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Options for Break Over in Every Day Work

There are many thoughts on the subject of break over as it pertains to the horse's foot and limb function.  [more]

Forging a Plain Stamped Shoe

Roy Bloom, APF CJF 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.  [more]

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

Conformation of an owner’s horse can be a very sensitive subject. 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.  [more]

Radiographs for the Farrier

Radiology of the equine hoof is used to confirm various disease processes such as laminitis, third phalanx fractures, osteoarthritis (ring bone), navicular disease and extensive hoof wall separations. It has become quite beneficial for the farrier to use radiographs for guidance when trimming the equine foot.  [more]

Farriery for Mismatched Feet

The management of mismatched hoof angles remains a controversial subject for both the farrier and veterinarian. Mismatched feet could be defined as forefeet conformation which have a high or upright hoof angle on one foot and a low hoof capsule angle on the contra lateral foot (Figures 1a and 1b).  [more]

Sole Protection

One of the ideas we see in clinics and articles and in AFA certification is the need to be careful in paring the sole - taking only a minimal amount of sole. In many cases a good wire brushing will clean up the sole enough and no cutting may be necessary. Of course, any areas that look like they may be undermined or likely to be trapping bacteria should be investigated and pared as necessary.  [more]

Maximizing Your Energy Efficiency

The significant increases in energy costs in the past year, including propane, gasoline and natural gas have caused many of us to look for ways to reduce our consumption. There are many tips that we can apply that can result in lower consumption. The challenge, like always, is disciplining ourselves to adhere to the tips. We have a number of ideas related to your vehicle operation as well as some for gas forges.  [more]

Shoeing for Form, Function and No Pressure

By Doug Workman CJF

This is a show Hunter that has just finished a long show season.  He has come into my life for a little light training and to let mind, body and feet have a much needed break.  The life of a show horse being what it is, the farriers that work on them during the show season really have their hands full keeping these horses showing and sound.  The fact that the horses have limited turnout, two to three baths a day and a variety of footing to deal with makes keeping them sound a tough job. My hat is off to these farriers.  [more]

Treating Burns

Burns can be caused by fire, heat, sunlight, chemicals, electricity or radiation. Working with horseshoes, you have probably experienced some kind of burns and know they can be very painful. What you might not know is that the most serious type of burn may be the least painful. [more]

Emergency Support for the Hoof

By Dave Farley

Treatment for many injuries to the hoof can be aided by the immediate application of a frog support device. Veterinarians and farriers for years have found this first stage treatment to be complimentary to the more extensive treatment that may follow. Farriers can train horse owners to apply a simple device such as the Lily Pad that is described in this article. Remember that in many cases time is critical to the success of the overall treatment and immediate attention can often aid in recovery. [more]

Simple Steps to Provide Support

The aged horse that you see in the photos to the left has obviously been out of balance for some time. You know when you see a case like this you’re not going to fix all the problems that have been created. But you’ve got to start somewhere and the support you can provide can go a long way toward making the horse more comfortable. [more]

Choosing the Best Fit is Your Best Option

The Natural Angle has covered a lot of basic, everyday issues throughout the history of the publication. Perhaps no topic affects you more on a day-to-day basis than the choice of nails and shoes for your work. This article will be a reminder of some of the “best recommendations” brought forward by your peers in the industry; farriers that have risen to the top because they made excellence an everyday goal. [more]

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. [more]

An Alternative to Nailing

By Dave Farley

The technology that is available in today’s market has brought forth some products that can offer useful alternatives to nailing. There are a few reasons you might choose to glue on a shoe instead of nailing. [more]

Shoes for Traction

By Dave Farley

Most equine breeds and disciplines require some degree of traction in order to perform. A horse’s ability to perform would be extremely limited if you took away all traction. The natural concavity of the sole and the hoof wall provide a certain degree of traction when barefoot. Under domesticated conditions we normally apply horseshoes so we have to be prepared to provide adequate traction with the shoes. In the past, most traction devices had to be hand forged into a shoe. Advances in manufacturing technology have led to a number of ready made traction shoes and other simple methods to modify the factory shoe. [more]

