No Fooling, It's a Fishtail Shoe

Calgary Mail-In Event focuses on an unusual challenge

This year, farriers taking part in the Calgary Mail-In Forging Exercise will be angling for the top spot as they build a fishtail bar shoe.

As always, you’re free to forge this shoe anyway you can. It should be built using 3/8-by-3/4-inch (8-mm-by-20-mm) flat stock. The dimensions are 120 mm wide by 177 mm long. The shoe should be punched for an MX 60 nail.

Scottish farrier Jim Ferrie says the shoe is usually used for supporting the fetlock join after a suspensory ligament strain or a superficial tendon strain.

He says the shoe should be fitted so that the last point of the bar is perpendicular to a straight line dropped from the fetlock joint, adding that the inner branch of the fishtail should be much straighter than the outer branch, to avoid having the horse stepping on the shoe.

Ferrie says the toe is usually rockered to protect the toe, as the affected horse will want to put its weight on the toe in an effort to save the back of the leg.

Kyle Ballard, from Omaha Neb., is familiar with the shoe. He used a fishtail shoe on a horse that had lacerated its superficial flexor tendon (See “Using The Fishtail Shoe,” American Farriers Journal, July/August, 2005).

Fishtail Bar Shoe.jpg

CALGARY MAIL-IN EXERCISE SHOE. The fishtail bar shoe should be built from 3/8-by-3/4-inch (8-mm-by-20-mm) flat stock and punched for an MX 60 nail. The dimensions are 120 mm wide by 170 mm long.

Ballard chose the fishtail shoe…

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