Shoe-Fitting Tips from the AFJ Archives

Placing a shoe so that it meets an equine athlete’s needs is an important part of shoeing performance horses

Most farriers will tell you that a proper trim is the most important part of shoeing a horse. But fitting a shoe properly is also right up there.

After all, a horse can be carefully trimmed to balance for its conformation, a shoe can be beautifully shaped at the anvil — but then the whole shoeing job makes that well-known trip in the hand basket because it’s not placed properly on the foot.

With this issue, American Farriers Journal subscribers are receiving our newest special report, “Hoof Care For The Performance Horse.” This report includes some advice on fitting shoes for sport horses, but we also combed the back issues of AFJ for advice farriers have offered on this topic over the years.

Not surprisingly, the most common trend running through these comments is a need to fit the shoes on horses that are competing tightly, to prevent them from stepping off a shoe or interfering or hitting in some way.

Cutting Horses

“I prefer fitting a hard-working cutting horse with an extra-extra light plate shoe that’s fit closely to the hoof wall. I avoid letting a shoe edge hang over the hoof for quarter expansion because a quick-footed cowherder can easily hurt itself by brushing or hitting one limb against the other. It may even step on the overhanging metal and pull the shoe off altogether. On the front feet, as on the rear, excess shoe for lateral quarter expansion is not desirable, as the horse could easily hit…

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