EQUUS - - Handson -



Dam­age to the hoof

A shoe that has got­ten bent can place bruis­ing pres­sure on the frog and other tis­sues in the hoof, and ex­posed nails and shifted clips can cause punc­ture wounds. Even with­out those spe­cific haz­ards, a shoe that has lost nails and/or is so loose that you’d worry about it fall­ing off may cause in­jury.

In that case, the safest thing to do is to pull the shoe your­self, even as you wait for the far­rier. You’ll need a far­rier’s rasp and puller to get the shoe off with­out dam­ag­ing the hoof. Here’s how to do it:

• Start by rasp­ing down the clinches as de­scribed pre­vi­ously un­der “Tighten the clinches.” Or lift them by tap­ping up­ward un­der them with a clinch cut­ter.

• Shift the hoof to hold it be­tween your knees as the far­rier does, so you can see the sole. Be­gin­ning near one heel, seat the

wound jaws of the puller un­der the shoe and close the han­dles to raise the shoe about a quar­ter inch. If you have crease nail pullers you can skip this step.

• Pull grad­u­ally and steadily down­ward and at a di­ag­o­nal to­ward the toe. This an­gle is least likely to dam­age the foot or cause pain to the horse. Pull just enough to loosen the heel nail.

• Tap the shoe it­self back down onto the hoof so that the head of the nail pro­trudes. Use the puller to grasp the nail and pull it from the hoof. Or if you are us­ing crease nail pullers, grab the head of each nail and pull the han­dles down­ward and at a di­ag­o­nal to­ward the toe.

• Re­peat the pro­ce­dure to re­move the rear­most nail at the other heel. Then con­tinue for each re­main­ing nail, al­ter­nat­ing sides as you go. Once the last nail is out, the shoe will fall free. Be sure to pick up all the nails.

Once the shoe is off, you may ap­ply a wrap or a hoof boot to pro­tect the horse’s foot while you wait for the far­rier. From there use your best judg­ment as far as the horse’s ac­tiv­ity; you may need to keep him in a stall or small pad­dock un­til he can be reshod.

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