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Many years ago, when I was a young horseshoer returning from horseshoeing school, I received the very same advice from practically every horseman I talked to. Living in Oklahoma where there were so many very knowledgeable horsemen, I took that advice to heart.
Each of them told me they hoped I would not be one of these horseshoers who just slid the shoe back and dubbed off the toe instead of fitting the shoe properly, the way the hoof is made.
Nowadays, the very same style of shoeing is called “backing up the toe” and is considered desirable far too often. It seems that every seminar I attend has some lecturer or other explaining why it is so necessary to do this to the horse he is demonstrating on.
This style of shoeing has become so popular among so many members of our craft that a seemingly more craftsman-like style of accomplishing this odious technique has been developed. These guys are actually dubbing off the toe before they put the shoe on, then making really beautiful fullered handmades. Then they fit the shoe full to the already dubbed toe.
There is even a new style of horseshoe made to accomplish this technique in a more drastic manner, which is becoming very popular with many horseshoers. It is an extremely squared-off toe that is meant to be fit so that the corners of the squared toe are fit with a half-inch or more of toe left hanging over…