Forging a Plain Stamped Shoe

By Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I provided us with an opportunity to get some good step by step shots of him forging a plain stamped shoe using 5/16”x3/4” flat stock. Notice that Roy, right-handed, works with his struck tools in line with his center-right side and is not trying to cross-over the shoe. This allows much more controlled use of the tools and allows you to strike the center of the tool in a balanced position. You are likely to get better results in the shoe and also avoid damaging your tool with off balance impact. You can see Roy talking about tool maintenance and forging in videos we have posted on our YouTube channel.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 16, Issue 3. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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The Tool Corner: Tool Maintenance

The overwhelming majority of tools that are returned to manufacturers of top tools are not defective. Most tools show obvious signs of misuse and/or lack of maintenance. Even under correct use you have to realize top tools are not lifetime tools. If you have used your tools properly and taken the time to maintain them you will generally find you get your money’s worth.

The following photos will give you some idea how simple it can be to extend the life of your tools. When reworking tools, the most useful piece of equipment in your truck or shop is a belt sander or disc grinder. The belt sander serves a dual function, it can also be used to bevel or dress shoes. Most rework is done with no heat in the tool. If you try to forge the tools back into shape you will probably destroy any heat treatment that has been done or create problems with the weld between the mild steel handles and the tool steel head.

Photo 1.
Any struck tool will need cleanup and maintenance on a regular basis. A driving hammer with its edges and the off center blows on a clinch cutter will cause minor mushrooming and then small chips to break loose. Be sure to dome the struck end of your tools and put a good chamfer on the edge.
Photo 2.

Photos 1 and 2. Any struck tool will need cleanup and maintenance on a regular basis. A driving hammer with its edges and the off center blows on a clinch cutter will cause minor mushrooming and then small chips to break loose. Be sure to dome the struck end of your tools and put a good chamfer on the edge.

When the head of your forging tools are struck off center often enough this is the result. Both ends of the tool have been deformed. Better hammer control and early cleanup would fix the problem.
Photo 3.

When the head of your forging tools are struck off center often enough this is the result. Both ends of the tool have been deformed. Better hammer control and early cleanup would fix the problem.
Photo 4.

When the head of your forging tools are struck off center often enough this is the result. Both ends of the tool have been deformed. Better hammer control and early cleanup would fix the problem.
Photo 5.

Photos 3-5. When the head of your forging tools are struck off center often enough this is the result. Both ends of the tool have been deformed. Better hammer control and early cleanup would fix the problem.

Photo 6.
Photo 7.

Photos 6 and 7. This e-head punch has been held too long in hot material and was struck while the tip was too hot.

Photos 8 and 9. Grind back to desired nail dimension.

Photo 8.
Photo 9.

Photo 10.
Photo 11.

Photos 10 and 11. Check against nail or use a guide. This one is made from aluminum.

Photo 12.

Photo 13.

Photo 14.

Photos 12-14. Put point on all forepunch ends. Right: Maintained and ready to go back to work.

Photos 15. The tip of this drift was broken. Grind the end back flat.

Photo 16.

Photo 17.

Photo 18.

Photos 16-18. Grind back to desired dimension, note slight grind curvature behind the tip to keep drift from changing your forepunched hole. An easy fix and it’s good as new.

Photo 19.

Photo 20.

Photo 21.

Photos 19-21. Pritchel with broken tip. Grind end flat. Grind to desired dimension. Use this approach to the wheel for aggressive stock removal.

Photo 22.
Photo 23.

Photos 22 and 23. Use this approach for finish control. Back to work but be more careful and you can avoid the breakage.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 3, Issue 3. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Shoeing For Deviations of the Fetlock and Pastern of the Hind Equine Limb

by Michael Wildenstein, CJF, FWCF (hons)

“Conformation of an owner’s horse can be a very sensitive subject.” – Ted S. Stashak

In my experience that statement is very true and includes individual horse owners that I felt were open-minded. Study the equine conformation; learn what is normal for a breed, discipline and environment. Use that information to modify shoes to enable the horse to do the best of its ability, in comfort, with the conformation it has. The study of equine conformation and the effect of modifications to the horseshoes on the hoof and limb can be overwhelming, yet interesting.