Simple Steps Lead to Consistent Clinching

Two methods of clinching are the hammer clinch and the use of a clinching tool. Both methods have the same goal - to provide a neat, safe and effective clinch. In recent years, many farriers have come to rely almost completely on the clincher in their finish work. The following ideas and pictures illustrate some of the steps that can be used in this method. No matter what method you use, your clinches should be of consistent length and smooth when completed. Long clinches add no strength to the job. [more]

Hot Fitting Can Be Helpful

The industry has debated hot/cold shoeing for years. It will probably continue for many more. We asked for some opinions on the issue. It seems that even those that are hot fitting don't believe it is absolutely a must- and don't hot fit everything. They feel the foot prep and the final shoe fit are the most important thing- not how you get to the shoe fit. [more]

Maximizing the Slide of a Reining Horse

By Dave Farley

There are a number of variables that affect the performance of the reining horse. Breeding, conformation, mental attitude, footing, rider’s skill level and shoeing all have an impact. The best bred reiners have a natural ability for good lateral movement and sliding stops. Their conformation includes strong hind quarters and straight hind limbs (viewed from front or hind), with powerful shoulders to enhance turning ability. As a rule, the farrier cannot control any of the variables except the shoeing. [more]

Shoeing the Roping Horse

By Michael Chance, CJF

There are as many ways to shoe roping horses as there are horses. Each one is unique, with its own strengths and weaknesses. A sound horse with good conformation, in a desirable environment, would do well barefoot. Yet this scenario is rare. Their riders each have their own set of priorities, skill levels, and schedules to factor in. Because of all these variables, each horse should be assessed as a unique individual. Communication and observation skills are essential in determining how best to shoe each horse in order that he may perform at his peak within his environment. [more]

Wire to Wire - The Pressure Never Ends

By Steve Norman

My work at the Thoroughbred farms in Kentucky always starts with the evaluation process. This is especially critical working with the foals, weanlings and yearlings. This is a process that includes the farm manager or staff member in charge of the particular horses I'm working on. In the very early stages, when confronted with serious conformation and hoof imbalance issues that may be better treated surgically, I will ask that a veterinarian be consulted. The pressure on all parties in dealing with high dollar bloodstock makes this type of cooperation critical. [more]

Guidelines for Balance

By Bob Pethick, CJF

Farriers should not be trying to straighten limbs in aged horses. You’re simply trying to make the horse comfortable for it’s conformation. To help a horse become comfortable, you need to limit hoof distortion by trimming the hoof to bear weight as evenly as possible. A farrier’s key to hoof balance is being able to recognize the cause and effect of distortion. If uneven growth is allowed to continue unchecked, the hoof capsule distortion could cause a breakdown of hoof integrity and eventually lameness in the limb. Uneven hoof growth due to conformation problems will compound those problems. [more]

What kind of view do you have?

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. [more]

Fundamentals of Trimming

Many of the most experienced and respected farriers in the industry will tell you that the trim is the most important step in shoeing a horse. If you don’t get the trim right then keeping the horse sound and the hoof in good condition is going to be more difficult. We have a few simple suggestions regarding the observations you should make before jumping into the trim of a front foot. [more]

Keeping an Old Hunter Happy

By Doug Workman CJF

We all have these horses on our books.  They are heading down the back side of the hill in their working life and they need a little help from the farrier.  Now I’m not talking about crippled or lam horses per say, just horses with minor problems that are acquired from a long active life. This particular horse we will call Sugar Lump is just such a horse.  Sugar Lump is a  Hunter and lives the typical hunter life of bath in the morning, training, bath again, 3 to 4 days a week and shows on the weekends with more baths.  I don’t really understand all the bathing but it’s hard on the feet.  Aside from the feet being wet all the time things tend to get a little loose and run forward with age. [more]

