Hot Shoeing


You may be wondering, “Why should I chose Charlie when there are other farriers who are cheaper?” That’s a good question, and though there are many reasons, the main answer is hot shoeing. You see, its not really the same job if its done without heating up the shoe. If it were, I would be cold shoeing, because it is quicker and doesn’t burn fuel to heat up the shoe. Of course, that leads to the question: “Why is hot shoeing so much better than cold shoeing?” Hot shoeing is the way it was done when horses were used for transportation, when horses were taken to the blacksmith shop to be shod. Unfortunately, with the introduction of manufactured shoes, farriers who once were not able to shoe horses because of their lack of skill, now can nail shoes onto horses’ hooves, oftentimes to the horses detriment. This is because many farriers shape the hoof to the shoe, instead of shaping the shoe to the hoof. And even if they want to shape the shoe to the hoof, it is very difficult to get the exact shape while cold shoeing, so many cold horseshoers just get close and nail the shoe on. While they may get away with this at first, if the shoe doesn‘t fit the hoof right, the hoof can develop problems. Therefore, the main reason I hot shoe is so I can obtain the perfect shape, and thus aid the horse.

Another reason I hot shoe is because I burn the shoe on the hoof. After trimming the hoof, there is often a slight amount of roughness on the bottom of the hoof wall. After all, every farrier is human and cannot get the hoof as smooth as steel. If I am just trimming the horse, the small amount of roughness is worn away after a couple hours of the horse walking. If I am shoeing, however, the hoof cannot be worn away. This is a problem because it is impossible to get both the shoe and the hoof perfectly level and balanced, so they are not going to fit each other perfectly. When there are these discrepancies, there can often be leverage, causing the horse to lose the shoe. That’s why I burn the shoe on the hoof. I get the shoe as flat as possible, and when I burn it on the hoof, I burn out any discrepancies and create a perfect union between the two. In addition, I hand-forge clips on every non-therapeutic shoe I apply, and when I burn the clips onto the hoof, which takes much of the shearing force off of the nails, there is little chance of a lost shoe.

A third reason for hot shoeing is that when the hoof wall is burned, the horny tubulars are sealed, and the ground surface of the hoof wall becomes tough. You see, hoof wall is composed of two different types of horn: tubular and non-tubular. Tubular horn could be compared to straws, and non-tubular horn could be compared to clay. So microscopically, the hoof wall could look like a bunch of straws growing downward with clay around them. That is basically what the hoof wall is comprised of. When a hoof is trimmed, the tubules are cut, leaving them open. When the hoof wall is burned, however, the tubules become sealed and the burned hoof wall becomes a very tough pad around the hoof. In addition, the bacteria on the surface is killed by the hot shoe, and the tubules are sealed to prevent bacteria from intruding.

If you still aren’t convinced, consider that all of the great, world champion farriers in the world have had to hot shoe to get where they are. You can’t make a handmade specialized therapeutic shoe without heating it up. In addition, many of these farriers compete at international levels, where they hot shoe horses with competition shoes. At competitions, especially at higher levels, cold shoeing will never be seen, because it is not the best way. Those of us who desire to do the best job we can, and be great in this trade, hot shoe, because it is the best way, for human, horse, and tradition.

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