horseshoeA narrow band of iron in the form of an extended circular arc and secured to the hoof with nails, a horseshoe is a crucial part of equine care. Failure to attend to it correctly can cause serious injury and malady to the animal in one’s care. Today, we shall delve into the basics of horseshoes together with Topspec through the following list of do’s and don’ts.

Do find a farrier. This is a name given to individuals who have been specifically trained and educated in the art of horseshoeing. If you’re not one of them then it would be wise to call them for help during this process to avoid any mistakes that could potentially injure the animal.

Don’t clean and remove. Remove an old shoe first before cleaning the hoof. This shall make the chore easier and allow you to reach through the entire foot. Be careful when removing the nails so as not to cause pain.

Do clean the hooves. To avoid any debris from getting trapped between the sole of the foot and the new shoe, make sure to clean it first. Take a hoof pick and brush to remove compacted dirt, mud, stones, manure and other debris stuck into the foot. Be careful when cleaning around the frog as this is very sensitive.

Don’t forget to trim. Excess flaky sole and hoof walls will need to be trimmed off. This is akin to the trimming of toenails for humans. Failure to do this can cause pain when walking.

Do flatten the sole. Before the shoe is placed in, the sole is filed, smoothened and flattened using a tool called a rasp. This is done simply to even out the surface. Be careful not to overdo this as it wouldn’t be advisable to over trim the hoof and make it too short.

Don’t pick the wrong size. Always size the shoe to the hoof. Doing so otherwise will make it feel uncomfortable. Keep in mind that not all four hooves may come with the same size.

Do secure the shoe well. Using nails put them in. Make sure to align it perfectly against the edge of the hoof. In the event that the shoe isn’t a perfect fit, it would be wise to bend or alter them to fit perfectly.

Proper shoeing is crucial in equine care. It is a must regardless of age, gender and physical ability says Topspec.