Steps to Make a High Scoring Square Toe Horseshoe

Master shoe modifications before taking the certified farrier exam


Watch a video of Justin Frank making this square toe shoe, step by step at

One option for horseshoers who want to advance their education and become better at their craft is to take the American Farrier’s Association Certified Farrier examination. The Certified Farrier exams, which constitute the first level of AFA Certification, are open to farriers who have at least a year of horseshoeing experience and have demonstrated knowledge and skill to perform hoof care on a professional basis.

The Certified Farrier process requires successful completion of written and practical testing, as well as the creation and explanation of a horseshoe display. While many candidates can achieve passing marks on the written component of this exam on their first try, the horseshoe display — which involves both an oral presentation and a timed, on-site modification — often requires more than one attempt. There are 11 modifications a farrier must include in the display, so naturally one of the lessons pre-certification clinics will address is hands-on help covering uses for and how to build the shoe display. In this article, I look at how to complete a square toe modification.

Square Toe Modification

The AFA Certification Study Guide describes the highest score for this modification can be achieved by meeting the following parameters: the square toe of the shoe is centered on the toe and perpendicular to the centerline of the foot with a straight leading edge, set back from the toe half the thickness of

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Justin frank

Justin Frank

Granby, Colo., horseshoer Justin Frank, CJF, is an American Farrier’s Association Pre-Certification instructor who has been a farrier for almost 30 years.

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