What’s The Difference Between Hot And Cold Horse Shoeing? The Different Types Of Horseshoe Making


Hot Shoeing as it’s referred to in modern times is the applying of hot shoes to the horses’ hooves. The blacksmith then returns to the anvil to make changes if necessary, cools the shoes, and nails them into place. The advantages of this method are many:

  1. You can draw and custom-fit clips for added strength.
  2. Hot metal shapes easier and more accurately.
  3. The hot impression on the hoof shows exactly where the nail holes lie. This reduces the chance of pinching a horse.
  4. The highs and lows of a dressed hoof will show and be corrected. To tell whether or not the shoe has been put on the hoof perfectly flat, take a stiff card and run it around where the shoe and hoof meet. It should not slip in at all.
  5. The hot shoe touching the hoof wall will make the wall impervious to water. You will obviously want proper moisture in your horse’s hooves but you don’t want a mushy foot to nail to. The wall of the foot has only 16% water with the main moisture being carried in the periople or varnish layer. (50%)
  6. The hoof is not as apt to split when nailing if the horn has been touched with the hot shoe.

Sometimes the impression of clouds of smoke cascading to the roof of the stable is left by the adversaries of hot shoeing. It’s further pointed out how the moisture is drawn out of the hoof by using this method. Naturally both of these points would be true if the hot shoeing system was applied wrong. An automobile in unqualified hands can be extremely dangerous, while in proper hands is of unlimited usefulness.

Cold shoeing is to take a cold shoe and shape it as best you can to the hoof and nail it into position. Even if clips have been drawn(or purchased clipped) with heat but the hot shoe has not touched the hoof, this is still cold shoeing. If the horse has shoes put on hot but when it’s time for a reset the shoes are not heated and again touched to the hoof hot, then the reset is cold. This is common because the shoes have already been custom fitted and so a cold reset is practical. Also if the shoes have caulks, the center borium pin will often loosen and drop out if re heated. Now, there may be other good reasons as to resetting cold, but that’s not the point. You should recognize the difference between hot and cold shoeing and know what is being done. There is a time and place for cold shoeing but the advantages of this system are mostly in favour of the blacksmith.
(Race horses excluded)

  1. It’s a faster system
  2. It’s less expensive for the blacksmith and owner alike.
  3. This is a practical method for someone who wants to do their own horses. The investment in equipment is much less as is the skill required.
  4. This is a good method for skiddish horses.
  5. If the blacksmith is not able to get close enough to the barn with his forge because of weather, etc., cold shoeing is the answer.

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