Key Principles are essential to ensure better horse shoeing


There are probably as many philosophies of horse shoeing as there are farriers, but there are still some universal, fundamental principles which exist. The first is that shoeing assists the normal horse in its natural way of going, protects its feet, and minimizes interference.


Control of this is totally in the farrier’s hands, since after every shoeing, each hoof has a tailor-made and fitted shoe. It is common knowledge that the majority of general equine unsoundness problems occur in the front limbs. Most of these are in the feet, and as a result, many are involved in one way or another with shoeing.


While many hoof conditions require the intervention of a veterinarian, many can be professionally resolved by a skilled and experienced farrier. Three main groups of hoof problems and hoof care are described in the book: (1) injury or illness, (2) problems originated by the owner, and (3) problems originated by the farrier.


Photos of some of these problems are contained in the book, as well as pointers to understand their causes and find solutions. In addition, a number of contentious issues, such as hot shoeing, clips and trimming are also dealt with.


A whole range of issues are presented, involving humans and their horse handling skills, as well as the horse’s comfort, welfare, health, way of going, and athletic condition.


Some of these key principles which should guide horse shoeing follow:


Horses are our servants and friends, and we must take care of them.

Disobedience is not always naughtiness.

The horse believes that shoeing is a necessary evil.

The hoof does not grow evenly.

All four feet must be shod in harmony.

Hoof and horseshoe must look like a single integrated unit.

Shoeing must be done frequently.

The shoe must be the lightest and simplest for each horse.

The white line must be treated with care.

Hoof trimming should not exceed normal wear.

The hoof wall must be preserved.

The shoe should be put on with the fewest and smallest nails.



This shoe has just been taken out of the forge and must be cooled in water before use.

I love my farrier.