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Getting More Out of Your Hoof Nippers

This tool is a mainstay of hoof-care work so be sure to find a pair that will suit your needs


Chris Gregory says hoof nippers need to be chosen based on what best suits you, the type of horses you are shoeing and the climate you shoe in.

Hoof nippers may get more use than any other single tool in the average farrier’s toolbox. For Chris Gregory, that’s reason enough to make sure that you pick the right pair for the job and develop a good system for using them.

Gregory, owner of the Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo., and a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame, told attendees at the 2011 International Hoof-Care Summit that ergonomics play a big role in using hoof nippers.

“A simple definition of ergonomics for us is how we use the tools, the positions we use them in and the animals we use them on,” says Gregory. “Ergonomics is important. Ergonomics gone bad has ended a lot of careers.”

That means you need to think about your own size, the horses you do and the climate that you shoe in before you pick a pair of nippers to place in your shoeing box.

Find Your Fit

“Nippers need to fit you,” Gregory said. “Size and leverage are the two key elements that affect nipper design. Nippers need to be a size that’s appropriate for you and your hands, to the size of the feet that you are working on and the amount of leverage that you need.”

Nipper length winds up being a matter of leverage vs. control.

“If your…

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Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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