Sorry folks, my English is not as broad as it should be, because it seems to me that there should be some better terms to describe the following. I guess I will run into such problems in the future when writing about horses, as there are just too many words around horses in other European languages that cannot be directly translated into English.

Anyway, I’ll try to stay within the layman’s/horseman’s terms for better understanding.

  • In figure 1 you can see proper penetration of a shoe nail through the wall of the hoof. In principle there is a thin layer of the hoof wall between the nail and the sensitive part of the hoof (laminae).
  • Figure 2 shows so-called “indirect hot nail”, where the layer of the wall between the nail and the sensitive part of the hoof is too thin. In other words the nail is pressing against the sensitive part of the foot. Often in this case horses do not go lame immediately. In some cases they do not go lame at all. Sometimes however, horses can go lame as late as two weeks after shoeing. In this case the sensitive part of the foot gets inflamed and very seldom infected/abscessed.
  • Finally, the figure 3 shows genuine/direct “hot nail” or “pricking the horse’s foot”. In this case the sensitive part of the foot gets directly damaged which can lead sometimes to very serious complication, especially if the treatment is delayed. In most cases this kind of injury causes infection/abscess, hence it must be treated immediately to prevent these complications.

Most common causes:

  • Improper placement of the channel or a groove in the shoe. This was most common in the old days, when farrier made his own shoes. However, there are on the market these days shoes with the same faults, mainly the “wide web” shoes, where the groove is too far inward from the outer edge of the shoe.
  • Incorrectly made nail holes in the shoe. This is pretty much the same case as above, most common when farrier made his or her own shoes.
  • Improper trimming of the foot, especially by removing large amounts of the hoof wall, as you can see in the figure 3, where the shoe is set too far back and the foot then filed even with the shoe.
  • Bad condition of the foot like: too thin walls, crumbling walls or too hard hoof for the farrier to work on.
  • Lack of experience and expertise of the farrier.
  • Last but not least, is badly behaving horse when being shod. Folks, this should be your responsibility to educate your horse for the farrier, especially here in the US where the blacksmith is not only shoeing your horse, but he has to hold the foot as well. Just in case you didn’t know, it is fair to mention that in many countries in Europe, the handler hold the horses leg up by shoeing and not the farrier. Something that is being taken for granted here in the states. Should that be like that here, much less folks would own horses, don’t you think? So, learn a lesson here and make sure that your horse behaves well for the farrier, as he is supposed to shoe your horse and not train it. Well, that of course all depends just how well you can train your horse, because in some cases folks would be better off leaving the horse alone as they could make him worse rather than better. One should know his limitations.


Alternative treatment of a low prick (hot nail) no. 1.


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