Maryland Farrier’s Toe Length Protocol Keeps Show Horses in Top Form

Tape measure, dividers and hoof protractor help maintain proper foot parameters

Pictured Above: At the end of a 7-week cycle, Harry Serio measures the toe from the ground surface to hairline. The toe of this 16.3-hand horse that shows hunter under saddle measures 3 ¾ inches before the trim.  Photos: Harry Serio

Farrier Takeaways

  • Leaving too much foot will result in compromised cadence and a shorter than normal shoeing cycle.
  • Toe length can be determined by the horse’s height and body mass. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the ranges in toe length in relation to horse height are merely guides.
  • Generally, the hind toes of the Quarter Horses that Harry Serio works on are 1/8 of an inch longer than front toes.

The most important tool of the farrier trade is the mind’s eye. Developing a highly trained eye is the key to consistently bringing horses’ feet to their proper parameters. There are three tools that, if used correctly, have the potential to not only speed up the development process, they can also confirm everything your eye is telling you, regardless of skill set.

After more than 4 decades of using dividers, the Ward & Story Hoof Protractor and a tape measure, my findings have been consistent. These tools…

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Harry serio

Harry Serio

Harry Serio is a Finksburg, Md., farrier who has been shoeing since 1979. He has been the official farrier at most of NRHA events, as well as the American Quarter Horse Congress, for 10 years each. He shod Rugged Lark, NRHA Non-Pro Pre-Futurity Champion that went on to win two AQHA Super Horse titles, shod an NRHA Limited Open Futurity Champion, as well as three NRHA Non-Pro Futurity Champions and numerous AQHA and NRHA top 10 qualifiers.

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