Trimming And Shoeing Gaited Horses

Q: I am fairly new to the farrier business and came across a client who has several gaited horses. They’re all different breeds — a Missouri Fox Trotter, some spotted saddle horses and a Tennessee Walker.

How do I trim their feet to the correct angle? The client is complaining that the horses have been trimmed and shod as stock horses or Quarter Horses and that there is not enough foot left on them. Since this is a new client and I haven’t trimmed a lot of gaited horses, I’m not sure what to do or how to get their feet back to the way she wants them.

I’ve asked a couple farriers around here, but most don’t trim gaited horses and the few who do say their clients just want normal stock trims. Needless to say, I am at a loss as to what to do. 

— Stacy Gazelle

A:I have shod many different breeds, but most of my clients have Tennessee Walkers and I trim them the same as I do any horse. Looking at the angles tells me how it should be trimmed.

Keep the P1, P2 and P3 aligned and you shouldn’t have any problems. I was also taught that the shoulder angle and foot angle should be the same.

The biggest problem I run into with new clients with Walkers is the back feet hitting the front feet. That can usually be fixed by setting the front shoe back just a little off the toe…

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