A few weeks ago, we shared some hoof cleaning insights from professional farrier Jim Spencer. Today, we’re walking through the process of replacing the shoes on a horse.
Jim has been working with equine for just over 43 years. In that time, he’s shod too many horses to count. He is exceptionally good at it. But, as Jim explains, putting on a new shoe just requires some knowhow, patience, and precision.
Inspect the Hoof
Once you’ve removed the old shoe (and the nails) with a pair of metal pull-offs, inspect the horse’s hooves. Are they in good condition? Be sure to clean them well before putting on new shoes. You can read Jim’s tips to cleaning horse hooves here.
Start with the Right Equipment
You’re going to need nails (Jim recommends CH6 nails depending on the horse), a hoof finishing file, a pair of nail nippers, a hoof hammer, a hoof gauge, a clinch block and a clinch cutter, a good clincher, a hoof stand, an apron or chaps to protect your legs, and a set of horseshoes.
Take it Slow
Farriers make the work look easy, but for your own safety and your horse’s health it’s important to take it slow and be careful.
First, file the hoof down, trim the outer wall with a pair of nippers (much like trimming a person’s fingernails), and exfoliate the bottom to make it nice and smooth. Using a hoof gauge measure the balance to ensure it is 52- to 55-degrees from the front to the back of the foot. It’s important to have the same angle on both of the front feet. The back hooves should be at 51-53 degrees.
Next, place the foot on the hoof stand and dress the toe using the file. You want to give it that natural shape while also removing any burrs that could hurt you.
Put the horse’s hoof between your thighs and place the horseshoe against the hoof. If you need to make adjustments, Jim suggests doing it cold with an anvil and hammer. Only small adjustments should be needed overall.
Add your first nail. Make sure the emblem on the nail is facing inward (toward the center of the foot) so that the nail bends toward the outside of the hoof. Remove the excess nail by twisting it off with the claw end of the hammer.
Place your cinch block against the exposed bits of nail and hammer each nail a few more times. Finally, using the clincher, bend each of the nail ends down and over into the hoof. This will have the added benefit of pulling the shoe up against the horse’s hoof.
File the hoof again to remove any burrs and to smooth out any areas that could hurt you or the horse.
Coastal Has Everything for Your Horse
You’ll find all the tools you need to clean your horse’s hooves and replace their shoes, including horseshoes, hoof picks, hoof guard, conditioners, hammers, tack, and chaps. It’s all at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal Farm & Ranch.