Penciled Heel Helps Keep Concave Shoe From Sticking

Missouri farrier says adaptation improves footing for reining and cutting horses

PENCILING THE HEEL. After heating the heel, careful hammer blows are used on the ground surface of the shoe to fold in the channels of the concave stock. The shoe should only be struck on the ground surface.

Lessons learned can have more than one application. Missouri farrier Jamey Carsel, for instance, took something he learned at a Bob Marshall forging clinic and adapted it to a useful keg shoe modification.

During the clinic that Carsel attended, Marshall, a certified journeyman farrier from British Columbia, demonstrated how to forge a pencil heel while making shoes from concave stock. Marshall said he used the pencil heel primarily for event horses and jumpers because it was useful in helping the foot come out of the ground without sticking.

New Use

Carsel reasoned that the pencil heel would offer the same advantage to reining and cutting horses that he often shoes. The Carthage, Mo., farrier recently added concave keg shoes from Welsh farrier Billy Crouthers to his stock of shoes and, in just minutes, can now modify the heel as Marshall showed him.

“To properly fit the pencil heel, the foot surface side of the shoe must be fit exactly to the buttress of the hoof wall, with no expansion and no extension,” Carsel says. “The ground surface of the shoe is closed by forging the edges of the concave together until is it solid. You then rasp and pencil the heel until it is sloped at the same angle as the heel.”

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