What tools are need to remove a horseshoe?
To remove a horseshoe safely you’ll need most importantly, the knowledge and some skill.
It’s probably best to have a farrier to do any work on the feet but in an emergency, having some tools at hand can be useful:
- Buffer (also called a clinch/clench cutter). Raises or cuts the clenches to reduce the amount of damage to the foot when the nails are removed during the shoe removal process
- Hammer. Used to hit the buffer with. Farriers traditionally use a hammer between 8-14oz in weight to nail on and this is the hammer often used to hit the buffer with. A rubber mallet to use with the buffer is also common and causes less wear on the buffer than using a regular hammer. If your hammer is only for removing shoes then almost any small hammer will probably be good enough!
- Pull-offs (also called pincers). Once the nails are removed or the clenches raised, the pull-off are used to lever the shoe away from the foot. Starting at each heel and gradually working towards the toe (following the direction of and working around the shoe until the shoe is free).
- Nail pullers. Can make the job heaps easier! They’re not always considered a vital part of shoe removal but for inexperienced owners trying to remove a shoe, they can be helpful. The nail pullers remove the nails from the crease in the shoe from underneath. Grab the nail and lever forwards and backwards until the nail is risen from shoe and then use either the nail pullers or pull-offs to take the nail out. Once all the nails are out, there’s nothing much holding the shoe in place. If the shoe is particularly worn or the shoe is flat (without a groove) then using the nail pullers might not be an option.
- Band aid. Always handy to have one of these to stop the bleeding if you should hit yourself with the hammer, cut yourself on the buffer or stab a nail in your finger.