Hoof-Care Email Q&A

Q: We find that most farriers hot shape the horseshoes they use. What tips do you have for the steps included in hot shaping a shoe?

A: I hot shape and hot fit almost all of my horses unless they are smoke shy. Shaping shoes hot is a lot easier and faster for me to get good nail placement than shaping them cold. I also hot fit more to burn clips in rather than cutting them out or hammering them into the wall like clamps.

— Robbie Bennett, Chesapeake City, Md.

A: When shoeing I always work my steel in the fire. I do this whether it is a new shoeing or resetting old shoes. When shoes are hot, they are more malleable and easier to shape to the horse’s hoof.

By using fire, I can make more adjustments to the steel. These include changing the nail hole location, lengthening a branch or other corrections that can be made to the shoe for a horse in motion. Blows to hot steel are much lighter and the concussion to my arm is less severe.

A hot shoe will also kill any bacteria or fungus it comes in contact with in the hoof capsule. In addition, hot shoes “seal” the shoe and the hoof together as one unit. This will show any mistake on the hoof or shoe if they’re not sitting flush, so you can adjust either before nailing.

— Michael S. DeLeonardo, Jr., Salinas, Calif.

A: When shaping shoes hot…

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