Horseshoes have been fitted to tamed horses for hundreds of years. They not only protect and shield a horse’s hooves but also allow the hooves to deal with the burden of a rider’s weight and handle hard surfaces. Every six to eight weeks, a farrier takes off the horse’s old set of horseshoes, trims and re-balances the horse’s feet and fits a new set of horseshoes with the help of a special set of farrier tools for each stage of the process.
The first step in the horseshoeing process is to take off the old set of shoes. Horseshoes are nailed to the hoof of the horse and the end of the nail is then severed and filed flat in order to secure the shoe in place. These nail ends are also referred to as clenches. As the horse’s hoof grows over the period of six to eight months, the nails that secure the shoe in place are gradually forced downward and the clenches straighten, which in turn loosens the shoe. In order to remove the horseshoe, farriers make use of farrier tools such as a clench cutter and a hammer to straighten any clenches that are still fixed firmly. Then the farrier pulls the shoe loose from the foot with the help of farrier tools known as nail pullers or shoe pullers.
When trimming the hoof of the horse, either for a barefoot trim or before re-fixing shoes, a farrier uses farrier tools called hoof stands or jacks. These farrier tools are metal tripods with a shaped head and it holds up the weight of the horse’s hoof and leg while the farrier does his work. Additionally, a farrier uses farrier tools such as hoof knives to clip the overgrowth sections of each hoof. With the help of these farrier tools, the foot is trimmed to a balanced shape in order that the horse is comfortable. Once the farrier is done with the trimming, he files the edges of the hoof and polishes up the shape using farrier tools known as rasps.
In order to re-fit the shoes to the newly trimmed hooves, the farrier makes use of tongs as farrier tools in order to manoeuvre and hold the hot horseshoe to the horse’s hooves, afterwards, the farrier nails the shoe to the hoof using farrier tools such as horseshoe nails and a hammer. With the aim to secure the sharp end of the nails and tighten the shoe, farrier tools called clinches are used. Other farrier tools include hoof picks and wire brushes used for cleaning the feet.
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