Useful Tips

What horses need to be shoeed and how to do it


In nature, horses ride where it is more convenient. Therefore, their hooves do not wear off too quickly. It is quite another thing when an animal is used for riding or for performing any kind of work. In this case, the hooves may thin out or change shape in a short period of time. Correct the situation by horseshoeing. This procedure does not deliver any pain to the animal. His hooves remain intact for a long time. And of course, a horseshoe feels much more comfortable during work.

A bit of history

People began to protect horses' hooves with metal a very long time ago - back in the first century AD. However, at that time not horseshoes were used, but special iron covers. Of course, in such "shoes" the animal did not feel very comfortable. The horseshoes themselves began to use the Celts. Later, in the sixth century, this tradition was adopted by the Germans, Slavs and Vandals. In those days, it was also believed that a horseshoe (a photo of such animals can be seen on this page) works better.

Horseshoe steps

This procedure itself is performed by people of a rather rare profession today - blacksmiths. In order for the horseshoe to feel comfortable, the procedure should, of course, be carried out using a certain technology. Make a horseshoe in several stages:

The animal is examined in peace and motion. Previously, the horse is placed on a flat platform to determine the setting of its legs.

Remove the old horseshoe.

How to remove a horseshoe?

Before performing this procedure, the blacksmith clamps the animal’s foot between the knees so that the shin is in front of him. Then he raises the horse's limb up and chopped off or bends off the wing of the lamb. Actually, the procedure for removing a horseshoe itself looks like this:

Forging mites are placed between the horseshoe and the hoof in the heel.

Their handles are directed downward, pulling the horseshoe alternately on one and the other branches.

They hammer the horseshoe back with a hammer.

The mites of the left nails are caught with mites and pulled out of the hoof. This procedure usually begins with the calcaneal part.

Outsole trim

The horny part of the hoof in horses grows quickly (approximately like nails in humans). And sometimes not too evenly. Therefore, before attaching the horseshoe, the sole should be aligned. Among other things, this procedure in some cases allows you to correct the incorrect setting of the legs of the animal. A horseshoe shoe that has a similar defect can be used more intensively in work. Hooves are trimmed using a rasp in the direction from the heel parts. In this case, only the cracked dead horn is removed (leaving a thin layer of it). Trimming should be done as carefully as possible. If a too thin layer is removed from the hoof, then the horn may break off. If the blacksmith, on the contrary, “overdoes it,” the horse can be injured when used in work.


Horseshoes for horses are made on site or purchased ready-made. Their size can be different (from 0 to 8). For the front and rear hooves, unequal horseshoes are used. Measure is usually taken using a twig or ruler. To select the correct horseshoe, you should know the width of the sole in two places, as well as its length from one of the heel nodes to the middle of the hook.

Horseshoe Fit

This procedure should be performed without fail. In this case, the main rule must be observed: the horseshoe is fitted to the hoof, and not vice versa. After horseshoeing, the metal should fit as tightly as possible to the hoof. Achieving this is the main goal of the fit. The nails on the horseshoe should be opposite the white line. Also, when performing the fitting, it is necessary to ensure that in the lateral and hook parts the metal protrudes beyond the hoof by 0.5-1 mm, on the heel - by 3 mm, from the heel angles by 4-8 mm in riding animals and by 10-15 mm in harnessed.

Horseshoe nails can be used in different lengths. Hammer them in the hoof with light blows of a hammer. Previously, the horseshoe is fixed with two nails. Then the blacksmith lowers the horse's leg and checks the correctness of its location. Displacements are eliminated by light hammer blows. After the horseshoe has taken the necessary position, it is fixed with the remaining nails.

A well-grounded horse works much better. But in any case, this operation must be repeated periodically. The time interval between the replacement of the horseshoes depends primarily on the conditions in which the animal works, as well as on the growth rate of the stratum corneum of the hooves. Usually horses are reforged once a month and a half.

So, we have figured out how to shoe a horse. For beginners blacksmiths, we hope this information will be useful. The main thing when making a horseshoe is to align the sole of the hoof well and secure the horseshoe correctly.

