shoe pushed up the inside of the shoe. I see that the shoe was rasped round on the outside edges so as his foot expanded he was on the very very edge that did not have shoe under touching the ground. On his fore feet off and over the inside edge. I'm sure as my farrier gets more accustom to these shoes he will make adjustments. Also he though his standard clincher was a bit awkward. He wanted me to ask if he should be using a special one made for your shoes?  Thank you very much, Leigh Cahill Answer: Dear Leigh, Have your farrier leave as much expansion room around the heels as he feels comfortable with. I usually leave 1/4 inch or a little less. With the shoe being flexible if a horse steps on the edge 90% of the time the shoe just flexes back into place. The extra expansion room will ensure that you get a reset if the shoe isn't to worn. I use regular clinchers and try to get my nails a little higher than I would with a steel shoe. There are times when I use to punch the nail heads down with my clinch cutter but I seldom do that anymore.

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Horse with Low Heel Problems

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I purchased a set of HOOF-it horseshoes for my Peruvian mare (age 19) that has had a problem growing heels and does not do well with steel shoes. I put the shoes on in April and pulled them off in February. That set of shoes went through four resets before they wore out. The mare was taken on several mountain type trail rides as well as being ridden on the paved urban trail quite frequently during the summer and fall. The paved trail does give a way to dirt after the first 1/4 miles, so she wasn't on the pavement all the time. When the rain set in, she was worked in a covered dirt arena. My farrier was amazed with the heel the mare grew and I was amazed at how long the shoes lasted. I have used other composite shoes in the past but have never had these outstanding results. As a result of my trying the shoes and using them on two other Peruvians, my farrier is now recommending them to his clients. The majority of whom own trotting horses. This year we are shoeing several more horses with the HOOF-it composite shoes and I will be happy to let you know the results. They work well on our gaited horses because they do not inhibit the gait, nor do they enhance the gait. They do help keep the horses with flat feet or low heels from bruising which is a problem in our area because of the wet winters effect on the hooves. Thanks for a great product. Karen Kent, Washington  
 

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HOOF-it Plastic Horseshoes

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My client notes that she is able to ride on the golf course next to her house now with the HOOF-it horseshoes since they don't tear up the grass like other shoes! Also, her horses previously contracted feet are no longer contracted after just two shoeings. Thank you! Jonathan, BWFA Journeyman Farrier

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