Getting the Right Fit With Aluminum

Solid tips from people who have learned their way around working with these important shoes

Aluminum horseshoes are not new. They’ve been around for several decades now and are the shoe of choice at racetracks and for many disciplines. Trainers choose aluminum shoes when they want less weight, more flotation or because they think they absorb shock better than steel.

And if trainers want the shoes, farriers need to know how to shape and fit them. As with so many things in hoof care, farriers have different ideas about the same things.

If there is a consensus among farriers about aluminum shoes, it’s that you need to practice shaping them and get a feel for working with the metal. It will start out feeling different than steel — but some farriers say once you’ve learned its ways, aluminum is even easier to work with than steel.

Hot Or Cold?

Aluminum can be shaped hot or cold. While the typical thinking might be that racing plates and lighter shoes will be shaped cold, and heavier aluminum shoes like those used for hunters and jumpers will be put in the forge, that also proves to be a matter of personal preference.

Jeff Pauley, a farrier from Burnsville, N.C., and also a clinician for Delta Mustad Hoofcare, says he always heats up his aluminum shoes because of the size and mass of the shoes he most often uses.

“If you’re working with a St. Croix Eventer or a Mustad Equilibrium shoe, you’re working on shoes that are designed for a bigger horse,” he says. “I think the biggest…

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Pat_tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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