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Glenn

Types of horse shoes and construction

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What are the different names and style of construction of horse shoes?

Regular shoe, rim shoe, bar shoe, egg bar shoe, heart bar shoe, cob shoe, etc. Why so many and what is the purpose of each?

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Haven't you opens a can of worms...

first we have to understand that a shoe is an alliance allied to the bottom of the natural hoof. It can be their because the hoof wears faster than it grows ( riding and driving on paved roads or rocky terrain, and putting on some real mileage) holding on a pad (another apliance that protects the sole and frog), supporting a damaged or deformed hoof, or just getting the bulbs up another 1/4" off the ground. 

Shoes have been around a wile, from the hipposandle that was tied on by the Greeks, the grass sandals used in Asia or the nailed on shoe we know. 

So the first place to start would be the simple hand made shoe. 

A bar about 3 times as wide as it is thick (some time 2 times some times 4 times) turned the hard way into either a pack man shape (front) or a delta shape (rear) with 6 nail holes punched in it (8 for draft horses) 

This dosnt provide the traction of the bare foot and if not shaped and installed right can do more harm than good. 

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I'm not a farrier nor have I ever been one, I have tacked on a few shoes in emergencies like most horseman have.  I have owned or handled about every type of horses in use in our area and every horse is different on shoe requirements.  Our Standard Breed Pacer race horses wore a flat Alum shoe, Our trail horses had heels and pads with oakum and tar under the pads.  Our draft horses we used in the woods we usually had replaceable cocks which we would pull them if they weren't to be used for a week or two to save our wooden stall floors, When we pulled the draft horses we usually had the cocks in as well.  Pulling ponies had their own style as well,  and the 3 day event horses and Dressage another.  Some times our 3 day event horses had a change of shoes after dressage and before cross county jumping or stadium jumping on the same weekend if our farrier was available.  I never owned or handled Flat Racers(bet on a lot of them) but know they have their own style and needs.   Our Fine Driving horses we had we used a lot of rubber shoes as they were on pavement a lot.  And we even had shoes on our Oxen when we worked them logging or maple sugaring. That is another whole story.  Interested to learn more here. 

The old saying about if you want to make a million $ with horses you need to start with 5 million is soooooo true. 

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Next on the list is the "keg shoe" originally mass produced and sold in kegs. The were vegly horse foot shaped ( not hind or rear, but a conviniant shape to manufacture) and were cut to length and shaped by the farrier. 

Modern keg shoes come in multiple sizes, most are still not hoof shaped. Some brands have a front and rear pattern, allowing them to be simply widened or narrowed and the heals adjusted to fit most horses.  

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On 5/13/2016 at 11:19 PM, Charles R. Stevens said:

Next on the list is the "keg shoe" originally mass produced and sold in kegs. The were vegly horse foot shaped ( not hind or rear, but a conviniant shape to manufacture) and were cut to length and shaped by the farrier. 

Modern keg shoes come in multiple sizes, most are still not hoof shaped. Some brands have a front and rear pattern, allowing them to be simply widened or narrowed and the heals adjusted to fit most horses.  

I just had a most terrible flashback to the hours I had to spend beating cold keg shoes because of my boss being too cheap for decent fire insurance. If you have ever tried to open up a size four shoe cold you have learned how it should not be done.

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Yes sir, I can say a #4 could be a challenge, lol I hope it wasn't a Kirchart! (They are hard, I have broken horse heads off when bending them cold)

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On 15/05/2016 at 11:12 AM, Charles R. Stevens said:

Yes sir, I can say a #4 could be a challenge, lol I hope it wasn't a Kirchart! (They are hard, I have broken horse heads off when bending them cold)

St Croix Forge for the most part. A couple of guys blasted near broke their feet when the old dead 120# anvil would hop off of its stump if they hit a shoe too hard. Not a great way to learn unless you really want to build muscle in your hammer arm. 

