The Art of Heel Fitting

Proper heel fit requires attention to the horse being shod

Shoeing is a lot more than simply covering the bottom of a horse’s foot with pieces of metal, although some horseshoers don’t seem to realize this.

One important aspect of fitting shoes to feet is heel fit. This little detail of the job can be extremely difficult to master.

There are a lot of styles and types of heels. How the horse is to be used and the environment it lives in become important when determining how to fit an individual horse. You can also throw into the mix all manner of pathological shoes from egg bars to patton-style bars.

Fitting A Saddle Horse

This article will deal with fitting a saddle horse in the manner that I shoe the majority of the horses in my practice. I  fit tighter than a lot of my colleagues, yet my horses stay sound and my customers happy. When it’s all said and done, who can argue with that?

Key Factors

When determining how to fit a heel, a few of the factors that should be accounted for are:

  • How long will the horse be in this set of shoes?
  • How is the horse ridden and where does it live?
  • Are there anatomical concerns that dictate the type of heel fit, such as the horse being cow-hocked or having underrun heels?
  • Will the type of heel fit you wish to use cause any problems for the horse?

Once these have all been considered you can begin getting the right heel fit together with…

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Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory is the owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo., and a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame.

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