“Conformation, a major factoring soundness of the limbs, often determines the useful lifetime of a horse.” (Ted S Stashak) It is our responsibility as hoof care providers to take the conformation into consideration when defining shoe type, weight, size and modifications made to the shoes. “Every modification to the shoe has an influence on the biomechanics of the horse.” (Denoix, 1999) Historically, we have guidelines that are used when defining modifications to shoes, such as, “the principle thought should be to set the shoe, which should always be regarded as the base of support of the hoof, farther towards the more strongly worn side.” (Lungwitz, 1884) Another guideline, “if the shoe wears hard on the in or outside of the foot, place the wide branch of the shoe on the side of greatest wear.” (William Russell, 1887) I use historical references, as well as modern studies, to help define the modifications that will be made to a shoe. Knowing the environmental conditions, including the ground conditions are also taken into consideration. Artificial surfaces will require different modifications and shoe types than a natural surface.

Observe the shoe, hoof wear and the conformation of the hoof as this will give indications of deviations or issues above. Observe the horse in movement, standing in flexion and in extension for a complete evaluation of conformation. Radiographs and filming the horse in movement and reducing the speed of the film are useful information. (Photo, above right – Right Hind) This horse travels base narrow, the right hind is fetlock varus, pastern valgus. There is an abaxial rotational deviation at the hock. There is an axial rotational deviation from the Fetlock down. There is exaggerated rotation of the hoof as the hoof begins to break over. The hoof flares laterally.


  • Base Narrow = “The distance between the center lines of the feet at their placement on the ground is less than the distance between the center lines of the limbs at their origin.” – Ted S Stashak
  • Fetlock Varus = The limb deviates in below the fetlock.
  • Pastern Valgus = The limb deviates out below the pastern.
  • Abaxial rotational deviation = Twists out.
  • Axial rotational deviation = Twists in.
  • Rotation of the hind hoof during break over = “The result of a rotational deviation in the hock joint.”
  • Denoix flares laterally = “An outward distortion which may occur on any portion of the hoof wall.” – Millwater’s Farriery

When trimming, I follow the guidelines set forth by Michael Savoldi in trimming to uniform sole thickness. The width of web of the shoe is defined as twice as wide as the wall is thick. To define the wall thickness, measure from the outside of the live sole to the outside of the hoof wall. Traditionally the crease or nail line would be placed in the center of the web of the shoe. This would place the nail line over the white line. Uniform wall thickness on an average saddle horse is 3/8 inch; therefore a ¾ inch width of web shoe would be appropriate. Web width over ¾ would be considered wide web and under ¾ would be narrow web for a horse with a 3/8 inch thick hoof wall. A shoe with wide web would be used for greater protection of the solar surface of the hoof or to reduce traction. When defining thickness of the shoe, consider the weight of the horse, environment, wear, and integrity of the hoof. A thick shoe would be appropriate for a weak hoof, to increase traction for longer wear, or to increase the mechanics of modifications built into the shoe. When defining Shoe type, consider; weight of horse, conformation, condition, environment, rider ability, discipline and management.

A Kerckhaert DF Grand Prix which has a greater width of web laterally was used to allow for the modifications needed. The horse is large and heavy boned, capable of carrying the weight of the shoe The width of web was further increased laterally by extending the crease and setting the lateral heel down toward the inside width of web. The thickest part of the lateral heel of the shoe is under the viable hoof wall. The medial branch width is decreased by grinding. The shoe is perimeter fit to the hoof at uniform wall thickness. Pins are used for traction on the concrete the horse traverses on the way to the arena. It is important to minimize the traction on horses that have rotational deviations within the tarsus – or hock. In attempting to reduce the twisting we would inadvertently create greater stress to the hock. (Photo, above left – Left Hind) The left hind limb is not the same. The abaxial rotational deviation at the hock and the fetlock varus are the same. There is less pastern valgus and no axial rotation from the fetlock down. The medial toe has a tendency to flare. The lateral heel of the hoof is collapsing. Often the lateral heels on horses with this conformation will be painful. This hoof, in extension, travels further under the body and often beyond the midline. The modifications to the shoe on the left hind need to be consistent with the differences in conformation. Because of the differences in hoof conformation we know the stresses to this hoof are not the same as those to the right hind. The medial toe flare is addressed in trimming to uniform wall thickness. Because this hoof extends closer to the midline than the contra lateral limb (right hind) the width of web on the lateral heel needs to be greater than that of the shoe on the right hind. To address the compromised heel, the shoe is set down to the outside of the heel of the shoe. The shoe is fit to the perimeter of the hoof with the thickest part of the lateral heel of the shoe under the viable hoof wall. This lateral heel is fit full. In movement on soft ground the increased width of web will widen the stance. By setting down the outside of the lateral heel we are reducing the impact on the heel during the landing phase. This shoe is historically called a side bone shoe. This conformation increases the chance of formation of side bone. To shoe the horse for the conformation we are being proactive in changing the stresses to the hoof and limb. The medial branch is reduced in width with the grinder. The heel checks are cleaned up by forging and grinder.

