Where There's Smoke, There's Hot Fitting

The how and why of “burning” a shoe onto a foot

Just because you shape your shoes hot doesn’t mean you have to hot fit, of course. You can always let a hot shoe cool in the air or quench it in a bucket of water before you fit it to the horse — and there are times when you should do just that. 

But there are also good reasons for hot fitting. We’ll take a look at how we hot fit in our farrier practice, then discuss why we do it.

How To Hot Fit

After hot shaping a shoe as we discussed in the previous issue (American Farriers Journal, Jan./Feb., 2003, pages 90 to 95), it is time to introduce it to the foot. In most instances, I shape and clip a shoe in the first heat, then take a second heat to fit the foot. If a shoe doesn’t need clips, I will shape and fit all in one heat.

I always fit with a shoe that is at least red. About 1,300 F is the coolest that I want a shoe to be when I take it to the foot.

Clean The Foot

The process begins with normal foot prep, as my wife, Kelly, does in Figure 1. Put the hot fitters on the shoe (Figure 2) and take it to the horse. Lift the hoof you are going to fit and clean it off. This is important. If the foot is not clean, you will not get a good burn. Small rocks imbedded in the foot…

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Chris gregory

Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory is a Hall of Fame farrier and owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo.

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