Friday, June 10, 2011

Good and ugly horseshoeing...

   "Fit the shoe to the horse, not the horse to the shoe" the old axiom goes...  Dubbing off wall after the shoe is nailed-on is generally considered sloppy, unprofessional work.  Farriers are supposed to trim and dress the hoof into its proper shape, then fit a shoe to that shape and nail it on.

   Here we have a cross-section of a hoof wall (at the quarters) with a pretty bad flare.  Note the hard, outer (dark in this image, and in most hooves) layer of wall, along with the softer, unpigmented inner wall (the water line when seen from below), are bowed outward.  The laminae (the white line proper when seen from below) are stretched out of shape and filled with scar horn.

   Here is the same cross-section after the flare has been dressed off and a shoe has been applied.  This is a proper, neat shoeing job.  A layer of dark hoof polish to hide the exposed white, and you'd never even know how distorted this foot was before shoeing.

   But look at the path of this nail.  It passes through mostly scar horn, and barely touches the dark, stronger hoof wall.  It's not going to take much to pull this shoe off, probably taking a lot of what little wall is left with it.

   Here we have the same wall, but the shoe was nailed-on first, with the hoof that hung over the shoe dubbed-off after the shoe was on.  Sloppy, ugly, half-ass shoeing...

   But notice that the shoe placement and base of support is identical to the "properly" shod foot.  And that the nail passes through, and is clinched into, the full thickness of the wall.

   Sometimes ugly is functionally better.

   {Note: These images are low-res roughs from the upcoming Encyclopedic Dictionary of Farriery.}

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