Farriers' Roundtable

Q: What tips can you share about applying traction?

A: Applying traction to horseshoes is a great way to create a substantial improvement in performance, but it needs to be applied judiciously. The traction options I use most in my practice are screw-in and drive-in calks.

I drill and tap almost all of the shoes for jumpers and leave the choice of a calk to the horse owners. For placement of two calks per shoe, I like to put them 1 inch in front of the most caudal aspect of the weight-bearing surface of the shoe.

To prevent corns, these should be removed when traction is not needed. I place the calk on the medial heel, slightly to the inside to prevent the possibility of an interference injury.

If more traction is needed for conditions such as wet grass, I use up to four calks, the additional two placed either close to the crease by the toe nail and slightly to the inside of the web or, more often, I will waste the second nail hole and put them there. This minimizes the risk of an overreach injury and does not restrict breakover.

For drive-in or permanent calks (like we use in the winter), I use the least aggressive ones that will get the job done. They should be placed directly over the strongest part of horn on the heel to prevent corns. Toe calks can be added if needed, but I would opt for the short ones.

Other types…

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