No Need To Lose That High Nail

This simple trick will let you get a nail where you can clinch it without having to drive a new one

When shoeing in your everyday practice, it is common to drive a nail just a bit too high to clinch.

I know we pay for the whole nail, so we should use the whole nail. And I do like nails as high as possible. But the rule of thumb I try to use is that I don’t clinch a nail in the taper. This means that if the nail comes out of the hoof wall high enough that only the taper of the tip is showing, the nail is too high (Figure 1).

Removing a nail that is that high will generally render the nail useless. But here’s a way to still use the nail without ruining it or removing it.

Bend The Tip

To begin, bend the very tip of the exposed nail with the claws of your hammer (Figure 2).  Avoid bending it too far.  You want to end up with the nail looking like the one in Figures 3 and 4. Next, grab the head of the nail with your crease nail pullers and pull just enough to expose the head of the nail (Figure 5). 

Grab the exposed head of the nail with your pulloffs (Figure 6). It is important that you grab with the right area of the jaws of your pulloffs. I try to grab close to the middle so that I don’t pull the nail out too far.


Pull the nail so that roughly half the nail is exposed (Figure 7). Strike the…

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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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