Modern Blacksmithing Rational Horse Shoeing and Wagon Making

with rules, tables, recipes, etc., useful to manufactures, blacksmiths, machinists, well-drillers, engineers, liverymen, horse-shoers, farmers, wagon-makers, mechanics, amateurs and all others who have occasion to perform the work for which this book is primarily intended. by J.G. Homstrom 1901

How to Prepare the Horses Feet for Shoeing

Horse Shoe


The foot should be level, no matter what the fault is with the horse. The hoof should not be cut down more than the loose scales will allow. In a healthy condition this scale is a guide. When the foot is diseased it is different, and the shoer must use his own judgment. The frog never grows too large. It should never be trimmed more than just to remove any loose scales. The frog in its functions is very important to the wen-being of the foot. In the unshod foot it projects beyond the level of the sole, always in contact with the ground; it obviates concussion; supports the tendons; prevents falls and contraction. The bars are also of importance, bracing the hoof, and should never be cut down as has been the practice for centuries by ignorant horse-shoers.

Horse Shoes


Forging or overreaching is a bad habit, and a horse with this fault is now very valuable. This habit can be overcome by shoeing; but it will not be done by making the shoes short on the heel in front and short in the toe behind. Never try this foolish method. To overcome forging the shoer should know what forging is. It is this: The horse breaks over with his hind feet quicker than he breaks over with the front feet; in other words, he has more action behind than in front, and the result is that the hind feet strike the from it feet before they can get out of the way, often cutting the quarters badly, giving rise to quarter cracks and horny patches over the heel. Some writers make a difference between forging and overreaching, but the cause of the trouble is the same -too much action behind in proportion to the front; and the remedy is the same-retard the action behind, increase it in front. There are different ideas about the remedy for this fault.

Horse Shoe

One method is to shoe heavy forward and light behind, but this is in my judgment a poor idea, although it might help in some cases. Another way is to shoe with side weight on the outer side behind, but it is not safe, because it is difficult to get a horse to throw the foot out to one side enough so as to pass by the front foot except in a high trot. The best way to shoe a forger or overreaching horse is to make a shoe for front of medium heft, not longer than just what is needed. The toe calk should be at the inner web of the shoe, or no toe calk at all, or, toe weight, to make the horse reach farther.

It will sometimes be found that the hind foot is shorter than the front foot. To find this out, measure from the coronet to the end of the toe. The shorter the foot the quicker it breaks over. If it is found that the hind foot is shorter than the front foot, then the shoe should be made so that it will make up for this. Let the shoe stick out on the toe enough to make the foot of equal length with the front foot. It is well in any case of forging to make the hind shoe longer on the toe. If the hind shoe is back on the foot, as is often done, it will only make the horse forge all the more, for it will increase action behind, the horse breaks over quicker, and strikes the front foot before it is out of the way. Set the shoe forward as far as possible, and make long heels. The longer the shoe is behind the longer it takes to raise the foot and break over.

Horse Toe

Clack forging is meant by the habit of clacking the hind and fore shoes together. This kind of forging is not serious or harmful; it will only tend to wear off the toe of the hind foot and annoy the driver, possibly a little fatiguing to the horse. The position of the feet at the time of the clack is different from that it is supposed to be. The toe of the hind feet is generally worn off, while no mark is made on the front feet. From this you will understand that the hind feet never touch the heel of the front feet, but the shoe. Just at the moment the fore foot is raised up enough on the heel to give room for the hind foot to wedge in under it the hind foot comes flying under the fore foot, and the toe of the hind foot strikes the web of the toe on the front foot. This is the reason no mark is seen on the front foot, while the hind foot is badly worn off.