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I started out shoeing and drifted into ironwork, letting the horses go. If you are a stranger to horses and unfamiliar with horse lingo, you might not understand some of our explanations of the uses of various horseshoes. Before letting go of the horses, I kept a show Morgan horse account which kept me busy most weekends. Some of the front shoes were toe weights, hand turned. At that time, a few years back, the weight limit for a front shoe in the Park horse classes was 16 ounces, horse show rules. I made a front shoe out of about 9" of 3/8" x 1" mild steel. Each end was drawn/tapered in width leaving about 1 1/2" untouched by the hammer in the center. After turning, most of the weight of the shoe was in the toe. I put a hammer-roll on the toe. These shoes did not have the fullered nail crease. Each nail head placement was countersunk (hot stamped) and then pritcheled. I always used a toe clip,* each precut from 1/8" thick mild steel. These were arc or oxy welded on.

The Park horse's hoof was allowed to grow a little extra long, but there was a limit, again horse show rules. Before trimming, I used dividers to demarcate toe length. I also used a hoof angle gauge to determine the angle I wanted.

The horse trainer wanted pads put between the shoe and the plantar surface of the hoof. I used two pads together, one of sole leather, and the other, a proprietary degree pad made of composition material. Between the pads and foot sole, there was room to put a small amount of oakum and some pine tar.

For the hind shoe, I used a fullered shoe with forged trailered heel calks, medial and lateral. The toe was "squared." One leather pad sufficed.

Raison d'etre.  One might wonder what this was all about. This is about the horse show world and the horse owner winning ribbons and trophies. In this Park horse class, the horse is supposed to impress the judge with classy looks and airy, heightened, showy gaits, especially when shown at the trot.

The toe weight shoe has a sort of "pendulum effect" causing the front leg to fold more when flexed. The longer foot with pads gives the foot more presentation to the ground from before to behind, than a shorter bare foot would have. Therefore, the horse, not realizing that he/she has all that stuff on the foot, has forward motion of bone and muscle ahead of the foot leaving the ground.  When the foot does leave the ground, it does so with snap and increased elevation. When a horse picks up a front foot, the horse lifts the heel and rolls over the toe first. We call this breakover. With the longer foot and heavy shoe, the breakover is delayed.

Because of breakover, any shoe with a wear pattern will show more wear at the toe than elsewhere. A cowboy friend once told me, "Hell, I was 18 years old before I knew they weren't supposed to come off in two pieces." It's a yoke, son [sort of].

It is more difficult to get heightened action in the hind legs than in the fore legs because of the difference in conformation. We say that the horses fold in front and pull their hocks behind. Nevertheless, a longer shoe with heel calks is applied in an attempt to increase action in back.

I've had people tell me that this kind of shoeing is frivolous. I can only say that there are more horses in the U.S. today than there were in the 1915 census, and a great percentage of the horse activity is recreational. A small percentage of horse activity is with "using horses" such as cow horses and some draft horses. Yet the recreational horse world is large enough to be considered an industry. Big money. Horseshoeing is a part of that industry.

I have talked here about one type of shoeing. I was fortunate also to have been exposed to the shoeing of three and five gaited American Saddle Horses, Tennessee Walking Horses, bridle horses, Standardbred pacers for the track, hunters, jumpers, game horses, cutting horses, and your everyday backyard horses. All required different shoes, one from another.

*Clips are relatively thin projections rising from the outer edge of the shoe. They are visible when the horse is in the standing position. Their purpose is to keep the shoe from shifting on the foot. Even though the shoe is nailed on, sometimes it will shift backwards or get torqued, and this results in an undesirable way of moving or it results in a lost shoe.

 

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Oh, please ask questions! Lol. I know what Frank is talking about but I want to see the some good questions (and Frank's answers).

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We use to bring in 30-35 horses from Iowa & Indiana every spring to sell in Vermont.  they had never seen hills/mountains like ours and we soon learned they had to have heals on Frt. & Rear shoes to keep from sliding and falling down going down hill.  Learned that the hard way after injuring a couple horses.   

Always used leather pad with ocum & pine tar under the shoes to keep the small rocks from laming them.