Why horses horseshoes

The ancestors of modern horses lived in the wild. As you know, nobody shoved them. However, man has “shod” pets for hundreds of years. There are several main reasons for this:

  • Wild horses in nature themselves chose the road. They tried to ride on grass, soft soil, bypassing uncomfortable areas with sharp stones, crevices. With a man, this opportunity has disappeared. The load on the hooves increased.
  • Horses were the main transport. They had to carry heavy loads of people. Riders sometimes wore armor. All this seriously loaded hooves.
  • In natural nature you will not find stone roads, paving stones and other coatings that also harm the limbs. Their upper hard layer is destroyed faster than it grows.

Ancient people tried to protect the hooves of horses. At first they wore a kind of reed shoes or leather "sandals". Probably, such products first appeared in Asia. Around the 3rd – 4th centuries people have mastered working with metals well. Horseshoes have acquired an almost modern look.

Today, horses are not used so actively, so they stand in the stables for a long time. The upper stratum corneum of the hoofs becomes softer. It erases faster, breaks through pebbles. As a result, minor injuries, deformations appear.

Another problem is the dry hoofed horn, which also causes injuries. The appearance of a dry horn provoke sand arenas, the floor is made of asphalt in the stall. Often moisture is retained with the help of special ointments. The drugs are usually imported, expensive and not always effective. As an alternative, use olive oil or regular clay, which is lubricated overnight soles.

Dirt, germs get into cracks on hoofs. Inflammation begins. The animal is uncomfortable, lame. Sometimes horses, because of pain, completely refuse to move.

After injuries, horseshoes are already needed. They protect the damaged areas of the hooves, and perform the role of orthopedic products. For example, foals 3-4 months correct hooves.

Horseshoes improve movement - they help not to slip on ice, wet grass, earth. Grounded horses are easier to deal with obstacles, for example, in sports. Appearance during performances also wins.

When you can not shoe

"Shoe" the horse is not always necessary. It depends on the working conditions - intensity, cargo, soil hardness. When the hooves are in good condition, and the horse runs on soft ground, it is advisable to abstain from the procedure. Previously, they did this:

  • In the 8th – 9th centuries in Italy and France, only horses were forged that rode along solid city roads.
  • In the south of the Russian Empire, working horses were “shod” for the winter and in the mud. This protected against ice and blurry, slippery dirt roads. In the summer, horseshoes were not used.
  • In Mongolia, once horses were not taken to blacksmiths. The local breed is remarkably strong hooves. Plus they cared for little animals. Although shepherds in other countries, for example, ours, also did not forge their horses.

Today the same principles work. But sometimes without forging it is impossible. For example, in sport, a horse weighing about 500 kg with a rider overcomes an obstacle of 1.5 m in height. When landing, the legs beat against the ground with a force of tens of tons per 1 m².

If the horse is not shod, this does not mean that the limbs do not need care. All the same, they are regularly cleaned, hooves are filed.

How to choose a horseshoe

Today you can find products from different materials. They differ in quality, purpose, shape and other characteristics.

Classic horseshoes are usually made of steel. The carbon content in the alloy is small, so they can be adjusted even without heating. For the front legs, the horseshoes are made round, for the hind legs they are slightly elongated. This is due to the shape of the hooves.

A classic horseshoe is a narrow plate curved by an arc. Includes several parts:

  • heels are rounded ends,
  • hook, or lapel - a protrusion in the opposite front part,
  • branches - external and internal - connect the first two elements,
  • holes for nails.

In the ice or when running on frozen grass, more spikes are set. Holes are also sometimes made for them.

The lower surface of the horseshoe is in contact with the ground, the upper - with the hoof. When choosing, pay attention to the branches. The outer part serves as a support. It should be as smooth as possible. If the branches are uneven, the horseshoes do not fit snugly on the hoof. As a result, the load is distributed incorrectly, unevenly. The stratum corneum is damaged.

Inspect the holes for nails. Forging and animal safety depend on them. The location, contours, shape and other nuances are important:

  • At the bottom edge of the horseshoe there is a nail track - a recess for the hats, thanks to which they do not protrude and are less worn out.
  • There should be no holes close to the heels and toe. Excavations in the wrong places will result in personal injury. Nails damage tissue under the stratum corneum.
  • The number of holes depends on the size of the horseshoe: 6, 8, 12.

