5 Basic Concerns When Shoeing “Sport” Horses

Hall of Fame farrier outlines considerations regardless of discipline

What kind of horses are you shoeing

It’s a question that we’ve all been asked. Perhaps some have answered, “Well, sport horses.” It’s a response I hear a lot, especially from younger farriers who are up and coming. But what does it mean?

Sport horse generally seems to mean that farriers are shoeing English horses that are hunters, jumpers, dressage and eventers. They all are grouped together, which is a pet peeve of mine.

We can rule out breeding stock, minis, retirees and pets as sport horses, but not many others. What about recreational horses? In some respects, trail riding horses have more demanded of them than many others. Some trail riding clients forget that they have a horse all winter. As the weather gets better in March, they pull out the horse and ride it for 8 hours. They tie it to a picket line, wake up the next morning and ride it for another 8 hours. We might not consider it a sport, but it’s definitely demanding on that horse.

The same can be said for some workhorses. Ranch geldings and road horses take a beating. When you think about it, there just aren’t many of them that aren’t sport horses.

The basic considerations that we’re looking at when shoeing a sport horse — no matter the sport -— are conformation and posture; judged vs. timed; footing and traction; length, weight and width; and ethics, support teams and financial constraints.

Farrier Takeaways

  • “Sport horses” are generally considered hunters…
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Danvers child

Danvers Child, CJF

A life-long horseman and a practicing farrier since 1972, Danvers Child specializes in shoeing sport and performance horses. The Lafayette, Ind., farrier was elected to the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame in 2018.

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