Cold or hot, farriers have to shape a keg shoe to fit the horse. What are some of the modifications other hoof-care professionals are making?
Even if he didn’t shape the keg shoe, White, S.D., farrier Mike Olson still bevels the hoof side of the shoe so there is no contact with the sole. “It also tips the heels in so when the horse steps down, there is pressure to push the heels of the horse outward rather than in to create a contracted heel,” he explains.
“If a horse needs a toe clip or side clip, I put the keg shoe in the forge to draw them out. I have a few horse that I need extended heels for support, so I use a size or two bigger and shape the shoe and heels using the forge."
Toe clips were the most popular modification submitted by AFJ readers. They will help keep shoes tight that otherwise might move back from the toe.
However, his forge doesn’t get hot enough to weld with, so he uses either a stick welder or a wire feed welder to modify the shoes for toe extensions, bar shoes and weight shoes.
Shoeing on Maui, Hawaii, Gretchen Cardoso also makes several keg shoe modifications using a forge to pull clips and make heel extensions. “I like to put extended heels on horses who need the additional hind leg support for various reasons,” she says. “If only one leg really needs the extra support, and the horse is a size 1, I’ll put it in size 2 shoes and forge the shoe heels out narrower and longer for the supported limb. That way both shoes weigh the same.”
Pilot Hill, Calif., farrier Steve Elliot no longer cold keg shoes. “About 90% of the time, I roll the toe, rock it, curve the branches and pound out a sole-pressure relief on the inside of the shoe. I also fit all my horses with a bit of expansion, so hot shoeing is the only way to go. Sometimes I use the power grinder to clean up things,” he says.
Mars Hill, N.C., farrier Lyle Petersen heats almost every shoe he nails on a horse. At 60, his arm and hand remember every cold shoe he’s banged on. When modifying a shoe, he makes rockered or squared toes. He also draws his own clips.
“It doesn’t take much extra time since I am heating the shoes anyway, and it saves the cash cost of pre-clipped shoes,” he says. “Also, it makes inventory easier to track, one style of shoe per size vs. front and hind and clipped and unclipped for each size.”
If Andy Parks of Fischerville, Ontario, needs different nail holes he will use “a different brand of keg, or throw the shoe in the forge and punch out new holes, which takes 5 minutes.”
When you use heat to shape a keg shoe, try not to heat it more than three times. “Look at the hoof and try to make a picture in your head about the shape,” he says.
More than one farrier reminded us to rasp keg shoes after any modification. Martinsville, Va., farrier Danny Ward especially is alert for spots where the metal has protruded above the foot surface of the shoe. “It doesn’t look like much,” warns Ward, “but if you don’t take care of it, it’s a spot where it can easily create an abscess.”