There are 13 sizes of products. Each one has certain weight, thickness, size between the heels and other characteristics, according to which the model is selected for the mount.

Horseshoes are usually sold in pairs: separately for the rear or front hooves. The width of the canvas at the middle is 22 mm, the thickness is 8. Choose a specific view depending on the purpose:

  • Simple standard heels. Use for draft horses. Weigh 200–720 g. As a rule, removable spikes are included. Winter is longer and sharper, summer - on the contrary. Manually made in factories or in forges.
  • Orthopedic. Made of steel, aluminum, plastic. Design, shape are different, depending on injury or defect. With such horseshoes, hooves heal faster, and pain during movement is less. Appointed by their veterinarian.
  • Sports. They are made of spring steel and other alloys, aluminum. For each sport, its own varieties are suitable. The lightest - for horse racing: up to 120 g.

There are modern plastic constructions for which nails are not needed. They are replaced by spring mounts, straps. Plastic horseshoes look like sandals, are easy to fasten, and are quickly removed. Are expensive.

A cheaper modern look is also made of plastic, but their design is simpler. Such horseshoes are more similar to the usual ones, they are fastened with small nails or special glue.

How to shoe a horse

It is not worth it to wear products yourself at home. This is a difficult and dangerous job. Many nuances are taken into account, preparation is needed. In the event of a mistake, a person or animal will need serious medical care.

In the Russian Empire and in Soviet times, there were many good blacksmiths. Today, horse forging traditions are gradually lost. Among modern masters, you can focus on Valery Zhigun and Yuri Kolubelov. A good blacksmith must know the anatomy of horse legs, right down to every tendon.

Tools are conditionally divided into two types:

  • for manufacturing, fitting: anvil and others,
  • for hoof dressing: hammer, nippers, pincers, rasp, knife with a rounded end.

The procedure consists of the following steps:

  1. Training. They clean the hooves of dirt, sawdust and other things. Use a special hook. Bring the animal to a special machine. Unaccustomed or nervous horses sometimes resist. They are tied to the machine. There should be no other horses or food nearby. It is harmful to use a sedative.
  2. Take, bend the front leg, "saddle" the back. Pry off old horseshoes with ticks, tear off.
  3. Clearing a horse. Remove excess cornea and unnecessary parts of the arrow - elastic shock absorber. To remove the layer of the old sole, take a knife with a rounded end. Grind, level with a rasp. Particular attention is paid to the hook area.
  4. Try on a horseshoe, prepare suitable cloves. The latter are used only once. Do not wear short horseshoes. So the load is distributed incorrectly, joints suffer.
  5. Even if the size is known, and the horse "at the reception" at the blacksmith is not the first time, each horseshoe is customized. Do it manually using an anvil, hammer.
  6. Don a horseshoe. The first nail is driven into the hole closest to the hook. The second is opposite him. Further down to the bottom of the horseshoe, alternating sides. Nails stick out, but if everything is done correctly, the horse does not hurt. This is the same as piercing or sawing off the overgrown end of a nail in a person. Nails are bent.
  7. Customize the horseshoe. Hammer on the hook.
  8. Put the animal’s foot on the boner. So they call a large pin made of metal. At first it is placed in front of the horse. For the hind limbs, the riser is placed slightly to the side of the horse’s abdomen.
  9. Remove the protruding tips of the nails (lamb). Their stumps are pressed tightly to the hoof. For this, the exit point from the bottom is slightly filed. Moreover, the length of the bitten lamb is approximately equal to the width of the nail. Treated tips should be at least 2 cm from the edge of the horse's sole.
  10. Hooves are treated with a rasp, their edges are leveled. When everything is done correctly, in the hook area the horseshoe protrudes by 1 mm, from the side - by 2, in the heels - by 3-4. The numbers are not random. When moving, the heel extends 6-8 mm. Take into account the characteristics of the animal, soil. For example, when working in the snow or in deep soil, less exhaust is needed. Otherwise, the horseshoe will come off quickly. Young horses often step on their feet and tear off horseshoes. This release is not needed at all.