The Cannon Bone as a Reference

By Dave Farley CF

This article will focus on the cannon bone and how it relates to the limb. We selected limbs with and without faults to show and explain what we see. Understanding the basics of these reference points will help develop your eye so you can help your horses achieve better health through better balance. Seldom will you find a horse that has perfect conformation and we do not imply that you should strive to "correct" a mature horse with faulty conformation. We do feel a farrier can help any conformation, good or bad, by trimming and shoeing to complement the conformation.   [more]

The Practical Application of Bar Shoes

By Stephen E. O'Grady DVM MRCVS

Bar shoes could be considered the foundation of therapeutic farriery. A bar shoe is one in which the heels are joined to form a continuous unit of steel or aluminum.  There are several patterns of complete bar shoes commonly used in therapeutic farriery including the straight bar, the egg bar, the heart bar, the heart bar-egg bar (full support shoe) and the “Z’ bar shoe.  It is important to realize and understand the multitude of benefits a bar shoe can provide such as increased stability of the hoof capsule, increased ground contact surface, local protection and recruitment of additional weight bearing areas of the foot.   [more]

12 Points of Reference: The Knee

By Dave Farley CF and Roy Bloom CJF

 The 12 points of Reference article printed in the last issue of the Natural Angle, 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. [more]

12 Points of Reference for Evaluating Limb Balance

By Dave Farley CF and Roy Bloom CJF

We have developed a list of reference points that have helped us in evaluating limb balance and developing a plan for trimming the hoof to maintain or enhance the balance. We are putting together a series of DVD’s that will go into the details of these reference points and how we see them affecting balance. The following list and images give a good overview of those points and will hopefully give you food for thought in your daily work. [more]

Sheared Heels or Heel Shear?

By Dave Farley CF

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. [more]

Baldor Grinder Capacitors - Low or High Voltage?

Baldor has long been recognized as the premier American brand of grinders and buffers. In order to service the farrier market, they have partnered with FPD to produce units that are easily adapted for use with various attachments such as Expander wheels, Multi-Tools, and various other useful options. [more]

In Belgium & Holland COARSE is good

By Red Renchin

I have been shoeing imported warmblood sport horses for wuite a number of years. One of my observations was that after being here for a while the shape of their feet would change . They would go from a nice round wide foot to a medium width . Then some would go to a narrow width and then into the long toe - low heel land of no return or just the opposite, to an upright dished or clubfoot look . Other farriers reported similar problems in other parts of the country. [more]

General Production Processes for Horseshoe Nails

By Bill Kleist

A book could be written about the history of horseshoe nails, but the intent here is to clarify some aspects and characteristics about today’s horseshoe nails and the way they are produced.

Short Background
Iron nails for holding horseshoes are found as early as 500 B.C. by the Celts in Britain. In the 1700’s horseshoe nails were hand-made by Journeyman Nailers. From the mid 1700’s to early 1800’s nails were produced in a variety of machinery. Typically all these machines used heated iron or steel in their production process. The development of better steel wire in the late 1800’s eventually allowed the development of cold forging processes where the horseshoe nail could be produced without having to heat the base material before forming the nail. [more]

Keep The Horse Going

By Dave Farley CF

Too often we are asked as farriers to shoe a horse that has an obvious problem but the trainer or owner insists that we don’t change much because the horse is doing well. That was the case with this horse. The crack was unloaded a couple of shoeings before by simply rasping (grooving) the wall about a half inch below the coronary. A groove like this should never be deep enough to reach sensitive tissue. I would have preferred to apply a heartbar shoe that was a size larger and also unload the wall behind the crack but was asked not to change the shoe. You can see that the crack is well below the coronary band now. [more]

Fitting Shoes for Balance

By Dave Farley 

Goals for fitting shoes for balance

  1. Establish good hoof/pastern alignment.
  2. Trim foot flat
  3. Use flat shoe
  4. Have foot land as flat as possible.

Begin your work by looking carefully at the hoof. Look from all angles, including from above and from behind. Mitch Taylor’s article about basic hoof preparation in Vol. 1 issue 4 of The Natural Angle discusses the importance of your close examination of the whole picture. [more]