Correct Shoeing for Performance--Natural Hoof?

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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.

Respectfully,

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
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