Placing Nails, Fitting Shoes

It’s not an easy decision to make and there are many differing opinions as to what works best

At last winter’s fifth annual International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, two veteran farriers tackled a number of the most frequently asked questions about the footcare industry.

For the second straight year, this “Point/Counterpoint” discussion was among the highlights of this annual event.

This latest unrehearsed, fast-paced session sparked a number of differing viewpoints for Summit attendees. In this article, Rick Burten of Champaign, Ill., and Chris Gregory of Lamar, Mo., share critical views in regard to nails and shoe fit.

Q: Should nails be kept in the front half of the shoe so heel expansion isn’t inhibited even if I think the shoe might be insecure? How far back can I nail if I’m attaching a shoe with extended heels?

BurtenAs a general rule, I keep my nails at or in front of the widest part of the foot. Under certain circumstances I’ll go behind that point, but as a general rule, you’ll find my nails in the front two-thirds of the hoof. However, there’s a lot of controversy over where to place nails to reduce or impede heel expansion.

GregoryAnatomically speaking, the best place to nail a shoe is from the second nail hole through the center of the toe. In this area, you have less movement and the thickest portion of the hoof.

Horseshoes have nails on both sides because the toe wears out. When the toe area wears out, the nail head will wear off and the toe will end up not being…

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