Sometimes you may get a horse that makes you wonder how it's even standing up and why the owner has continued to use it in conditions that resulted in feet that were extremely bad. An example is this 3-day eventer that had stood in water so long that he basically had no remaining wall along the bottom of his hoof.

"I had one shot at this guy," recalls Tom Curl, a Vero Beach, Fla., farrier. "He had to go to an event the next day. He walked up lame, and the next day they told me that he was great.

"I would have liked to have had this horse at least for a week to properly prepare him and build some hoof wall, but it was a go-now situation. It was obvious why he couldn't keep a shoe on. He just didn't have any hoof wall."

hoof wall

This horse's virtually nonexistent hoof wall couldn't hold a shoe.

hoof wall

By carefully aiming nails high up on the hoof wall, shoes were secured on these feet.

hoof wall

Because the horse needed more heel foundation, a quarter inch of shoe was left outside the wall.

Curl trimmed him and nailed on steel keg shoes, leaving plenty of distance between the shoe and the nail clinch. This is where he says it's a must to not merely drive your nails, but also to aim them effectively.

Curl says, "You've got to pick a spot way up there and say, 'I've got to get this clinch all the way up there.'"

Since he didn't agree with the position of the horse's heel, he wound up with a small amount of exposed shoe.

"I'm not going to wrap a heel with a shoe and run with it, because I don't agree with where the heel is located," he says. "A better foundation at the back of the horse's foot will let an athletic horse use itself much better."

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