Tips are short shoes that only protect the front half of the foot. On grass or soft roads, tips are usually sufficient to prevent undue hoof wear.
Even on hard roads, tips can protect hooves in dry weather. In wet seasons on hard road surfaces, the horn becomes soft and wears rapidly, often resulting in lameness.
Although tips do not give a good foothold on grass, they provide greater security than regular shoes with hard, smooth roads and under icy conditions. The advantages of tips are two-fold:
- They are light.
They permit the greatest freedom of movement and action in the posterior part of the foot.
Tips require more care than normal shoes. When left on the foot for too long, the hoof becomes long at the toe.
In fitting a tip shoe, provide the horse with a level surface on which to bear weight. The unprotected horn on the back of the foot must bear weight on the ground level along with the ground surface of the tip.
If there is sufficient horn on the foot, fitting can easily be done by removing the overgrown wall to the length at which the tip extends and leaving the horn untouched behind this point. Where there is insufficient superfluous horn, this method cannot be used. Instead, apply a tip gradually thinned off toward the hind extremities.
If a little horn can be removed obliquely from the front half of the foot with a few strokes of the rasp, a “thinned” tip is more easily fitted to obtain a level surface on the ground.
When a horse has worn this style of tip for a month, it is generally possible to nail on an even-thickness tip through the same line of bearing as the horn at the heels.