The care and well-being of a horse are dependent on regular hoof care maintenance. This will include various tasks for the horse owner as well as regular visits from a competent farrier.
Looking down on the hooves
- The feet should have the same toe length. There are variables, so ask your farrier if you are wondering.
- The hoof angle should be similar to the pastern angle. With the introduction of the NB protocol, this point can vary.
- The toe of the foot should not be blunted or snubbed off to meet the edge of the shoe. There are exceptions, but an ugly duck-footed look is not at all necessary. This probably indicates that the farrier doesn’t fully understand the protocol.
- The shoe should not be nailed to flares or wings. This is done on some draft horses to give them a larger base look. Still not strong.
- Nails should all be the same height, and in the same line if possible.
- Clinches should be smooth because the strength is in the bend, not the length.
Pick up the hoof to check
- The shoes should not usually extend past the heels of the hoof. Definitely exceptions to this rule.
- Ample width of the shoe heel to support the heel of the hoof. (buttress) Very desirable.
- No space between the shoe and hoof wall. (It can happen through no fault of your farrier.)
- The shoe should be resting on the wall and bars of the foot with some sole support.
- The channels at the side of the frog should be clear to avoid stones from lodging in the hoof.
- The sole should be concaved but should not spring under thumb pressure.
NOTE: Checkpoints 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 are absolutes.
There may be a good reason for not adhering to checkpoints 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. If you find that the setting is different, ask your farrier and he’ll be glad to show you the reason. You can’t learn if you don’t ask.