IF IT’S EXTREMELY LOOSE
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.