Nippers need to fit you, reminds Chris Gregory of the Heartland Horseshoeing School in Missouri. “Size and leverage are the two key elements that affect nipper design. Nippers need to be a size that’s appropriate for you and your hands, to the size of the feet that you are working on and the amount of leverage that you need.”

Nipper length winds up being a matter of leverage vs. control.

“If your nippers were 24 inches long, you’d have a lot of leverage,” says Gregory. “But you would have a hard time controlling them. By the same token, if your nippers were just 6 inches long, it would be very easy to put them right where you wanted to, but you wouldn’t have enough leverage to do the job.”

Gregory says he uses different nippers at different times.

“I like 14-inch nippers, but I work on mostly average size horses like saddle horses or trail riding horses,” he says. “When I work on bigger horses or draft horses, I appreciate the 15-inch nippers. I also have a pair of 12-inch nippers that I use quite a bit.”