Horse shoeing and nailing are crucial for horse performance and hoof health.
They should also be in line with each other.
I have seen a man shoeing his first horse. The first and second feet were very acceptable as far as nailing goes. By the time he reached the third and fourth foot he was tiring. Now the nailing was up and down. This was not a case of being lucky on the first two, but of fatigue, and rushing to get the job done on the last two feet. Even, accurate nailing can be done on every horse if the time is taken and conditioning and experience is present.
The nails used should be as small as possible.
A poor nailing surface is found when you remove a shoe and find that not only has over-sized nails been used but the questionable practice of removing a
piece of wall to set the clinch into, has also been done. This certainly weakens the hoof wall and creates a poor surface to nail back to.
The clinches should be rasped smooth.
If the horse is inclined to brush himself then the inside clinches should be rasped down. The reason the clinches should be turned over and smoothed down is because the turn of the nail fastens the shoe, not the length of the clinch. When it’s time to reset your horse the clinches can be easily straightened with no damage to the hoof. The clinches will not straighten themselves, providing the hoof has been dressed properly, the shoeing is proper size and not overdue or the horse has not been galloped on hard ground. The nails should angle almost at the direction of the hoof fiber. This damages as little horn as possible and pulls out cleaner. Obviously the heel nails will be angled more towards the front to avoid restricting the heel expansion. A compromise that should be taken.
While it is true that poor nailing is often the result of carelessness and hurrying, there are some legitimate reasons for uneven nailing:
- A horse that is jumping all over the blacksmith. Safety first!
- Holes, cracks or chips in the hoof wall. You’re only as good as the material you have to work with.
- False or thin wall at the quarter. Best to avoid quicking a horse, than pretty workmanship creating lameness.