Correct Shoeing for Performance
Q: I have a 7 year old
quarter horse I use for barrel racing, he stands around 15 hands tall and wear a
size 2 shoe on his front feet. My regular horse shoer doesn't try to reshape his
foot, he just leaves him natural, in the meantime, he had a family emergency and
I used a farrier that claims to specialize in barrel horses. He told me the hoof
wall needed to be the same width all the way around the foot and his toe needed
to be shortened. He did this, and I am wondering if this is safe for my horse
since I have been told that you need to keep as natural as possible. If you
could e-mail me back or let me know how I can find someone who specializes in
performance horse shoeing I would greatly appreciate it.
A: Two things really caught my
attention: 15 hand horse wearing a size 2?; and your horseshoer doesn't try to
reshape his foot but just leaves it natural.
Size 2 on a 15 hand Quarter Horse, unless it has some draft blood in it, sounds
a little extreme. A 15 hand tall Quarter Horse, properly shod for barrel racing,
usually wears about a size "0".
I think you were probably lucky that your horseshoer had a family emergency. You
called in a farrier who claims to specialize in barrel horses. Ideally the hoof
wall would be the same width all the way around. Although this ideal situation
may never be achieved, a good farrier works towards achieving this by constantly
remodeling the hoof capsule. His shortening your horse's toe might better be
described as backing it up. This business of a natural foot usually indicates
long toe/low heel syndrome of which I have spoken many times. It is NOT a
favorable condition for any kind of a performance horse.
You are wondering if it is safe that this barrel horse farrier backed up your
horse's toe…it is probably the best thing he could have done for your horse.
Yes, it is safe.
Your next question relates to how you can find someone who specializes in
performance horse shoeing. I would say that if you haven't found that someone in
this new farrier you used, then contact the Missouri state farrier's association
president and he most likely will be more than happy to supply you with the
names of certified journeyman farriers specializing in your equine discipline.
His name and phone number can be obtained through the American Farrier's
Association at 1-606-233-7411.
The American Blacksmith