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There are advantages and disadvantages to using aluminum horseshoes. On the plus side, you can protect a lot of foot without a lot of weight.
That’s the primary reason I use aluminum in my practice. But bear in mind that I am not shoeing racehorses or other equestrian disciplines that generally require as little weight as possible.
On the negative side, aluminum doesn’t wear well. For most of the horses I shoe, aluminum shoes would be out of the question, since the shoe would be worn away in a matter of days. With injured and lame animals, wear is not usually a major concern. Still, it is imperative that the shoe last for the entire interval between shoeings.
The wearability of aluminum shoes can be greatly increased by adding metal to the area of the shoe which wears the worst. That’s the toe area of the shoe in the majority of cases, although metal can be added anywhere that it’s needed. You can use nails or a wear plate to increase the life of the shoe without adding a significant amount of weight.
Adding nails is the the easiest method to add metal to the toe of an aluminum shoe. Begin by punching a series of holes with a narrow forepunch across the toe of the shoe, just as you would in originally punching the shoe (Figures 1 and 2). The holes should be placed about 1/4-inch apart. Pritchel out the holes (Figure 3). This will…