Go Horse – The horse’s hoof and the shoeing

THE SHOEING The first thing that the farrier have to do is a real evaluation of the moving horse, that is to check on it in step, and of the trot if he considers it appropriate. This operation is often neglected but it is FUNDAMENTAL to understand how to shoe because the horse’s way of walking (biomechanics) is be able to indicate many things if it is well observed: the type of shoe to adopt and any corrections to make to improve the mechanics of movement and the comfort of the irons to be applied. Discover now all our trips, tours, holidays and horse trekking. GETTING THE HOOVES OUT The next step is the GETTING THE HOOVES OUT, that is the removal of the bars present. Then we proceed with the DRAW of the hoof , that is the cleaning of the sole with a tool called an “English knife”. In this way, the part of the dead useless nail is removed and the fork is trimmed with a cutlass to give it a well-defined shape. Finally, always with the “English knife”, the lateral and medial gaps are cleaned, so they are useful. Another important operation is the actual cutting of the wall using a pincer to remove all the excess nail and to create a plan as precise as possible, always taking into account all the information collected during the initial inspection. Once the draw is made, we proceed to choose the irons to be applied (model and size) which will be shaped on the anvil according to the shape of the hoof. The irons will be fixed to the hoof with nails.

THE RIVETING The next phase is called RIVETING: it consists in cutting the part of the nails in excess and, with the aid of a small tool, make small recesses in the wall which are necessary to house the piece of nail that we will fold downwards like a hook, so that the iron remains firmly attached to the hoof. Then we proceed with a filing so there will not be any sharp edges. The final result must be pleasing to the farrier’s eye and comfortable and functional for the animal. Once all this has been done, the horse will be inspected again when it is walking and trotting to verify that the animal is moving well and that the shoeing has been carried out in accordance with best practice.

Once explained how shoeing takes place materially, we can return to our initial question: why are horses being shod? The main reason is because the horse’s nail, which is mainly used for sporting purposes, is subjected to continuous friction on sandy soils, resulting in its excessive and very rapid consumption which can be remedied with the help of irons. However, this leads to the natural consequence that, since the nail does not wear out as it would occur in nature in the unshod horse, it will be advisable to shoe and trim the hoof approximately every 6 weeks, a normal time interval between one shoe and the next. WHICH IRON TO APPLY? For the choice of the type of iron to be applied to the horse, it is always necessary to take into account the activity that will be faced and any health or posture problems. For example, on a racehorse, with a long-limbed structure, a very light iron is applied, considering that the final goal will be speed. Unlike a horse for show jumping, dressage or vaulting, which usually has a more robust structure, it is preferable to apply a shoe aimed more at comfort using slightly heavier irons. In conclusion, it is clear that the shoeing of horses, where it is necessary, is a routine intervention which, however, must be done by a professional farrier and be aimed at the well-being and health of the horse.

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