Some sports horses are “shod” with only their front legs. For city animals, for example, police officers use spikes.

How often does a replacement take place

New horseshoes for horses are required approximately every 45 days. This order came from the Russian cavalry. Although then the horses in the stalls had clay floor, covered with sawdust. Today, asphalt is more common. Cavalry horses galloped more often on grass, ground, and not on sand in the arena or stone pavement.

The replacement period is approximate. Take into account individual characteristics. In different individuals, under the same conditions, the cornea grows at different speeds. Someone change their horseshoes every month, others normally walk and two.

Much depends on nutrition, loads. Movement and proper diet help proper metabolism. Overfeeding, for example, oats, also harms the state of the hooves.

Forging a horse is a procedure that requires skill and certain knowledge. Few do the job right, with serious consequences. It is better to consult a veterinarian and entrust this matter to a good blacksmith.

What are horseshoes for?

Now everyone knows why horseshoes. Horse hooves are strong enough to move on the virgin soil, avoiding sharp stones, crevices. Instinctively wild horse herds were able to choose their own convenient paths. Currently, horses are in stables for a long time, they do not have freedom of movement. For this reason, the stratum corneum of the hoofs softens and quickly erases. This leads to cracks and other injuries through which dirt and all kinds of microbes get, inflammation begins. The animal first limps in pain, and then does not want to move at all.

In order to avoid the appearance of inflammation on the hooves, a horseshoe is required

To avoid this, horse hooves need to be forged in a timely manner. Why do horses need horseshoes? They help not to slip on wet ground, grass or during ice. By protecting and correcting injured or deformed hooves, equipping horses makes their movement easier. In equestrian sports, savvy horses overcome obstacles more easily and look more graceful and graceful during dressage. To do this, use different types of horseshoes, depending on the purpose. For the front hooves, round-shaped devices are made, and for the rear hooves - slightly elongated. This corresponds to the physiological structure of horse limbs.

Horseshoe design

A simple horseshoe is a metal curved plate with branches (part of the horseshoe from the hook to the heel). There are two of them: internal and external. The upper, or inner, surface of the plate adjoins the hoof, and the lower, outer, is in contact with the ground when walking. In front of the canvas is a hook or lapel, a small ledge. On the horseshoe there is a track for nails, holes for spikes that help to hook the horseshoe to the ground, the inner and outer lateral edge. Кстати, шипы необходимо прикрепить в период гололёда или во время скачек по мёрзлой земле. Одним словом, поверхность подковы делится на три основные части: зацепную, боковую и заднюю.

Плоскость подковы, примыкающая к роговому покрытию (или рогу), условно делится на внешнюю и внутреннюю. The outer surface has a large area and should be flat and perfectly fitted, as it is the support for the entire hoof. On the lower, also horizontal, but not continuous surface, there is a nail track. Hats of nails, drowning in it after nailing, are not erased. There is no track in the hook and heel areas. Carefully nail the horseshoe so as not to damage the tissue under the cornea. Use 6, 8 and 12 nails, matching the size. In total there are 13 sizes of horseshoes. On sale, they are presented in pairs for the hind and forelimbs.

Variety of products

They are divided into three large groups: standard, sports and orthopedic. Inside each group there are types of horseshoes that are designed for their intended use.

Standard simple horseshoes are used for workhorses. Their mass depends on the size: ranges from 200 to 700 grams. They are made complete with removable spikes. Winter horseshoes have a pointed elongated shape, and summer horseshoes, on the contrary, are rounded and low. They are made both in factories and by professional blacksmiths.

Sports horseshoes are used for forging horses participating in various equestrian competitions. They can be aluminum, steel, titanium, depending on the type of competition. For example, for horses they use horseshoes weighing no more than 120 grams, and for multi-athletes they use products heavier, up to 200 grams, and more massive, with a thickening and sides on the sole.

Orthopedic structures can be made of steel, aluminum or plastic, taking into account individual injuries or the condition of the cornea of ​​the hoof. Serve products for the rehabilitation of a sick or injured animal.

