Chris Gregory and his family have been active in rodeo competitions for years. In fact, the Heartland Horseshoeing School owner attended college on a rodeo scholarship with the goal of becoming a professional rider. Although his focus changed to hoof care, Gregory still works with rodeo horses.
If you are new to shoeing rodeo horses or are looking to work with these athletes, there are several things to consider. A primary area of concern for Gregory is traction. Before you shoe a rodeo horse, he says to consider these things related to traction:
"Since the horse is a living animal and not a truck that can be easily replaced or fixed, what is good traction for starting fast may be too much traction for stopping or turning safely without injury," warns Gregory.
"Injury and lameness may also come from repeated stress and material fatigue over time as the horse stops again and again with too much torque from excessive traction."
When the farrier has to account for the variables, such as arena conditions, then the issue becomes more complex.
For more advice on working with rodeo horses, read Chris Gregory's article in the May/June 2011 issue of American Farriers Journal.