Understand Drafts' Farriery Needs Before Picking Up The Foot

Tips and advice to make trimming and shoeing easier for you and the horse

If you’re interested in shoeing draft horses, you’re in the minority. A lot of farriers, though, have a token team that they work on. They’re usually a nice pair of horses that stands pretty well.

Drafts horses are different. Sure, they’re bigger animals than what most farriers work on, but there are many more distinct characteristics that separate drafts from smaller breeds.

What’s the average trimming or shoeing cycle that a horse should have? A lot of the horses when I first started out were shod four times a year. That was the best, and I needed to tighten them up.

Do all of them need shoes? No, they’re on soft ground. A lot of our horses get along just fine without them if they’re tidied up. They don’t all need shoes, but the hoof wear is a little bit different on most draft horses, especially those that are working in the fields or working in the woods because they’re working at the walk. They never speed up. You always keep them at the walk, unless you’re going on roads. The heels get a little harder and the toe wears a little bit faster.

It depends on the breed too, because their feet are quite a bit different.

Clydesdales and Shires grew up in England or Scotland. A lot of the Clydesdales that we get from there live right along the border. They were bred for a specific environment and climate. If you go to that part of the world…

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Michael wildenstein 0913

Michael Wildenstein

Michael Wildenstein is one of only three people in the world to have passed the distinguished Fellow of the Worshipful Com­pany of Farriers examination in the United Kingdom with an “Honors” designation. He is the former adjunct associate professor of Farrier Medicine and Surgery in the Department of Clinical Sciences of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.

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