From the AFJ Archives: April 2018

July/August 1983


Steve Kraus, head of Farrier Services and senior lecturer at Cornell University, originally wrote this article for the 1983 July/August issue of American Farriers Journal. As a private practice farrier in Trumansburg, N.Y., Kraus originally approached this subject with the intent to clarify the purpose of Scotch bottom shoes and share his method of creating this complicated type of shoe.

Kraus first provides a brief history of the Scotch bottom shoe to provide context on its evolution.

“The Scotch bottom shoe originates (where else?) in Scotland,” he writes. “There, it is called a bevel shoe. The original purpose was to give the horse a wider base of support, and to absorb the shock to the hoof and leg as the horse was driven over the streets.” He further explains that the Scotch bottom shoe is purposely fit wider than the hoof and that the edges are beveled. The shoe was originally created for the Clydesdale breed, but was adapted to all draft breeds.

To guide farriers who are unfamiliar with forging Scotch bottom shoes, Kraus provides the steps he
goes through.

“I usually measure the widest part across the foot and the toe-to-heel length and add at least 2 inches for the proper length of steel for a front shoe. Another inch for each heel calk is necessary, but most horses are shod plain in front and with an outside heel on the hind shoes,” he says.

The remaining forging advice Kraus provides is practical: how to…

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Steve kraus 2

Steve Kraus

Steve Kraus, CJF, is Cornell University’s head of farrier services and senior lecturer for large animal surgery. He has been a farrier for more than 45 years.

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