The conformation of every limb and every horse must be evaluated before defining the shoes and modifications to be prescribed. I described the guidelines that were used to shoe this individual horse. The variables from one horse to another are great and many factors have to be given consideration. The changes are conservative and adjusted on a regular schedule. I encourage you to closely study the conformation of the horses that you provide hoof care and use the information to help you help the horse.

Historical references are from The National Museum of Horseshoeing, Sulpher, Oklahoma

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 16, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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What Kind of View Do You Have?

By David Farley

One of the steps to getting a good trim is often overlooked. If you don’t have a good view of the balance of the bottom of the foot it is difficult to get the best trim. How you hold the leg affects the view of the foot, sometimes dramatically changing the perception you end up with.

Many farriers have found that holding the leg in its most natural position is the best way to get a true picture of the balance. This applies to front or hind. Take a look at the pictures. Try holding the leg in the various positions. You may be surprised at the differences in what you might have done with the foot trim based on how you see the hoof
in these positions.

If you hold the front foot similar to photos 1 and 2 you are very likely getting a distorted view. Your hand, especially the thumb pressure, will push the hoof capsule in one direction or another. Holding the leg out from the body, as in photos 3, 4 and 5 will also create a distorted view.

Try holding the leg by the cannon bone and staying in line with the body. The hoof may be under the horse and you will have to crouch to get the view but it gives you the most accurate view of how the hoof aligns with the cannon bone and gives you a much better starting point for your trim. See photos 6, 7 and 8.

The hind view is similarly affected by not allowing the limb to hang as freely and near its natural position as possible. Pushing the leg out of position with your inside knee will make it difficult to see the true alignment of the hoof capsule to the leg. This is evident in photo 9.

Hold the leg under the hock joint and keep the cannon bone perpendicular to the ground as it is shown in photos 10 and 11. If the cannon bone is pulled forward or pushed back as it is in photos 12 and 13 it will distort your view – particularly of the toe and heel length.

Your trim should always be done with the alignment of the hoof capsule to the leg in mind. Hopefully these tips will help you to improve the view and the trim.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 9, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Time to Make Your Christmas List

Christmas is just around the corner and we have a few items that you might want to put on your Christmas list (or treat yourself). The products pictured below are available through FPD dealers. Find dealers near you at

Hoofjack Standard Green Base
with Accessories

The Standard Hoofjack® Base with Accessories will accommodate a pony up to a small draft or draft cross (hooves up to a size 7). Accessories include Post with cap, Post with cradle, 2 Magnets and screws and Tension knob. Some assembly required.

FootPro™ Economical Aprons

This FootPro Economical Apron has an excellent feel to it; features double knife pockets, protective leather pads, Velcro leg straps and an adjustable buckle belt. The apron is available in long, 30” and short, 25”. These aprons have green leather pads on brown cotton duck backing.

Bloom Forge and Diamond Loop Knives

Both the Bloom Forge and Diamond Farrier Loop Knives are excellent tools for general trimming but work especially well when working with the frog and bar area of the hoof.

The Bloom Forge Loop Knife complements the Bloom Regular and Curved blade styles already proven in the market and is made of high carbon steel. The Bloom Loop Knife features a laminated handle designed to eliminate pressure on wrists.

Featuring a stainless steel double blade, the Diamond Loop Knife allows for cleaner, more precise and symmetrical cuts. The Diamond Loop Knife is made with a hardwood handle, providing a comfortable grip for extended use.

Baldor 1/4hp Buffer

The Baldor 1/4hp Buffer (Red) has 1/2” shafts and operates at 1800 rpm. The shafts have been extended by 1” on each end to make it easier to keep knives away from the housing. The buffer is made in the USA and is painted red, to avoid confusing it with the 1/2hp grinder.

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Getting the Sharper Edge

By Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

The following is a method for knife sharpening that I have been using for some years. You may be able to use this method to improve your knife’s cutting ability.

It is important that you maintain a thin blade. The thicker the blade, the larger the bevel at the cutting edge. If the blade is thick, you have to use too much pressure to pull the blade through the cut; the thinner the better. A fine bevel is easier to maintain and offers less resistance, allowing the knife to cut easily. Pay attention to the size of the bevel on a brand new knife and try to maintain that size throughout the life of the knife. As you sharpen and use your knife, the width will decrease and as it decreases the edge will thicken. The blade will need to be thinned.

