Keg shoes can also save frustration, in addition to time and money. With a little ingenuity, aftermarket alterations can change the nature of the shoe.
“As a vet and farrier, I primarily specialize in therapeutic shoeing,” explains Bill Baker of Hawkinsville, Ga. “A simple modification of a keg shoe came about one day when I was trying to support a horse that had suffered a deep digital flexor tendon laceration. I needed something that wasn’t only going to have the support of an extended heel, but also something where I could vary the height of the heel for the horse’s comfort and be able to lower as the horse continued to heal. These frustrations led me to what I call an extended-heel, patent bar shoe.
“This shoe is made by shaping and fitting a keg shoe to the affected foot. Then after deciding how much extension will be needed, take another keg shoe, heat it and turn the heels back onto the shoe. The length of the extension is adjusted by how much heel is turned back on the shoe. This also is where the height of the shoe will come from.
“Once the second shoe is turned then lay the fitted shoe on top of the extension, heel to heel. You can adjust the width of the extension to match the heel width of the fitted shoe. Weld the two together at the heels and open or close the heel area for the desired height and then nail on the shoe.
“Occasionally, I will weld a toe extension on the shoe to stabilize the foot as the horse walks,” he says. “I have used this shoe on horses with both superficial and deep flexor tendon tears or complete ruptures, front feet and back. I don’t have to put them in a cast and the horse heals very well.”
Treat Yourself Before You Treat Keg Shoes
Logan, Utah, shoer Scott McKendrick provided a “sound” piece of advice for farriers, regardless of what you do with a keg shoe. “Wear ear protection every time you shape a shoe to protect your hearing,” he advises. “Also, utilize anvils with turning cams to turn heels. This saves your hands, elbows and shoulders over the years.
“Try using ‘light’ shoes for those clients who don’t wear out shoes between resets. This will save wear and tear on your body while shaping shoes.”