Hammering it Home

Manufacturers offer tips and advice on selecting the right nail for the job and putting it in the right place

Nailing shoes onto hooves is part of the farrier art, but it takes time to develop a “feel” for what nail goes with the right shoe, horse and the work it is doing.

Certain things about horseshoeing never seem to change, and among those are the traditional guidelines for nailing, such as:

  • Use the smallest-sized nail that will hold the shoe on securely.
  • Use the fewest nails necessary.
  • Keep nails at or forward of the widest part of the foot.
  • Drive nails at the outside of the white line.

But clearly, there’s more to nailing. Placing a small, slim nail on a heavy shoe clearly isn’t the best course of action and no one would expect the same nail used on a light Arabian to get the job done on a heavy Percheron. So what about cases where the selection of the right nail isn’t so clear-cut?

We went to some of the companies who make and sell horseshoe nails to ask for advice on nail selections. We sent these questions to:

Dan Burke of Farrrier Product Distribution of Shelbyville, Ky., distributor of Vector, Izumi and Liberty nails.

Steve Kraus, of Trumansburg, N.Y., a longtime clinician with Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center. Delta Mustad makes and distributes Mustad, Capewell, Delta and Cooper nails.

Q. What nail size is appropriate for what size of horseshoe?

A. Burke, FPD: We believe the most important decision should be first to determine what nail head fits the shoe securely. This is subjective in one sense…

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Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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