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Of the different techniques farriers bring to trimming and shoeing horses, probably one of the least talked about, yet vital resource, would be the concept of grip and purchase, according to Dr. Simon Curtis, a Newmarket, England-based farrier and International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member.
Curtis, while lecturing at the 19th International Hoof Care Summit in 2022, explains that regardless of breeds, disciplines and uses, horses require a different understanding of how to use your grip and purchase when shoeing and trimming.
In simple terms, Curtis says, the grip of the horse’s hoof occurs in the back of the hoof, while the purchase happens in the front (Figure 1 top). The ideal definition of grip comes from reducing the slippage between the horse’s hoof, whether shod or not, and the ground. Purchase is where the foot, either shod or not, holds onto and uses the ground to propel itself farther along. Understanding how the horse’s hoof locomotion works is an essential part of properly shoeing and trimming.
Curtis says that it is important to understand a few definitions before continuing down the…