Dan Burke, of Farrier Products Distribution in Shelbyville, Ky., believes that paying attention to the proper fit of a nail in a horseshoe is more important than the size of the nail.
“We believe the most important decision should be first to determine what nail head fits the shoe securely,” he explains. “This is subjective in one sense. Individuals may have a different opinion on how much head they like to see above the ground surface of the shoe. From there, most will opt for the slimmest shank — though some would like to see the shank fit the pritcheling of the shoe fairly snugly. Manufacturers of shoes are at a disadvantage for final punching, as they have to choose for nail holes that will handle a specific nail, realizing there are many variations and options a farrier may choose.
“The most common problem for the manufacturer is that the majority of shoes for average size riding horses are punched for 5 city nails. But the market is split and for the same shoes, many farriers will opt for a 5 Slim. You have two nails with nearly identical heads, so the head fit is good. But the pritcheling is usually set up so that the 5 city shank will fit without further modification. The 5 slim shank therefore, can't fit as snugly as many would like.