Farrier Methods of Shaping Shoes
- The farrier starts by finding the right size of shoe for the horse's hoof. The shoe is then held against the underside of the horse's hoof without being nailed on. This allows the farrier to compare the shoe to the shape of the hoof. He then decides how the shoe needs to be modified to create a perfect fit.
- Forging is used when a farrier is hot-shoeing a horse. Once the farrier knows how he has to shape the shoe, he places it in a small, portable furnace that reaches temperatures of between 1400º and 1800º Fahrenheit. The furnace heats the steel until it is glowing red, making it more pliable, at which time the farrier removes it and uses a hammer to pound and shape the shoe. He then places the hot shoe against the bottom of the hoof to check the fit. If needed, he repeats the process until he achieves the desired shape.
- Cold-shoeing involves shaping the shoe without heating it first. The farrier compares the shoe to the trimmed hoof in the same way as with hot-shoeing, but hammers the shoe against the anvil cold. The farrier may need to hammer the shoe harder to bend and shape it because it has not been made pliable by the heat.
Anvil and Hammer
- The anvil and hammer are basic tools used by all farriers, whether hot- or cold-shoeing. The anvil is a heavy, shaped piece of iron or steel that the farrier places the shoe onto and pounds the shoe against with the hammer in order to bend and shape the shoe. The shoe is either held over a circular section of the anvil to shape the shoe's width, or held on top of the flat section of the anvil to flatten it.
- Always shape the shoe to the horse's foot. Never shape the hoof to fit a specific shoe. The hoof needs to be trimmed according to its natural size and shape, and the shoe compared against it and reshaped until it is precisely the right fit. If the foot is trimmed beyond its natural shape in order to fit it to the shoe, it can harm the sensitive sole and hoof wall and cause lameness.