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Hot Shoeing What is the real purpose of doing it? Pros? Cons?

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  • Hot Shoeing What is the real purpose of doing it? Pros? Cons?

    My Appy has great feet. Twice in his life, he has contracted White Line Disease. Both times he was treated, and shoes with pads added. After about three - four shoeings we went back to him being barefoot.

    He was "hot shod" once before, with no problems. This time, the farrier wanted to "hot shoe" him again, and as there had been no previous problems I told him to go ahead. Suddenly a different horse appeared before me. Sky was having none of it. I don't think I've ever seen this horse so mad .

    He didn't want anything to do with the hot shoeing. I suppose it could have been the sounds, the smell, the smoke etc. But we literally wound up double twitching him, covering his eyes and still he was trying to lie down or bite us. He let us know in no uncertain terms that he was not a happy camper .

    Out of curiosity, just what is the big appeal of "hot shoeing"? What are it's pros and con's? I thoroughly expect my Appy will go barefoot this next round, but am still curious about the hot shoeing.
    A poorly fitted saddle hampers both horse and rider.
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  • #2
    Pros: Farrier can do more extensive alterations of the show and probably do a smoother "prettier" job shaping the shoe than banging on cold hard steel (and easier on the body), evaluate the fit of the shoe by the marks it makes on the foot, seal the hoof tubules to help regulate moisture (at least it is purported to do this). If the farrier needs to make something much different than the keg shoe came out of the box or start from bar stock and make a shoe, heating the metal is pretty much a necessity. He need not fit it hot, but there are advantages to doing so, so generally you would.

    Cons: some horses dislike the smell or sound and need to be accustomed to it.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

    Comment


    • #3
      My understanding is it makes a more "secure" fit of the shoe. My mare has been hot shod for years and I find she holds her shoes better(we do lots of trail riding on moderately rough terrain)

      Comment


      • #4
        I think it's the smell and the smoke, and the effect of that depends on how the wind is blowing--literally. If the smoke goes straight up, or toward their back end, it's less of a problem. If it happens to billow up into their face, all bets are off.

        My big draft cross positively would not tolerate hot shoeing. I'm glad my farrier was young and limber when he tried; the vision of him ducking sideways into my tack room, holding an almost-glowing shoe on the end of his tongs, is burned (ha, ha) into my brain forever. When that horse blew, it was a Big Deal.

        FWIW, my horse also went barefoot most of his life, but had one episode of WLD, at about 12 (resected about 1/3 of the hoof wall--on a 1700 lb horse), and then laminitis when he developed Cushings at 15 (that was our first hint; this horse did nothing "normally"). He never needed shoes, until he did, and then he *really* did, so it was a challenge.

        Not qualified to comment on the pros and cons, though my experience, aside from the above, is that it is beneficial and of no harm to the horse, in spite of how they sometimes react.
        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

        Spay and neuter. Please.

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        • #5
          Metal is much easier to work with when hot
          Testing a hot show to the trim gives the farrier a much clearer w 'readout' of the contact surface. It also will burn off imperfections in the trim.
          My farrier heats shoes when necessary, but he's never touched them to the foot hot.

          Is this a new to you farrier? My horse is very particular when it comes to people messing with him. It could be he doesn't trust the farrier as much as he didn't trust the smoke coming off his foot.
          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
          chaque pas est fait ensemble

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          • #6
            Hot shoeing (as opposed to just hot fitting) seals the tubules of the freshly trimmed foot and helps prevent pathogens or excess moisture from invading.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
              Testing a hot show to the trim gives the farrier a much clearer w 'readout' of the contact surface. It also will burn off imperfections in the trim.
              That's also what I was told too by my farrier, who indicated that hot shoeing fixes unevenness in the trim ... All along I had thought hot shoeing was fancier or something.

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              • #8
                My farrier hot shoes, and I love it. He's been able to make a lot of subtle adjustments that make a huge difference for each horse, and the shoes really fit well. When working with a new horse, he usually saves the hoof trimmings from earlier horses and touches the shoe to them so the horse can hear the sizzle, as well as see/smell the smoke. If the horse is upset, he takes the time to make sure he gives them the best experience possible.
                Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am a huge fan of hot shoeing, for all of the reasons already mentioned. My horse does not mind hot shoeing, though, so that's easy for me to say. If I had a horse that was afraid of hot shoeing, I don't think I would have him hot shod. Not worth it, and too much can go wrong in that situation if the horse is really afraid.

                  To be honest, I'm always pretty impressed/amazed at how well most horses take the entire hot shoeing process. I would think it could easily be very scary, particularly the sound of the forge followed by the billowing smoke coming from their lifted hoof. Says a lot about their trust in us that any of them let us do it at all.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Putting a large fan in front of the horse, or facing them into the wind, can help with smoke blowing away from head, so they don't see/smell it.

