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How to Pull a Shoe Off

By Marie Leginus

It was finally here, you and Studley have been waiting all summer for that perfect day; the day to load up and hit that favourite trail at the park. The sun was shining, and the sky was blue, and you knew it was going to be a great day. Once you were parked, and in the trailer unloading your steed you notice something funny about Studley?s hoof. You unload him and tie him to the trailer to take a better look, and to your amazement his shoe is half off and twisted on his hoof. Now what? Call the farrier; that came to no answer.

This article will help you, the horse owner, prepare for emergencies like this.  

Tools that would be needed could either be bought/borrowed from your farrier, or purchased from a local feed /supply store. From Left to right, Pull offs, clinch cutter (top), hammer(bottom), crease nail pullers, rasp and apron. Not all of these are required, and none of them have to be top of the line. If you are at a boarding barn, suggest to have a set of these tools for emergencies, however if you are on your own, having just the pull offs, crease nail pullers and a rasp will do.

Assess the situation.

How bad is it? Is the shoe twisted on the hoof, are there nails that could puncture the hoof, is a clip in a dangerous spot? Or is the shoe just a bit loose, and there would be no harm done to the horse.

The Quick and Easy Way

A quick way to remove the shoe would be with a pair of crease nail pullers. Taking each nail out separately will do less harm to the hoof wall and less force upon the hoof itself. Clamp its jaws around the head of each nail in turn and pry the nail out by pushing the handle away from you. When all the nails are out, the shoe should come off easily ? though if one or two nails are too worn down to grab with the nail-puller, you may need to work the shoe free with the pulloffs as shown earlier. In an emergency, you can use pliers or wire-cutters instead of a crease nail puller. If, instead of a loose shoe, you have a single loose nail, but the shoe is still firmly on the foot, you can pull out the one loose nail and leave the shoe on until your farrier can come.

Using Pull Offs

Another option is to use only the pull offs to take the shoe off, they may take some hoof wall off as well, but in an emergency, it will be for the best.

Hold your horses hoof up off the ground, between your legs, standing slightly pigeon toed while under the horse?s front leg. Having your tools close to you as you do this is a lot easier, especially if there is nobody to pass them to you.? Positions the pull offs on the shoe at the heel and close the handles together.

Once the handles are closed, grip the hoof with your leg and give a quick, fast push on the pull offs away from you.

Alternate from heel to heel with every push on the pull offs.

If under the hind leg, position yourself the same, except the hoof will be sitting in your lap, rather than between your legs.

Once the shoe is off, make sure the hoof is wrapped in duct tape, or if you have a boot to put on, to protect the hoof until you are able to have a farrier replace the shoe.