The Effects of Improper Trimming & Shoeing on Sport Horses

Over-trimming & incorrect shoeing have negative effects on nail placement, hoof-wall integrity and farrier-client relationships

In my years of shoeing sport horses, I’ve found it takes as much talent to create a level foot as it does to create mechanics. The question is what’s best for the horse? If the horse needs mechanics, and you don’t apply them, you haven’t done the horse justice. Keeping the health and safety of the horse at the forefront of any trimming and shoeing is imperative

Knowing how the hoof capsule has become distorted helps determine the best course of action. Performing a thorough evaluation of the hoof, determining how the foot has been previously trimmed and shod and checking for disease, injury or other pathology influences how I’ll proceed. 


  • Shoeing should be approached with an individual horse’s hoof history, previous shoeings and current distortions or pathologies in mind.
  • Incorrect trimming can lead to uneven hoof balance, wall separation, bruising, crushed heels, blown quarters and other issues. 
  • The shoe and hoof should fit each other to best serve the horse and minimize the chance of pathology in the future. Nailing alternatives such as Polyflex glue-on shoes can reduce layup time in sport horses while still addressing safety concerns. 

Trimming Considerations

As farriers, we all want to do the best work possible and make the hooves look good, but it’s important to always keep the horse in mind. Give yourself an opportunity to come back if the issue can’t be corrected the first time. It’s better to make adjustments slowly than over-correct and damage the hooves. 

The frog provides…

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