Farriers' Roundtable

Q:  “I have clients who don’t think anything different needs to be done when shoeing horses in the winter. What do you find are the biggest winter shoeing concerns with snow and ice and how do you overcome them?”

—Iowa farrier

A: The lack of client knowledge about traction devices is my biggest problem. Some clients want me to use Borium or drive-in studs on every shoe I nail on during the winter months. They don’t realize the damage that traction devices can do to the joints of their horses, especially when these horses are ridden across blacktop or concrete during trail rides.

For winter riding, I prefer to drill and tap the shoes so the owners can screw in studs when they go trail riding and then remove them the rest of the time. But most clients don’t like this option, because it means more work.

One client insisted that Borium be added for her horse’s short walk across the icy blacktop from the barn to the indoor arena. Instead, I used Borium nails in the toes and heels of these shoes to give the horse a little protection. It was enough to protect the horse on the short walk across the icy blacktop, but there wasn’t enough Borium to jam the horse’s joints.

Explaining shoeing ideas in human terms will help your clients better understand shoeing procedures. For instance, when I tell them that using Borium is like their husband wearing golf spikes 24 hours a day, they…

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