Matching the Shoe to the Job

Experienced farriers say the choice should be based on a number of factors, many of which have nothing to do with the shoe itself


There is no shortage of horseshoes, in size, style or material. It will take no more than a few minutes inside a well-stocked supply store to convince anyone of that.

Jeff Ridley, a farrier from Leighton, Iowa, recently was struck by that fact during a clinic at Anvil Brand’s headquarters in Lexington, Ill. The clinician was Shayne Carter of West Mountain, Utah.

“The place is huge,” recalls Ridley. “And everyone wants to see Shayne forge a shoe, because that’s what he’s known for. But Shayne told us, ‘In all honesty, if you can’t find a shoe to fit one of your horses in this building, you’re in trouble.’ We have such a huge variety and so many options available to us. It’s just amazing.”

But all those choices and options also present a challenge to the hoof-care professional. Choosing the right shoe for a particular horse and need isn’t always easy. Interviews with several experienced farriers reveal a consensus that mistakes usually are not a matter of choosing a “bad” shoe, but rather using a good shoe incorrectly.

Farrier Takeaways

Experienced farriers believe that selecting the correct shoe for a horse is based on a variety of factors.

It is important to develop an understanding of what the particular design of a shoe can and cannot do to help a horse.

A thorough examination of the horse, the work it’s expected to do, the surface it will perform on and the conditions it will live in are all important to…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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