The Z-Bar Factor

Unusual shoe fits the ticket when you need to get the weight off one side of a badly injured hoof

The Z-Bar is an interesting shoe to apply to a horse’s foot and can be extremely effective in the right circumstances.

Anytime I want to completely relieve weight bearing from one side of the hoof, the Z-bar offers a good option. I have used this shoe for horses with bad quarter cracks and with feet that have been traumatically injured, as was the one pictured in this article.

This shoe can be challenging to build and fit, but with a little practice, you will have it down pat.

Building Methods

There are a few ways to make this shoe, but I like to make it from one piece of stock and weld at the back of the frog. Another way is to forge and fit a normal shoe, then cut one branch off where you would like the foot to be free of weight bearing. Take another piece of steel and shape it to weld at the heel, cover the frog, and meet the branch that has been cut off. This method does require a jump-weld, but it is one way to get your shoe to fit with ease.

The method I generally use requires a little bit of planning, but it is easier to weld than the one just described. It can also be adjusted for size prior to welding, which is a big aid in fitting an unusual shoe. Next issue, we’ll take a look at just how to build these shoes. Right now, let’s look at this…

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Chris gregory

Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory is a Hall of Fame farrier and owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo.

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