Interesting! The latest modern horseshoes for racehorses differ significantly from their predecessors in appearance (similar to sandals on straps and spring fasteners). Such products do not need to be pinned with nails, but must be attached with straps, this reduces the time for replacement of horseshoes. The high price does not allow each horse owner to have such designs. But for them there is an alternative: a simplified version, also made of plastic and similar to simple horseshoes. They can be nailed with small cloves or planted on special glue.

Forging tools

How to properly nail a horseshoe, a real professional blacksmith or hammer knows. He is well aware of all the tools used in this difficult process. Usually a standard set is used, consisting of a trim (a hook for hoof care), pincers to remove old horseshoes, choppers or a knife to remove the old layer of the sole, forging hammer, rasp, nail file, nails (pluckers), pliers to remove nails and Of course, anvils. Stolen can be used only once, they can not be reused. Nowadays, few blacksmiths will be able to cope with this task. You need to have some knowledge about how to properly shoe a horse, how to clean up a horse's hooves before, how to clean a horseshoe from rust, and many other secrets in handling these animals.

It is important! Sometimes blacksmiths use the machine for forging in cases where the horse is scared or impatient, does not stand still. A novice groom should especially remember this.

Forging process

Do horses often need to be horseshoe? It all depends on the physical activity of the animal and the growth rate of the cornea on the hoof. Simple workhorses are forged once every 30 days, more often for horse-riders.

Domestic horses that rarely ride on an asphalt road do not need to attach horseshoes at all. The forging procedure is not fast, because the animal first needs to get used to the master, only then you can gradually begin to work. Sometimes the process itself takes several days. How is it carried out? First you need to remove the old horseshoes, then well clean the sole, removing dirt. After that, measurements are taken, after trying on, you can nail a horseshoe. But this scheme is the big picture. If we consider the whole process, then it can be divided into 10 stages:

  • Stage 1. Crocheting the edges of the hoof from sawdust, various debris, so that it is convenient to remove the old "shoes", is not difficult. It is important to do this carefully.
  • 2 stage. Then, with a sharp movement, pluck the horseshoe with nails with a sharp movement.
  • 3 stage. It is necessary once again to thoroughly clean the hoof, then with a hoofed knife, cut off the overgrown cornea from the hoof.
  • 4th stage. To grind a hoof saw with its surface and edges so that it becomes smooth and flat. Why? Because it depends on how smoothly the horseshoe will fit.
  • 5 stage. In the same sequence, clear and process the remaining three limbs.
  • 6 stage. Measurements are taken and the horseshoes are fitted.
  • 7th stage. Re-try on the product and pin it to the hoof. This is the most difficult and crucial step. A small inaccuracy can result in leg injury. If all forging conditions are met, the animal will not feel discomfort, because there are no nerve endings in the horn. Drive nails in the desired sequence (the first - in the first hook hole, the second - on the contrary, and so on to the end) and strictly at right angles to the horseshoe.
  • 8 stage. Bend the ends of the nails with a hammer, pin them to the lower edge of the hooves and fit the hook tightly.

It is important! It is necessary to avoid inaccuracies in the work at this stage. If there will be a shift during nailing, then the work will have to be redone and beaten up again, because the horseshoe will begin to hang out.

  • 9th stage. Remove the ends of the nails by trimming. To do this, you need to raise the horse’s legs one by one on special iron supports, which are placed in front of her and under her belly.
  • 10 stage. Final. Re-grind the edges of the horseshoe and hoof with a rasp. If necessary, secure the spikes. Since there are no openings for them on new horseshoes, you can drill yourself so that they correspond to the diameter of the tenon.

This completes the shoeing procedure. Thus, in the presence of a certain set of tools, skill and love for animals, a koval can successfully shoe any horse.

Interesting! Adults and children know that in the old days a horseshoe was beaten for happiness above the entrance to the house, above the door. People believed that it brings good luck and protects its owner from misfortune and ailments. It doesn’t matter if it was bought or found. The main thing is that the horseshoe should be holed, that is, removed from the horse's hoof.

In the modern world, you rarely see a man who is keen on horses. To questions such as “Does a horse hurt when they shoe it?” And “What do horseshoes make of horses?” It’s hardly possible to get the right answer from ordinary people.