No doubt, keg shoes are time and money savers, but do farriers rely too much on these? Have some farriers become so comfortable with mass-produced shoes that they have abandoned necessary modification?
Nashville, Ga., shoer Chad Rice thinks so. He works on a wide variety of horses, such as barrel, roping, reining, cutting and race horses. “I think there are some wonderful keg shoes being made today, but I strongly believe that too many horses are being shod with a shoe that simply does not fit,” he says.
“As far as tweaks, a farrier has to remember what kind of horse he or she is working with. Cold shaping is okay for standard backyard horses that don’t require any special modifications. You can get a nice shoe fit with just a hammer and anvil. But when it comes to the show ring, I think a horseshoer that is good in the fire can make a more competitive and definitely a more comfortable horse.”
Rich Cleland of DeBary, Fla., uses “keg shoes probably 95% of the time.” However, he feels you should know your way around bar stock. “Don’t get me wrong, I think every farrier still needs to understand how to make a shoe from scratch,” he says.
“Although the keg shoe can be modified into a specialized shoe, such as a heart bar or bar shoe, there are still times you need to be able to make braces and other special needs.”
Aaron Hazel of Blanchard, Okla., thinks too many farriers use the shoe’s shape as the guideline. “It should be the opposite,” he says. “If you go off the white line, you’ll see that it is not the same shape as a keg shoe. We have to support the weight of the foot the best way to insure proper movement.”