This is a common problem encountered by farriers and horseowners. Forging is defined as interference between the bottom of the front shoe and the toe of the hind shoe on the same side of the horse, as in photo 1. It is easily identified by a clicking sound. I probably receive as many horses with this problem than any other. This is one common problem that can be easily solved by a competent farrier.
The basic principle behind many of the techniques used by farriers is to speed up the front and slow down the back. To explain this there are quite a few techniques used such as:
Slowing down the hind can be accomplished by decreasing the angle of the hoof by using a shoe with extended heels, possibly leaving a quarter of an inch of the toe of the shoe longer than the toe of the hoof. The breakover of the front feet can be easily speeded up by increasing the angle of the toe and possibly using an extra light rocker toed shoe. However, speeding up the front and slowing down the hind doesn’t always work. Another procedure is to decrease the forward extension of the hind feet. This can be done by applying heel calks and a rocker toe to the hind foot. Sometimes by increasing the elevation and forward extension of the front feet using a heavier shoe with rolled or rocker toed shoes will also help.
Conformation is a common cause of forging. Horses that have short backs and long legs or that “stand-under”, or horses that have long hind legs and short front legs are very good candidates for forging. INFREQUENT SHOEING will sometimes allow the hoof to become too long causing the horse to forge.
Sometimes just removing the “clicking” noise can stop some horses from forging. Squaring the toe of the hind shoe and fitting it back under the toe can easily do this. Believe it or not, a horse can get psychologically hung up on the sound.
This may be hard to believe, but many horses forge due to poor horsemanship. The rider may be out of balance, the saddle incorrectly positioned, the horse possibly being overworked or fatigued or from the rider being just a passenger instead of a true rider. The rider becoming better educated in his riding techniques can easily overcome these problems. We probably spend as much time educating some of the horse owners as we do teaching horseshoeing at the school and in clinics. Often time’s horse owners get the idea that corrective shoeing can solve problems in just one visit. Many times, an extensive evaluation is needed by the farrier, which takes time and patience. Anytime corrective shoeing is needed, it should be done gradually as apposed to drastic alterations. Each horse is an individual as in people and must be treated as such. The object of corrective shoeing is to eliminate problems without injury to the horses limbs and body.
The goal at the Farriers’ National Research Center is to provide education on “Preventive Maintenance” to avoid further damage to the horses we love. And we can’t stress enough the importance of seeking out services from certified farriers. When you find someone, stay on a shoeing schedule every six to eight weeks and no longer. Your horse will appreciate it and as we say here,
“A Happy Horse Makes
a Happy Owner”!