Farrier tools- What are they and what do they do?

We have all stood there holding our much-loved horses for their regular farrier visit admiring the work they do to keep our horses sound and happy. But have you ever asked or wondered what each of the tools are, what their purpose is? In today’s blog post we go through and identify some common tools and their uses.

Once upon a time farriers not only tended to the horses, but they also had to make their own tools! These days they are manufactured for them, with a large variety of styles and interpretations on the original blacksmith’s tool kit.  Some common tools you may see in action include;

  • Hoof Pick – Yes, farrier’s also use hoof picks to help clean out the hoof prior to trimming
  • Apron – Made of leather and used to protect the Farrier’s legs from nails or injury if a horse may try to pull their leg away
  • Hoof Testers – a two-pronged tool (often used by vets as well for lameness evaluation) that uses a pinching motion to try and locate pain or sensitive areas on the hoof sole. It can be used to try and find the site of an abscess or stone bruise.
  • Rasp – like a nail file for horses. It’s used to remove hoof wall and round the edges of the hoof. It takes off small gradual amounts to make the hoof even and level, and to smooth the hoof wall after shoeing
  • Knife – pars away excess sole and lose dead frog from the underside of the hoof. They come in different types and can be left or right-handed. Farriers may have a preference as to which knife they prefer. They are very sharp and can be used to help drain hoof abscesses.
  • Nippers – Like nail clippers for horses. Used to remove excess hoof material and cut the hoof wall to the right length.
  • Pullers – Looks like a pair of pliers. Very similar to nippers but with a slightly different shape, used to pull shoes off. Nails are unclenched first, and the pullers are used to slowly remove the shoe by gradually levering the shoe from both sides, removing it one nail at a time.
  • Nail Pullers – used to remove nails when removing a shoe. They look like they have jaws on one end with a hole in the middle for the nail to fit. Nails should be removed one at a time as to not put too much pressure on the sole/hoof wall
  • Anvil – Used to shape the shoe correctly and make sure it’s level. It has a flat top, a rounded horn, and is extremely heavy
  • Forge – Are generally gas-operated and used to heat the shoe to help shape it correctly on the Anvil. It is what is used when horses are hot shod.
  • Rounding Hammer – Used to shape the shoe on the Anvil
  • Tongs – to remove the hot shoe from the forge and handle whilst fitting the shoe
  • Nailing Hammer – Used to nail the shoe to the hoof. They are smaller in size and allow the farrier to feel that the nail is going in the right direction during hammering. They have a flat head on one side and the other end is used to wring off the nail end (excess) once it protrudes through the hoof wall.
  • Nail Cutter – Look like a small pair of nippers that are used to cut the excess off the nail as an alternative to the hammer.
  • Clinching Block – put under the wring section of the nail prior to clinching, where the head of the nail is tapped to help set the nail into the shoe and secure it in the correct place.
  • Clincher – Used to fold the nail end over to help secure it to the hoof and hold the shoe firmly in place
  • Hoof Stand – Small stand which can come in different shapes and heights, that a farrier can place a horse’s hoof on whilst rasping the hoof or clinching nails. Helps reduce strain on the knees and back is also helpful for horses that may be carrying an injury as added support.

Horse’s hooves are so important and without good care and maintenance they can’t perform at their best and as the old saying goes “No Hoof. No Horse”.

Written by Selena P.


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