Horse Shoeing Tools to Have on Hand

Here are tips to solve common horseshoe problems until you can get your farrier on site.
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hoof shoes hind feet closeup

Do you know what to do if your horse's shoe comes loose, twists or has a nail sticking out?

It is pretty inconvenient when you find a horseshoe loose, or with a bent branch, or if the entire shoe is shifted from its secure position. In these situations, it helps to have appropriate shoeing tools on hand and to know how to use them properly.

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One useful tool is called a nail clincher that enables you to snug down horseshoe nails that have lost their purchase. While this is a wonderfully handy tool to have for this purpose, sometimes careful use of a hammer (or a rock) can help bend over the nail heads on the hoof wall until a farrier can come to fix the shoe. Place your horse’s foot with a rock directly beneath the head (on the bottom of the shoe) of one of the loosened nails, then take the screw driver part of a multi-tool and pound it with a round rock directly over the nail clinch. It should seat down nicely after a few bangs. If you don’t have a tool, then bang directly on the clinches with a rock while holding another rock firmly against the head of the nail.

There are other farrier tools essential to remove a shoe that needs to come off:

  • A file or rasp to file off the nail clinches so the shoe can come free from the hoof wall. If all you have is a multi-tool, the file on it is a useful alternative.
  • Shoe puller or pliers to pull the shoe off.

After rasping the nail clinches, place the horse’s foot between your legs and apply the shoe puller or pliers on the back (heel portion) of each horseshoe branch alternately. Rotate inwards toward the frog as you systematically loosen the shoe from heel to toe. It helps to pull loosened nails out as you go, if possible. Work the pullers forward alternately on each side of the hoof until the shoe comes off easily. The toe area is the last place to release. Take care not to pull hoof wall away with your efforts.

You might be best served to have your farrier show you how to use tools or handle these horse shoe emergencies until he or she can arrive and do a proper fix of the problem.

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