1 All my Friesians get new shoes every four to eight weeks. Hooves grow like fingernails, and once they grow too long, their shoes no longer fit properly. It was time for Sasa to get new shoes. Here is his left rear foot with the old shoe.
2 My farrier, Linda, holds the hoof between her legs to remove the old shoe. The nail clinches were straightened, and then she used a pair of pullers designed to loosen and pull off the shoe. My horses all know Linda well, so they are very comfortable with her.
3 This is Linda's box of farrier tools. Among some of those needed to change horseshoes are the pullers, a hammer, a clinch cutter, a brush, nails, and a rasp.
4 Once the shoe was off, Linda cleaned the bottom of the hoof and removed any debris. Downward strokes from heel to toe are always recommended. Linda is always careful around the frog, the triangular portion in the middle of the hoof which is very sensitive.
5 This was the hoof after the shoe was removed, and the area was cleaned of dirt and debris.
6 As the photos of Sasa's left rear foot were taken, he decided to shift his weight and show his right rear foot to the camera. His right foot still had the old shoe on, but this shoe was changed also.
7 Linda used large vet wrap tape to hold the feathers above his hoof down, so she could see what she was doing, and so it didn't interfere with the shoe changing process.
8 Linda also used a hook knife to remove excess flaky sole from the bottom of the hoof. This revealed the softer, whiter material underneath.
9 Linda used a rasp, or a horse-sized file, to flatten and level the sole, and file away any uneven spots on the bottom of the hoof.
10 Linda travels with a supply of horseshoes in a variety of sizes. Well-fitted shoes take a bit of time to create, but a good farrier will shape and reshape a shoe until it fits perfectly. Here, Linda began the process of shaping the shoe.
11 Linda cold shaped the shoe first with a hammer and tongs.
12 The shoe was placed into the forge for heating. The forge temperatures reach between 1400-degrees and 1800-degrees Fahrenheit. Linda heated up the shoe until it could be bent to the size of the hoof.
13 While the shoe is still hot, she tried it on for size. A well-fitted horse shoe should align well with the edge of the hoof. The shoe is also hot-fitted for levelness and to shape the hoof for the shoe clips.
14 While the shoe cooled, Linda made a few adjustments to Sasa's hoof with the rasp.
15 Linda secured the new shoe with nails specifically designed for horse shoes. The nails are driven through the hoof at an outward angle so the nail tips go through the top of the hoof wall. If done properly, the horse is never in any discomfort during the process.
16 Linda hammered the nails into place. Once each nail was driven through the hoof, the claw end of the hammer was used to bend the tip of the nail over the hoof wall and clinched. Most of the exposed nail tips were clipped off. About one-eighth was left to ensure the nail would hold the shoe in place without the sharp tip injuring the horse or anyone with him.
17 Sasa's hoof was then lifted onto a hoof jack, so Linda could file down the contact joints, and any rough spots on the hoof wall.
18 One down and three to go!
19 Meanwhile, the Fell pony, Ban Chunch, needed boots. Ban Chunch is currently unshod, meaning he doesn't wear nailed-in shoes. However, natural hoof-care should never compromise wellness and comfort, so now that he is being ridden on different surfaces, his hooves needed support.
20 Ban Chunch was ready for a pair of horse boots for his front hooves.
21 A few weeks ago, after a fresh hoof trim, Linda measured the length of the hoof from the toe to the buttress line of the heel. The buttress line is the farthest weight bearing point where the hoof wall ends. Then she measured across for the width of the hoof.
22 The measurements were written down with a diagram, so when the boots were ordered, all the information was accurate.
23 My stable manager, Betsy, always does thorough research on the supplies we need for the horses. She decided Easyboot trail boots by EasyCare would be the best option for Ban Chunch. http://www.easycareinc.com
24 The boots just arrived last week. They have a front shield to protect the hoof and a comfortable, light fit.
25 Betsy put on the first boot and fastened it closed.
26 The second boot needed a bit of adjustment, so Betsy inserted pads specially made for these boots that fit into the side of the boot to make it more snug. Every horse's hoof is different, so attention must be given to fit each hoof individually and carefully.
27 Using a hoof pick, Betsy cleaned out the hoof before putting the boot on.
28 The boot fit easily onto Ban Chunch's hoof. Look at the tread pattern on the bottom of the boot - this provides strong traction and grip.
29 Here is Ban Chunch in his new boots - it was time to get him saddled up to try them out.
30 And they're off for a ride!