A farrier friend always was amazed at the number of riders who come into an establishment near us to do a 100 mile 3 day endurance ride needing shoes some were missing others in two pieces.  He would work most of the night getting these horses shod and then the people would complain if they didn't make the ride all the way.  And always the same owners or stables would be the ones each yr. Every horse was different in their needs, Oh yah more than one check bounced from these owners as well, they did not get service the next yr.    

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Getting back to the original question, it would be difficult to say what a "regular shoe" is. In the U.S. and the U.K., an oft used riding horseshoe would have two fullered nail creases. The number of nail holes in each crease could be three or four. British shoes would sometimes have four on the lateral and three on the medial, seven nail holes on one shoe. Lucky horseshoe; lucky seven? When I began shoeing in the 1960's, we would normally crop the heels if need be, at an angle corresponding to the horse's hoof angle at the heel(s). The Brits usually hammer forged the heel without regard to angle, and many of us have begun to do the same in the U.S. Clips were optional. They were fairly common on athletic horses, such as hunters and jumpers, a toe clip on a front shoe, and two clips, one on each side, for the hind shoe. In the U.S., the stock size selected for the shoe was often 5/16" x 3/4" mild steel. In other European countries, the nail crease was not so popular as in the U.K. The shoes were simply countersunk (hot stamped) to accommodate each nail head. Making nail creases was a little more time consuming than countersinking. A nail crease widened the branch by the movement of the metal. To obviate that, the shoe branch was first hemmed, made narrower by edge hammering at a slight angle toward the ground surface. When the creasing fuller was applied, the shoe would regain its original width.

I have asked more than one horseshoer why there is a nail crease. I always get the same answer. The crease will fill with hard packed earth, and "dirt on dirt" traction is the best kind of traction.

A good reference is "Gregory's Textbook of Farriery" by Chris Gregory. The book is well illustrated with different types of horseshoes.

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Some of the brands of shoes are now moving tord 5 holes a branch, this allows one more options with cracks, splits etc. (or when you scre up and "quick" a horse. I know I have punched nail holes all over a shoe for  versus reasons (a driving horse with a habit of sticking his feet in barbed wire comes to mind, good horse but his hoves were a mess do to scars)  

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Getting to the bar shoe. A plain bar shoe would have the two heels of the shoe extended and bent inward "the hard way" to be welded in the center. The result was no longer an open heeled shoe. The bent and welded portion we call the bar. The bar shoe is reputed to be an all around therapeutic shoe. I suppose one could get into an argument regarding its efficacy. Say a horse has a hoof problem like a crack or a sole bruise. By applying a bar shoe, it gives the horse a "platform" upon which to stand, thus displacing weight from the affected part. At least, this is my feeling about its use.

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As the bar extends the foot backwards it moves the center of leverage back, rolling or squaring the shoe exagerates this effect (some mechanical and bioengineering papers exist that suggest as much as   40% reduction of strain on the flexor tendons) as Frank said its a good therapeudic shoe. Helping with such things as tendon injury, nevecular syndrome, laminis and with the addition of clips it becomes a splint for a broken coffin bone (P1) one can often "cheat" by punching an couple aditinal holes in the heals and reversing the shoe (open end at the toe and closed end at the heal) for a horse who is just in the stall or padock wile recovering, tho not so much When it's a working horse that needs a bit of help.

the square toe egg bar shoe with an artificial frog pad has displaced many other therapeutic shoes such as the tung bar and the raised heal. 

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May I commend to your attention the latest issue of Archeology magazine, the next to the last page has a picture of a Spanish Horseshoe provisionally dated 1535 found in South America.

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I had a brief period in the 1960's, shoeing a couple of Standardbred pacers. This was in Brooks, Oregon, and the owners were two bib overalled brothers, probably in their 50's. They had enough property that they had their own track for exercising the animals. They were very exacting about the shoeing, as the each horse was going to be driven to a sulky on the race track in Bellingham, Washington.

