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Farrier Wisdom
First Posted: Jan 17, 2011
Jan 17, 2011

Hot Shoeing/ Hot Setting or Hot Fitting A Horse/What Does That Mean?

My farrier of more than 30 years, Don Roof, trimming A Patchy

"Hot shoeing," also called "hot setting" or "hot fitting," is a common practice among farriers. After the foot has been trimmed, rasped and is ready for the new shoe, the farrier will heat the shoe in the forge and place it briefly on the foot to sear the path where the shoe will ultimately lie.

Most of us have heard the terminology of hot shoeing, hot setting or hot fitting a horse for shoes. Just what does that mean, when is it done, why is it done, who does this, are there any down sides to it?

There was a day when horse shoes had to be made from "scratch," that is the keg shoes and others we see pre-made today did not exist. The horse shoer, or farrier, had to fire up the forge and do everything from the beginning including making the nail holes! I remember when my farrier, Don Roof, had his forge in the back of his truck. He used to do everything himself, too. Today, Don has a forge, and still does use it on occasion, but uses the pre-made shoes and makes necessary changes to those shoes for whatever the task at hand may be. He has always told me that every horse is different, just like every other living thing. Don looks at the horse's way of going, how the horse stands, holds itself, rides under saddle, in a circle (both ways), looks at the horse's conformation--the shoulder angles, feet, pasterns, under part of the hoof, hocks, stifles, bone alignment, bone angles, length of toes, knees, foot direction, withers and croup, etc. He looks for any irregularities and then proceeds to shoe. After he does this appraisal he goes about preparing and placing the sho, depending upon what problems may exist. He is thorough and the best!

There are many varying opinions about hot shoeing among those in the farrier field. There are pros and cons, but Don has always told me that the most important thing to remember is that in order to do a good job when shoeing a horse--make sure the preparatory work to putting on the shoe is done well. The foot must be level and balanced--having a well and properly prepared surface. Hot shoeing will NOT resolve problems of an improperly prepared foot.

Some Reasons for Hot Shoeing

  • Seals the cut horn tubules (epithelial cells) Good for wet weather conditions.
  • Kills fungus
  • Kills bacteria
  • Aids in the stabilization of shoes with clips
  • Gives a smooth surface to attach the shoe
Some Potential Problems of Hot Shoeing

  • Can damage the foot causing abscesses or sores
  • A farrier's lack of forging skills can cause real problems for your horse

For More Information:


Farrier Wisdom