                    My horses have been hot shod for years, with no problem. But it really helps if you can keep the smoke away from their head.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      According to Well-regarded University Farrier (who shod in a shop), burning hoof is carcinogenic. Just FYI.

                      Most horses learn to roll with it. They can look a little surprised as in "Um... yo, something's burning. Hey, it's me!"

                      OP, maybe ask your farrier about doing a hot shoeing without too much of a trim if you guys want to teach this one to tolerate it.

                      He does sound pretty adamant-- beyond normal limits adamant-- about not having his feet seared.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fivesocks View Post
                        That's also what I was told too by my farrier, who indicated that hot shoeing fixes unevenness in the trim ...
                        Only if the shoe itself is flat. Hot shoeing also requires that the farrier leave the foot a bit longer during the trim. The excess length is burned away during the hot fitting portion of the job. Cold shoeing requires a lot of skill on the part of the farrier to get the foot surface level/flat.
                        All along I had thought hot shoeing was fancier or something.
                        Fancy is in the eye of the beholder. As noted, there is much more a farrier can do with a piece of hot steel and that, in and of itself, usually requires a more skilled mechanic. IMO, any farrier who shoes cold should have the requisite skill, knowledge and ability to move/work steel hot, even if for only the more basic modifications.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          @ Rick Burton-- do you have any opinions about the skill/quality/commitment to continuing education of the farrier that does cold shoeing only?

                          You said you thought that person should know how to work with hot steel as well. That certainly takes some practice. I'd think it would be worth it-- it's easier on the farrier's body, right?
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Continuing education? IMO, a farrier that hasn't developed shoe building skills in the fire is still an unskilled "beginner."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              @ Tom Bloomer. Do you think all *credible* farriers agree?

                              The context for this question: I haven't ever had a farrier who could only cold shoe, but I have seen guys who seem reluctant to fire up the forge. So I don't want to prejudge anyone because he shoes cold exclusively.... unless that's a big fat red flag.
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think you are confusing choice with ability.

                                It is more economical to shoe cold, but also more difficult to obtain the same level of precision and craftsmanship except with very light shoes.

                                Many horse owners are simply not willing to pay for precision and craftsmanship and wouldn't know it if they saw it. It doesn't make business sense to deliver something the market doesn't want to pay for. And many farriers make a living on fast, cheap shoeing - take a shoe out of the box, open or close it a little and nail it on. Then rasp the foot to the shoe.

                                That is a very common practice in my area and most of the farriers that work that business model do not own or carry a forge and have no incentive to do so.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Growing up in Europe, I didn't know you did other than hot shoe, unless it was a very rare situation, where you could not have a forge handy and that was second best.
                                  We also didn't have keg shoes, made every one of them by hand, so we needed a forge anyway.
                                  Those situations without a forge, you made the shoes beforehand and then had to nail them on cold.
                                  Only certified farriers were shoeing for the public, any other only under their supervision.

                                  All those horses years ago were hot shod and they didn't seem to have a problem with it?

                                  Then, coming to the USA, what do you know, anyone could shoe a horse anywhere and the shoes came already made and that worked just fine for many horses.
                                  You only had to fit them a bit on an anvil.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                                    I think you are confusing choice with ability.

                                    It is more economical to shoe cold, but also more difficult to obtain the same level of precision and craftsmanship except with very light shoes.

                                    Many horse owners are simply not willing to pay for precision and craftsmanship and wouldn't know it if they saw it. It doesn't make business sense to deliver something the market doesn't want to pay for. And many farriers make a living on fast, cheap shoeing - take a shoe out of the box, open or close it a little and nail it on. Then rasp the foot to the shoe.

                                    That is a very common practice in my area and most of the farriers that work that business model do not own or carry a forge and have no incentive to do so.
                                    Thanks... the helps explain it.
                                    The armchair saddler
                                    Politically Pro-Cat

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                                      And many farriers make a living on fast, cheap shoeing - take a shoe out of the box, open or close it a little and nail it on. Then rasp the foot to the shoe.
                                      That is a definition of 'iron hanging', not farriery. ymmv

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                        @ Rick Burton-- do you have any opinions about the skill/quality/commitment to continuing education of the farrier that does cold shoeing only?
                                        A commitment to CE is not reflected by whether one hot shoes or cold shoes. There are many skilled farriers who do a quality job without ever lighting a forge. And IMO, there are many more who do not. In many respects, IMO, the same is true of those individuals who work in the forge.
                                        You said you thought that person should know how to work with hot steel as well. That certainly takes some practice. I'd think it would be worth it-- it's easier on the farrier's body, right?
                                        In many respects it is indeed easier on the farrier's body. Especially when working with 'light' stock. Once you get into building shoes from 'heavy' stock, that too can take a toll on the body.

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