Driving and Clinching Horseshoe Nails

Driving horseshoe nails accurately, consistently and safely is a difficult task for the beginner. Some persons have abandoned horseshoeing altogether and become barefoot advocates because of their lack of confidence and skill in this area. It’s sort of like throwing out the baby with the bath. There are times when nothing but nailing on shoes will help a horse get or stay sound.

Today’s horseshoe nails are manufactured to a high standard. One company, Mustad, controls the majority the nail production in the world. The nails are of high quality and are consistent. Most farriers eventually choose a preferred nail and stick with it. I prefer a slim-bladed nail as it doesn’t displace as much hoof as a nail with a thicker shank.

Nail head fit in shoes is most important. The nail should be tight and not wobble in the hole. When pushed into the shoe it should seat in the nail hole and not fall out when the shoe is turned upside down. The head should project above the shoe 1/16 of an inch to allow for clinching.

Nails should be driven to come out about 1/3 of the way up the wall from the shoe. The nail line should be parallel to the coronary band. Since the hoof wall grows down from the coronary band, the next shoeing will place the new nails in sound horn where they will hold the shoe securely.

After driving all the way into the shoe, the end of the nail should be turned out and wrung off with the hammer claws or hammered down against the side of the hoof to be cut off later. Severe injuries can occur when the ends of the nails are not properly made safe.

Before letting the hoof down, block the nails to seat them in the shoe and start the nail ends to turn where they exit the hoof.

Place the foot on a stand and turn all the nail stubs to a right angle with the wall with the clinching tool. Rasp the projecting ends of the nails to all the same length – about 1/16 of an inch. Turn the nail ends with the clincher letting the jaw slide over and shave the nail. Change position by moving the handles downward and push the nail into the foot with a second squeeze of the handles. Finally, smooth the job with the fine side of the clinching rasp.

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