Do you work on a horse that objects to nailing on shoes? Try changing your hammering technique.

When nailing a shoe on a sensitive-footed horse, Steve Kraus suggests using a lighter hammer, which reduces shock to the hoof, as well as lighter blows.

“Do not drive the nails steady and hard,” explains the head of Farrier Services at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. “Instead, use irregular hammer blows so the horse doesn’t anticipate when the next one is coming. Frequent breaks and reassurance will get you through this. When it’s time for the final tightening blows, use a nylon mallet to ease concussion on the hoof.”

If you must nail a shoe onto a laminitic or sore-footed horse that objects to the shock of hammering, Kraus suggests lubricating the nails with wax or vegetable oil to help them drive easier. The practice also can be helpful when encountering tough hoof walls that bend nails.

“Some farriers put a small ball of Forshner’s Hoof Packing on the top of their tool box and stick several nails in it,” he explains. “The lanolin in the hoof packing serves as a lubricant. In a jam, you can spray some nails with WD-40 — just don’t put them in your mouth!”

A lighter hammer, irregular blows and frequent breaks can help a farrier while nailing a shoe on an objecting horse.

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