In the photo to the right, I am thinning the blade. I have taken a belt and cut it about 1/2″ in width. You can do this with any belt. Cut the back with a razor blade about 4″ and carefully

tear the rest. With the edge pointing up, so you can see the bevel and not get too thin, grind the knife to the desired thickness. Don’t let the blade get hot. If you see any color you have gone too far, too hot. Keep the blade cool by dipping in water after every couple passes. Use a new belt if possible, 100 or 120 grit. A new belt will cut quickly and the dipping of the knife in water will not allow the blade to heat up.

If your blade’s width gets down to 1/4″ throw it away. When the blade gets that thin it can break easily and that’s when you find it in your leg or wrist.

Now that I’ve thinned down the blade I need to establish the bevel. Photo (2) shows different makes of diamond hones. You want one that fits the hook size of your knife. Work the bevel into the hook (photo 3) and then the blade (photo 4). Some knives are made of a soft enough material that a small rat tail or triangle file can be used. Using files is good for serious roughing in but it produces a serrated edge, which is not desirable. If you start with a diamond hone you may never need a file.

Now that the bevel is established I go to the Scotchbrite wheel. This is a medium grit Scotchbrite. I have found this to be best for cutting quality. In photo (5) I am cutting a groove in the edge of the wheel. I have braced a rat tail file to cut the groove. The groove will allow me to thin and sharpen the hook. Using the Scotchbrite wheel, I can polish the whole blade and the bevel. You want to maintain the angle of the bevel through all the stages so pay particular attention to how you hold the blade to the wheel. Make sure the edge is down, otherwise your knife may become a permanent fixture in your forehead. Start with the hook (photo 6) and sweep through the blade (photo 7), always maintaining the angle of the bevel.

Now for the final polish. I use a medium felt wheel (photo 8) with the same groove cut in its edge as I put in the Scotchbrite. Apply green rouge to the groove edge and face of the wheel (photo 9). Use the same method as on the Scotchbrite so you can maintain the bevel angle and make as many passes as necessary to polish the edge (photos 10, 11).

Once you have achieved sharpness with the felt wheel the edge should last a long time, assuming you are using your knife carefully and cleaning the hoof. When your knife becomes the least bit dull, touch it up on the felt wheel. You should not have to go through all these steps again until the bevel gets too large. When it does just repeat these steps.

Many of the suppliers carry the various wheels, tools and materials you need for sharpening knives. If your supplier doesn’t carry them have them contact Bloom Forge or FPD for info on where to get them.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 5, Issue 4. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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12 Points of Reference: The Knee

By Dave Farley, CF APF-I and Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

The 12 Points of Reference article previously printed in the Natural Angle Volume 12, Issue 1, combined with the 12 points DVD “is a winning combination.” We both use these steps on every horse we trim. Each of the 12 points can be linked to each other. We have all heard the statement, “Every action has a reaction.” This is a very important statement when compared to the bones and joints in the lower limb of every animal we trim. Each digit of the lower limb could be normal for that particular equine. Likewise, there are several abnormal conformation faults possible for each digit in the lower limb of any horse. The more normal the conformation the easier to trim and shoe, if we pay attention and keep the limb balanced for that animal. The more deviation or abnormal the conformation of each bone and joint in the limb, the more important it is to properly trim and maintain that limb for the longevity of that animal.

PHOTO (RIGHT): Knees are turned out, however the foot is trying to be straight. This has resulted in a twist of the pastern and places the entire leg inside of center.

As you learn each of the 12 points, you will think of a particular animal you work on and start to wonder if you have done the best trim that you can. Proper trimming will improve the health of the limb as well as the health of the horse. If you improve the trim you will also improve the ability of that animal. If you improve the ability you will have a happy horse and a happy owner. Remember, every action has a reaction!

The first point of reference is the knee. We mentioned that the knee dictates the direction of breakover of that limb. As with each of the 12 points, we believe it is important to observe the horse at the walk as well as standing. Watch the limb as the horse walks toward you. Notice the action of the front limbs. Where is the knee in relation to the rest of the limb? Is the knee in the center of the limb (normal); as the horse moves, the knee breaks straight without the limb swinging in or out? Is it base narrow; toed out, as the knee breaks, the limb moves inward toward the center of the body, and the hoof swings toward the opposite leg? Is it base wide; toed in and as the limb breaks over it rotates out and the hoof wings outwards? After the horse is standing, we like to walk around the animal. Is the knee flat (normal) or is it angled out (base narrow) or angled in (base wide)? While this may seem a little confusing at first, a really cool thing will start to happen! After you watch a few horses move, and focus on the knee you will be able to predict the conformation of the rest of the limb before the animal gets closer to you. You will also be able to predict the wear on the hoof or shoe before you pick up a leg!

