Posted on 21st May 2020
Some time ago we received an email asking if we ever stamped anything else onto a shoe. We were intrigued. No, we replied never anything other than what we are asked to hand stamp in personalisation. Where then, we were asked, had these numbers and letters come from on her horseshoes?It was only then we realised that under rust and dirt, the customer had not noticed when sending her shoes, the size and brand markings on her horse’s shoes.
Just like our own two foot shoes, there are a whole variety if different brands of horseshoe. Beneath the umbrella of that brand there are styles, and beneath that still there are sizes. Not always, but often with many brands this information is stamped into the horseshoe. Often over time and with wear on the horse’s hoof these marks may wear away or only partially remain. Or, once removed from the horse’s foot and kept for a time, these marks may become pretty difficult to find unless you know what you are looking for as they are covered in dried dirt and rust.
Commonly used, ready made horseshoes include, Mustad, Stromsholm, Cottams and Handmade Shoes (or HMS) within these are a whole variety of styles and shapes to suit every horse and pony for every purpose. Your farrier will often change the shape of these shoes slightly by heating them before they fit the to your horse’s foot or even adjusting them cold with a hammer if not a lot of adjustment is needed.
Size is commonly marked with a number, but these number mean different sizings according to different brands so certainly not a case of a size 5 being a universal 5 as it would be for our human feet!
Ah that’s another thing too. Depending on what is available in stock to your farrier, or the time of year, ground conditions, the amount of work your horse is doing, changes in your horse’s foot, or other health considerations may all affect what type of shoe your horse wears. So don’t expect all shoes to be the same even if the shoes have come from the same horse as they may vary on each shoeing cycle.
Yes they can do. Each and every farrier has to be able to demonstrate making a shoe from scratch as one of their examinations at farrier college. However, for every day shoeing many farrier’s chose already manufactured horseshoes and shape them to custom fit your horse’s foot. We do know when we receive shoes that have been handmade by a farrier as there are various ways a handmade shoe can be spotted but that’s a whole other story. Some individual farrier’s that perhaps are Associate or Fellow Farriers have their own stamps they use on their custom made horseshoes.
Ohhhh all over the place! Many size marks are on the heel of the shoe, often the underside that is in contact with your horse’s hoof or sometimes even on the inside edge of the heel. Other brand names are sometimes found at the toe of the shoe but they can be at the heel too. If you want to have a look before you send your shoes and your shoes are dirty, you could get yourself a bowl of water with some washing up liquid and a nail brush and give your shoes a good old scrub and then dry them off. This should uncover most marks if you were interested to have a look!
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