Horseshoe nails

Some of the most popular horseshoe nails in New Zealand are also the brand leaders in other western countries too.

E-head nails (including E slim) are the most used. These are a multi-purpose nail and suit our horses and many of the shoes we use here in Godzone. The e head nail usually fits into the fullering (“V”) of the concave profile and other manufactured shoes that have this groove.

Selecting the correct size of E head horseshoes nails for the horseshoe is vital of course. A nail too small will be loose in the shoe, not hold it on the hoof as well and probably cause the shoe to work loose quite soon after being nailed on.

A nail too large might protrude out of the ground surface of the shoe and due to the design shape of the nail (which should fit perfectly in the nail of the horseshoe) will also cause the shoe to work loose in a similar way as using a nail which is too small. A nail which is too large is likely to be damaged when being driven into the shoe and can sheer also causing the shoe to be lost.

E slim nails are similar in design to the E head nail but generally have a longer and thinner shank than the regular e heads. Some farriers prefer slim nails particularly for horses with thinner hoof walls (thoroughbreds are a classic example). In theory, a slim nail will cause less damage to the hoof wall and also reduce the likelihood of nail binds or nail pricks.

Some of the common horseshoe nails brands in New Zealand include (in alphabetical order):

  • Australian Horseshoe Nails (“Aussie Nails”)
  • Derby
  • Liberty
  • March
  • Mustad

For E head nails, farriers here generally use from E2 to E7 on a daily basis and some of the larger sizes (E8 – E12) on an as needed basis.

BH (Bevel Head) nails are also used in New Zealand, mostly for race horses as these have a smaller/lighter head which is more suited to race horses and the shoes that we use on these horses. Common sizes include BH3, BH3.5, BH4, BH5

Horseshoe nails have a tapered end so should only be driven one way into the hoof. The tapered end encourages the nail to exit the hoof when being driven. Giving the nail a firm/sharp hit with a hammer will usually cause the nail to direct the tip of the nail out. Getting the nail the wrong way round is likely to direct the tip of the nail inwards towards the sensitive structures and will result in blood and a very unhappy horse.

Some of the popular horseshoe nails brands

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