PHOTOS (ABOVE): Knees are turned out, feet follow knees and are turned out, leg is centered under knee and above foot.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 12, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Building Efficiency With Equipment Adds Profit

No matter what business you are in, building efficiency into your operation is a key to making more profit in less time. A shoeing business is no different from a manufacturing or distribution business. You need to look for equipment that helps minimize your labor and time spent in getting to the final product, the finished shoeing job.

There are a number of power tools and other pieces of equipment that can be worked into your rig setup that will help with everyday steps in shoeing. A propane forge is the most obvious. The ability to heat your shoes will make the shaping and modification steps much easier. Everyone runs into feet that are in such bad shape that simply punching additional nail holes will make an otherwise difficult situation easier to handle. This doesn’t require a large forge but can be done with some of the single burner units. Mounting the forge on a swing out arm or slide out will help get the heat away from the rig and more accessible for your forging steps.

A lot of horseshoers are finding a belt sander/grinder combo to be an extremely useful piece of equipment. The belt sander is more versatile than a grinding wheel as you can select coarse grit belts (24 or 36 grit) for heavy grinding and finishing of steel and aluminum shoes. A quick change to finer grits like 80 or 120 and you will have the ideal setup for maintenance of your tools. You can even cut fine belts to a narrow width and use them for sharpening knives. If you have room for a buffer you can mount various buffing wheels, like sisal, felt or Scotch-Brite® to use for final honing of your knives or cleanup of nippers, punches and other hand tools.

If you already have a grinder but it doesn’t have the belt sander you can buy an attachment like the FootPro attachment arm and mount it. They are available in a 2”x36″ or 2”x48” belt option. They are compact and have a 8” rubber drive/contact wheel that creates great belt speed and makes working shoes and tools very easy. These attachments work well on 1/2 hp or larger grinders. Expander wheels are another good option if you are primarily grinding shoes.

Don’t look merely at price when you buy equipment like grinders. You are making an investment and want to maximize your return. Buy brands like Baldor, Jet or Kalamazoo in order to get the most life from the unit. One of the easiest ways to compare quality is to check the weight of the units. A 1/2 horsepower unit that weighs 20 lbs. will not have the “guts” of one that weighs 35-40 lbs and will not perform as well or last as long.

If you are doing a lot of work with hunters and jumpers you will have to drill and tap for studs. For pleasure horses the drive in studs are excellent traction devices but require holes to be drilled. Setting up a small drill press will make these jobs much easier, with less broken drill bits and less effort. A drill press will also make the job of riveting pads an easy task.

Remember the key phrase – time is money. If you consider the time spent using inefficient tools or methods to get your work done you will see that the investment in a few key pieces of equipment will add significant profit to your bottom line.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 8, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Equipment Usage for Daily Applications

Articles in past issues of the Natural Angle have focused on techniques, tools and other methods of bringing more efficiency into the daily routine of shoeing horses. We’ve assembled some images of the more common daily applications for various abrasives equipment. You have to decide what kind of equipment works best in your rig and your practice. But don’t undervalue the time savings that can be realized.

Hoof Buffer
For years, everyone has used a second rasp, finishing file and/or sanding blocks to put the final finish on the outer wall. Now there is a hoof buffer that can help you get a perfect “10” on your wall finish. This hoof buffer attaches to a cordless drill; we’ve heard that an 18v or higher unit perform well. The buffer has an inflatable bladder that holds the sanding sleeve in place and allows you to follow the contours of the wall. Sanding sleeves are available in 60, 80 and 100 grit. You will need a small air pump when changing sleeves. As you can see from the images, the finish you get is excellent, all the way to the coronary band – and with far less effort than files or sanding blocks require.

