Using Clips as Needed, Not as Trends Dictate, Will Enable Farriers to Improve a Horse’s Hoof-Health and Performance

Hoof proportion, digital alignment and capsule health should all be considered before deciding whether to use clips and which kind

Farrier Takeaways

  • Clips predate the invention of nails and provide support, allowing farriers to use fewer nails.
  • Form and function should guide clip placement rather than trends or client influence.
  • Proportions, digital alignment and capsule health factor into clip placement.

It’s not uncommon for farriers to feel pressure from clients who ask for a shoe style or trimming method because the people winning in their discipline “do it that way.” Suddenly, it becomes the “go-to” preference and influences availability of supply.

Certified journeyman farrier Craig Trnka uses “breakover” as an example of how trends influence horseshoeing. Over the past 2 decades, it has become the industry’s catch phrase. With its increased popularity, it has contributed to the more frequent use of side clips rather than toe clips, says the Edgewood, N.M., farrier.

Once you have removed the mass from the toe area, this forces the hoof capsule mass to displace in another area, which usually is the sides of the foot. Side clips are then necessary to hold the shoe in place. Clips in the side area of the foot cause pinching and force the capsule to narrow and move forward even more. This process creates the need for even more breakover, and consistent use of side clips, which creates a never ending cycle, he says.

“In response, shoe manufacturers produce more side clipped shoes than toe clips because that’s trendy,” Trnka reasons.

There’s been a decades-long debate, and sometimes controversy, on the pros and cons of clip location. Trnka’s…

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Katie navarra

Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra is a freelance writer who draws from her experiences owning and showing horses, and inter­viewing the industry’s leading pro­fessionals.

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