Shoeing Cutting Horses

With quick stops and turns, the way these horses are shod is critical

Horses that compete in strenuous athletic events like cutting must be able to perform at peak ability. Because agility is so important, proper footcare is essential so that the horse can do his best job and have his feet and legs hold up for a successful career.

John Welsh is a farrier at Weatherford, Texas, who shoes many cutting horses. He’s shod a lot of the well-known stallions and Bet Yer Blue Boons, the 1998 World Championship Finals open champion that was ridden by Lindy Burch.

Use Light Shoes

“Most cutting horses are small and fine boned and need to be shod accordingly, with a fairly light shoe,” he says. “On about 90 percent of these horses, I use a light rim shoe on the front and a plain, light shoe behind. Even on the front feet, I fit the shoes full at the back for plenty of hoof support and to protect the bulbs of the heels when stopping.

“Because these horses have such small feet, I use a slim nail or a 4 1/2 race nail that is really light so it doesn’t displace a lot of foot. Because the horses are so well bred and fine boned, the feet don’t have real thick walls. Most of these horses will be reshod every 5 weeks, so you don’t want a lot of big nail holes in the hoof wall.”

Only Five Nails

Welsh often places three nails on one side and just two on the other side of…

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Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas is a freelance writer based in Salmon, Idaho. She has been writing books and articles for nearly 50 years.

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