Basic Shoeing: Foot Finish

By Dave Farley

Your customers may never lift the foot to check your work but you can be sure they take a good look at the hoof as the horse is standing in front of them. A few minutes spent on a good finish will go a long way in keeping your customers happy.

We start our finish work when we pull the shoes. This work, as with most of the finish work, is done on the foot stand. This allows us to take a good look at the hoof and get some of the finish work done as a part of pulling the shoes. After cutting the clinches, we use the file side of the rasp to clean up the wall and begin to shape the hoof. We like to use the Bellota rasp which doesn’t have a real coarse file side.

On foot stand, use file side to begin clean up.

One thing we want to avoid are deep marks in the wall. Doing this work now also keeps us from having to worry about rasping around the clinches (or clips) after nailing the shoes on.

At this point we pull the shoes, using a crease nail puller to avoid any wall damage. After pulling the shoes be sure to clean the wall all the way to the end of the heels. It’s sometimes difficult to get to this area when the shoe is on.


After nailing, we bring the foot back to the stand and use the undercut before clinching to avoid marking the wall. Once we’ve clinched we lightly file the foot if needed. By using the undercut we can often bypass this step and go right to the sanding block. A good run with the sanding block should remove any file marks.

Our final step is to apply a sealant like the Diamond Hoof Defender. This can help with maintenance of the hoof. It only takes a minute and the customers appreciate the extra touch. Remember what they see when you’re finished.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 2, Issue 2 – written by Dave Farley, CF APF-I . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Dave Farley, CF APF-I

Dave-Farley-4Dave Farley, CF APF of Coshocton, Ohio has been shoeing horses for over 40 years. He has shod for a broad range of disciplines, including Western horses, Reining, Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers. His business today is focused on Hunters and Jumpers on the “A” circuit.

Throughout his shoeing career he has participated in educational functions. For a number of years he has been doing shoeing clinics in the US and Canada, many sponsored by FPD but also as a guest speaker and clinician at events like the AFA Convention and the International Hoof Care Summit. In 2000 he received the Clinician of the Year Award from the AFA, in recognition of his contributions to the industry. In 2008 he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

Dave is known for his willingness to share his knowledge and experience with farriers throughout the industry. His dedication is obvious to those who have heard him speak in the past. Dave is a founding member and Immediate Past President of the American Association of Professional Farriers. This is a national farriers association focused on continuing education for the trade.

He also partnered with Roy Bloom to form a video company called Hot Iron Productions. The goal of the company is to produce top quality video footage to help explain shoeing and forging concepts, including their latest issues, 12 Points of Reference – Balancing the Equine Hoof and Shoeing the Jumper.


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