When it comes to hot shaping and fitting, the shoe you pick will directly influence the success of your results. You have to remember there are two parameters that should fit before nailing on a shoe.

  1. The nail holes have to be placed over the white line.
  2. The shape of the shoe has to fit the hoof capsule.

The first step is to choose your shoe size and decide how to change its shape to make the nail holes and the general shape fit the hoof.

If these two goals aren’t met, you need to pick a shoe with different nail hole positions and/or coarseness or change it by replacing the nail holes.

Remember that shaping is not forging — don’t hit your shoe at a spot where it has direct contact with the anvil. As long as you’re not changing the shoe width and/or thickness, hit it where the “gap” is (before or after the area where you position the shoe on the anvil).

Shaping is easiest if you follow a good system. Divide your shoe into the same five parts as you divide the hoof —toe, lateral toe quarter, medial toe quarter, lateral heel quarter and medial heel quarter. Remember which of these five parts you have to adapt shape and then place your shoe on the back of the anvil and work the parts.

For reference, watch this video by Robert James Pinkney http://www.werkmanhorseshoes.com/en/academy/15.

If you shape a clipped shoe, change the angle of the clips to the angle of the hoof wall while working the shoe areas.

When fitting, center mark the toe of the shoe (or use a toe clip as a reference if you have one). Draw an imaginary line through the central sulcus and the tip of the frog as orientation where to place the center mark at the hoof wall.

Pre-make space for clips before hot fitting by using nippers, a rasp and knife or hot mark the clips and cut out the mark with a knife and burn the clip in a second time to have it deep enough in the wall. The clip has to fit flush with the wall when finished.

When the hot shoe is on the foot, look at it from the hoof side and above the heels to see it at two different angles.

Check if the nail holes are positioned to the white line (you’ll see the imprints of the nail holes on the foot after burning), check that the heels are positioned on the shoe where you want them. Remember what changes you need to make.

Use a rasp to correct the fit if the foot is not absolutely level (rasp the spots where you see burned horn). Take the foot to the front as if you would want to put it on a hoof stand, put the hot shoe on the hoof again and check your shoe shape from above.

You have now seen the foot from three different angles, checked nail hole fit, proportions and shape.

— Florian Häfner, Werkman Horseshoes,
Groningen, Netherlands

>>Read More On Hot Shaping Shoes