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Clinching is an incredibly important aspect of shoeing a horse. If it’s done improperly, keeping a shoe on the foot can become difficult. However it is also a part of the job that is unlikely to cause damage to the hoof or horse, so it is often left to an apprentice or helper. It’s important to understand a few principles that are involved in clinching that will make the job better and stronger.
I must note that I finish very few feet in a year compared to many farriers. It has fallen outside of my job description in the past several years and I usually only finish a horse when competing or doing a demonstration. Even then, there have been many clinics when I found myself wishing that my wife, Kelly, were there to put the shine to the clinching.
When I first learned to shoe, it was a common practice to take the edge of the rasp and carve a deep groove under the nail to bury the clinch in. I sacrificed a clinch for Figures 1 to 3. The resulting finish is not attractive, but we still see a few horses done this way. In a contest or certification, doing this would result in a very low score. Today, most farriers have learned to get the proper amount of foot removed under a clinch, while avoiding the groove that extends beyond it.
A proper clinch will have as much nail…