Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Horse Shoeing 101

Well, it is time to head to the mountains!  And while I'm pretty excited about that, one of the first things that needs to be done is a horse round up and shoes for all.  All going on the trip that is.  
Our first ride is relatively small, so I'm almost done all 20.  We will probably end up taking about 18, but it is always good to have a few extras available as it is almost a promise that something will get a kick or a cut the morning the ride leaves and we need a replacement.  
I've been inspired by another local blogger, who is wonderful at taking step by step photos, instead of random ones like I post.  (You should check out Chris's blog.....she has some great shots and stories and wonderful rodeo photos!  http://wildernessdweller.ca/
I thought I would do a step by step of the shoeing process, but it turns out that I am not that talented.  Shoeing is a two handed job!!      
So I just did my usual random shots, but I'll post them anyhow. 
My subject is Rocket, picked specifically so my special friend across the seas could view her favorite mount.  :) 

We are in the calving barn, you may recognize the 'hot box' on the left that we put 'calf -cicles' in during calving season.

Forge and anvil set up outside.  

So the shoeing that is so difficult to do while operating a camera.....  First I clean out the hoof, trim and level it.  It goes up on to the stand to be cleaned up and shaped.  

Long toed and out of shape.                               That's better.

Now for the shoes.  When I have lots to do (or am not too lazy and feeling smart enough to give my elbow a break) I use a forge.  By heating the shoe up before shaping, there is a whole lot less pounding to do.  But it does take a wee bit more time and organization, so if I'm only doing a couple, I don't bother.  Unless they are big horses, then I always use it.  

Well heated and ready for shaping and burning on.

Once the shoes are shaped to the foot (sounds easy, doesn't it?), then I burn them on.  No, it doesn't hurt.  Nothing about shoeing hurts unless the horse has previous pain (such as a joint injury which makes lifting the leg uncomfortable),  has especially poor feet or the farrier makes a misjudgment.  Not all horses and hooves are the same, that is for sure!  You can think of their hooves as your own finger nails in a way.  A nice short trim is fine and practical.  Too short will make you tender.  You could literally burn the end of your nail and it would not hurt, unless you got too close.  You could also drive a nail through the end of your nail with no problems.  But angle that nail in a bit too far and you'll know about it quick!  
Horse shoe nails are quite unique in that they are basically rectangular, and they are beveled on one side to help them come out properly.  You most certainly never want to drive one in 'backwards'.  Of course they come in many sizes.  Dang, I should have taken a photo....could have done that without needing three hands! 
I'm 'burning on' in this photo.  Well, actually, I have already burnt on but am just holding the shoe on with one hand while I take the photo with the other.  Should have been a circus performer with all my juggling......

I'll cool the shoe and then start nailing on, being careful to note the angles of the hoof and the best placements for the nails.  It's easy now, but is a big stress when a person first starts shoeing.  You really can hurt them with a badly placed nail.   

Now Rockets foot is back up on the stand.  The nails are all in and have been tightened.  Now to clinch.....basically meaning to set and tighten the nails in to the hoof to keep the shoe on.  

All done and ready for the next horse.......  

Writing this just reminded me of a clip that was done many years ago when my friend Bulldog and I were shoeing together.  I'll see if I can find it.....

Ah, that makes it easier, shows a whole lot of what I was trying to explain.  

This is back in the early days, before we decided that our instructor really was right, and that hot shoeing really is a whole lot easier on the body.  

Alright, to bed with me.....  

Cheers all!  


1 comment:

chris czajkowski said...

Hi Punky
Thanks for the link to my blog.
Let me know when you next have an event like shoing, and I would love to come up and take photos! Chris