They had their own horseshoe swage which I used to draw the steel through in order to give the proper shape to the hind shoes. As I recall, the hind shoe was "3/4 swaged." The front shoe was light and flat, save for a curved, fullered groove at the toe. The shoes were of mild steel. There was no mention of aluminum shoes being used. It seemed at that time, that aluminum shoes were used most often on the tracks where horses were ridden at speed, not paced or trotted.

I understand from a Wall Street Journal article, July 16, 2013, "Some think Shoes Make the Horse but Others say Neigh", that aluminum and steel are used frequently on the harness tracks, There are proponents of both with some horses even wearing aluminum in front and steel behind.

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On ‎6‎/‎26‎/‎2016 at 1:16 PM, Frank Turley said:

It seemed at that time, that aluminum shoes were used most often on the tracks where horses were ridden at speed, not paced or trotted.

In the late 50's into 1963 I worked with an uncle with his Standard Bred Pacers at the tracks in NH and VT 2 to 4 horses as he trained for others and all of ours wore Alum. shoes for racing but in the winter and spring when we were keeping them  in shape and exercised they had light steel  shoes esp. in winter and they had what they called ice grips, they were melted cloths hangers to form round spots 1/8 to 1/4" high on the toes and heals. They also had leather pads F &  R to  keep snow from balling up under their foot but we always stopped at the barn door and checked each  foot so they  wouldn't slip on the floors.  The barn they and about 20 other horses wintered in were wooden floors and thousands of small round indents in  the wood from years of horses walking through. 

 I remember on Sat & Sun as a 13-15 yr old getting sent to the barn to exercise the horses for my  uncle( I think my father financed him most of the time)  30F and put on about everything I owned (long before the good cold Weather cloths we enjoy today) set on a jog cart and work 4 horses 5 miles or so each about froze when you got in from each of them warm up in the harness room and they would change the horses and off again for $1 per horse.  If I could stand it other owners were standing in line for me to do theirs but charged them $2 each.  I made decent money on a weekend back then but took me till Wed. to thaw out completely.

Like to see kids do that today. 

 

 

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A little about the rim horseshoe. In my early days of shoeing, I was only aware of one rim shoe on the market. It was mild steel and had a full crease or groove all around from heel to heel. The crease provided a place for nail holes. In use, the entire crease would fill with hard packed dirt which gave good traction. My use of the rim shoe was on a barrel racing horse and on a cutting horse. You can google "rim horseshoes" and find out a great deal by clicking images and descriptions. Nowadays, the shoes are steel or aluminum, some of them racing plates and some with toe grabs, the latter being low curved calks.

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Refound this " strange to me" horse shoe that followed me home from an auction or something years ago. 

Made by Phoenix I guess and has DRAFT 4F at the tip. What kind would this be? I'd guess for a draft horse. It's about 6 3/8" long and 5 3/8 wide. 

 

image.jpg

image.jpg

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Might be it BigGun, but I'm baffled as to how it'd work.

 

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its a draft horse shoe that has pre punched or drilled holes for removable studs. the holes are tappered. the studs were driven in with a hammer to a tappered fit. 

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Thanks seldom. I will have to double check tomorrow if they Are tapered. Interesting. I wasn't looking for that. what would the studs be for? Ice, mud?

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5 hours ago, Daswulf said:

Thanks seldom. I will have to double check tomorrow if they Are tapered. Interesting. I wasn't looking for that. what would the studs be for? Ice, mud?

There were a variety to choose from depending on conditions and use. Some were sharp for ice, others were blunt for softer ground.

Funny thing is modern shoeing makes use of studs and such whether they be screw in or drive in and here's you're example of it being at least 100 years old. Nothing new under the sun.

George 

5 hours ago, Daswulf said:

Thanks seldom. I will have to double check tomorrow if they Are tapered. Interesting. I wasn't looking for that. what would the studs be for? Ice, mud?

Holes won't be tapered. The stud shanks would be. Unless they chose instead to tap them and use the screw in kind.

George

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