Belt Sanders
A belt sander is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in today’s farrier rig. It can be used to bevel toes, heels or make other modifications to a shoe. If you are shaping cold this is a lifesaver. Working hot you might begin your bevels with the hammer as you shape the shoe but the belt sander puts a nice blend and final appearance on it. If you are using shoes that are wider in the heels to give more support, a belt sander can be very helpful to get the bevels you need to blend the fit and safe the shoe. There are a number of belt options for shoes: The 3M Cubitron is probably the best quality and life. Ceramic belts are also durable with a very hard crystal. Zirconia belts would be the low end for grinding shoes. Aluminum Oxide (brown) belts are even less expensive but don’t last as long. However, they work very well in the finer grits for dressing tools. Depending on how aggressive you want to be, a 24, 36 or 40 grit belt will usually work very well for shoes. If you want a smoother finish you can go to 60 or 80 grit.

The expander wheels have proven to be a great choice for a shoe grinding attachment. They don’t take up as much space as an arm and the belt speed is phenomenal on the 10” and even the 6”. Belt sander attachments like the FootPro 2”x36” or 2”x48” are popular because of the quick belt change feature and the 8” contact/drive wheel also creates excellent belt speed. You get at least twice the belt speed of the average belt sander with a 3-1/2” drive wheel. Be sure to use a grinder unit that can handle the work. A 1/2hp motor or larger will perform well unless it is one of the very light economy models sold at the mass merchandisers. Baldor has a number of options including the new 1/2hp two-speed unit. It can operate at 3600 or 1800 rpms so it can work well for your heavy grinding or your knife sharpening.

FootPro™ Double Sided Bench Grinder Disc

Sole Relief and Heel Checks
Many shoers are putting some sole relief into their shoes and adjusting the heel check to be sure of good cleanout. It can be a little difficult getting to the inside edges with a belt sander but a 4-1/2” flap disc on an angle grinder is one option. Perhaps a better option if you have a bench grinder is the new FootPro™ Double Sided Bench Grinder Disc. It should only be used on a bench grinder because of it’s design but it works like a charm. The recommended grits and types of crystal are the same as for the attachment arms and expander wheels.

Tool Maintenance
A belt sander is useful for maintenance and repair of tools. For tools you should use different belts from those used on the shoes. Most of the time your work on tools is not aggressive, unless you have let them go for too long. Zirconia belts work best when the grind is very aggressive, like the grind on shoes, which is constantly breaking the crystals. With tools you are not going to get good results with Zirconia. It will be difficult to break the crystals and you will end up with a glazed surface on the belt. The Aluminum Oxide belts are a better choice. You can also get an orange belt made by 3M that has a coolant already added. These belts are more expensive but they will last and help minimize the heat build up. The grit choices are many, but an 80 grit belt is a good starting point for the rough in, then you can go to 100 or 120 for a smoother finish. There are belts much finer than this if you are looking for an even smoother finish. The pictures indicate a few tool situations that fit into the belt sander scope. All of your struck tools should be dressed on the struck end to avoid chipping or pieces breaking away after severe mushrooming. Fine tuning your pritchels and punches and even clinch cutters is a very simple chore with the belt sander.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 8, Issue 2 . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Sheared Heels or Heel Shear?

By Dave Farley, CF APF-I

In this article, I will show you how I shoe a horse with a mild heel shear. In future articles, we will deal with the two severe stages that I call sheared heels. I will not attempt to diagnose the cause of this condition, which is explained in several great textbooks. Instead, I will shoe the horse just as I do in my everyday practice.

Most textbooks describe this condition as one heel being higher than the other, when viewed from the back of the foot. If you are a farrier, you see this condition often and each of us have our own way of dealing with sheared heals. In my business, I try to deal with the heel shear before it becomes a sheared heel. I personally believe that there are three stages of this condition. I approach each stage of this foot fault a little differently.

This case is what I call a mild heel shear. Notice that the inside heel is higher than the outside (see photo above). I consider this mild because the frog is still attached. If you hold the foot with both hands the heels will not separate and move independently. Also, notice that the bulb has little deformity when the foot is bearing weight and viewed from the rear. Most feet with this mild condition will not show any lameness or gait fault. I believe that feet should be as close as possible to the center of the limb above it. Notice that the wall of the high heel is straighter and does not have a normal angle. I take this into consideration when I fit the shoe.

I trim to the highest, widest part of the frog. I use a #2 Kerckhaert Grand Prix shoe. This shoe has a wide outside branch that helps horses with stiff and/or rotating hocks that need more lateral support. Using this shoe, I hammer and/or grind the inside branch. This takes away more medial ground surface of the shoe allowing the affected heel to sink more than the outside or lateral heel.

Notice the inside (medial) fit of the shoe. If you have a horse with this mild condition, and your approach is similar, this heel shear probably will never become a sheared heel. This horse is sound, happy and a ten mover.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 11, Issue 3 . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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