Hot Shoeing vs Cold Shoeing

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Q: My farrier used to cold shoe my horses. Now he is HOT SHOEING them. Can you tell me which is best and why?


A: You have opened a can of worms. Long has this question been asked and debated. Hot shoeing vs. cold; which is better? The fact of the matter is on a healthy normal foot requiring normal shoeing, one method is as good as the other when practiced by a skilled farrier.

Hot shoeing requires forging skills that cold shoeing does not. The hot shoer is better able to assist your horse because he has the ability to build corrective, therapeutic, training and other specialized shoes of all kinds for your horse. The forge work of hot shoeing requires a larger tool investment and a great deal of instruction and practice to master.

On the other hand, the cold shoer requires greater skill at leveling the foot and the shoe to fit them correctly. He requires less tool investment and less time to do his job. Cold shoers believe money is made at the horse nailing on shoes and not at the forge. They have to shoe more horses per day in order to bring their income up to that of the hot shoer who is generally paid more for his superior education and forge work.

In my practice I rarely cold shoe a horse. When I do, it is usually for medical reasons or for technical reasons too numerous to go into at this time. I generally hot shoe because I feel I can get a more exacting fit and because I can better fulfill the requirements of my clients' horses when I shoe hot.

For a job that can be done by cold shoeing, the quality of that job is not determined by the method used but by the skill of the person doing the job. However because the cold shoer does not possess hot forging skills, there are many jobs which he simply cannot do.



Geronimo Bayard
The American Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon

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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.