Horseshoe Savvy
By Vicki Schmidt of Troika Drafts

We all know there’s more to shoeing than a good hoof and a good fit. Use the following definitions to help increase your horseshoe “savvyness”!

HORSESHOE NAILS are made from soft steel and are specially designed for attaching horseshoes to hooves. They are most often made four-sided, with a tapered shaft, a tip beveled on the inside, and a head shaped to seat into the hole of a horseshoe. A pattern or trademark is stamped on the inside of the head to allow the farrier to distinguish the inside from the outside at a quick glance.

FROST NAILS are special horseshoe nails with a head designed to provide temporary traction on hard surfaces.

BORIUM is made up of grains or chips of tungsten carbide in a steel or brass matrix. A horseshoe is heated in the forge and then borium is applied to the ground surface with an acetylene torch, or an arc welder.  Borium provides the ultimate traction on hard, slick surfaces such as pavement or ice.  It also increases the wear life of the horseshoe.

CALKS are any type of projection which may be forged, welded or brazed onto the ground side of a horseshoe, or inserted into a hole in the horseshoe. Calks are used to increase traction, alter movement, or adjust the stance of the horse. HEEL CALKS only provide braking traction as the hoof lands, and cannot provide grip due to the breakover of the hoof.

CLINCHES are the part of a horseshoe nail visible on the outside of a horse's hoof after it is shod. This part of the nail is folded down against the hoof to help clamp the shoe to the hoof.  To lessen damage to the hoof, clinches should be rasped off, straightened or otherwise removed before the horseshoe is pulled off.

CLIPS; are flat projections, usually triangular or round, extending upward from the outer edge of a horseshoe.; When fit correctly they lay flat against, or set into, the outer surface of the hoof wall. Clips are either welded on to the shoe or “drawn” from the metal of the shoe. They are used to prevent the shoe from shifting on the hoof, to stabilize the hoof wall, and to reduce the use of as many nails.; Sometime clips are used for a purely cosmetic look.

HOT FITTING is holding a hot shoe against the prepared bottom of the hoof until it scorches it sufficiently to indicate high spots of horn which need to be removed to make the surface of the hoof level.  Proper fitting can be done cold  (cold fitting) but requires close observation and more skill.

ROCKERED TOE is a type of horseshoe that has been bent upward toward the hoof at the toe. This eases and directs breakover and requires that the hoof be specially prepared to receive the rocker toe shoe.

ROLLED TOE is a type of horseshoe that has been rounded or beveled on the outer edge of the ground surface at the toe. This eases breakover but due to the fact that the hoof side of the shoe is left flat, no special hoof preparation is needed.

SCOTCHED, as in scotch bottom shoes, identifies a type of horseshoe with an outer edge that is sloped down and outward from the hoof, at an angle to match the hoof.; This is most often seen in draft horse show shoes to give the horse a greater base of support.

SELENIUM*, is a nonmetallic element. (Atomic number 34, and atomic weight 78.96 for any chemistry buffs out there)!  Selenium is a naturally occurring nutrient mineral that is deficient in nearly all US soil east of the Mississippi, and in many other parts of the country. Selenium deficiency in horses has been implicated in several ailments including: suspensory ligament soreness, poor hoof growth and quality, and dull haircoat.; Many farriers feel that yellowy discolored frogs signal a selenium deficiency.*

VITAMIN A*, is a nutrient compound (C20-H3-0O or C20-H28-O) found in egg yolks, fish-liver oils, milk,; and some yellow and green vegetables.; It is believed to prevent hoof infections as well as surface cracks in new hoof horn. Scaly periople (the thin, tough, protective covering of the coronary band) and chalky soles are signs of Vitamin A deficiency.

ZINC*, is a bluish-white metallic element an important component in many alloys, solders, and metal coatings. As a dietary mineral for horses, zinc appears essential to the proper functioning of the lower membrane between the horny and sensitive laminae.

* Administer these additives to your horses feed for these conditions only on the recommendation of your veterinarian and farrier.

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