How to remove a horse shoe in under 5 seconds

pulled shoe
This shoe was on Zelda’s foot for about 24 hours. Think about the amount of torque required to pull a shoe off in one quick motion — less than 5 seconds — that bends a piece of steel so effectively!

Zelda got her spring shoes last Tuesday. I went for a short ride on Wednesday, listening to the clickety clack of steel shoe on pavement as we rode onto the trail system. Three miles later, the last few steps of the ride rang out as clickety thump. One shoe was gone.

If you’ve ever tried to remove a shoe — say, for example, a shoe that’s a bit loose — you know that it is damned hard to separate that shoe from the hoof. But Zelda managed to do it soundlessly, seamlessly, and apparently effortlessly. One moment that shoe was on; the next it was gone. Her hoof was smooth and shiny, with no trace of that molded steel.

So, how did she do it? She must have stepped on the back of the shoe with her back hoof, pinning it to the ground while still moving forward. It didn’t help that the day she was shod it poured with rain and left her standing in the mud (wet hooves won’t hold a nail as well) or that the new bell boots I’d ordered in size XXL, barely fit over her hooves).

The next day I rode out looking for the shoe. I’d ridden a small loop and thought, how hard could it be? Her shoes are ginormous and would be hard to miss. Right. I rode the loop on Wednesday. No luck. I rode the loop on Thursday. Twice. No luck. I started asking random dog walkers if they’d seen a shoe on the trail. No luck. I rode the loop on Friday. No luck.

It became a personal mission. I wanted that shoe. As any horse person knows, we spend more money on our horses shoes than on our own. Zelda’s two front shoes set me back $180. If I found the shoe, my farrier could easily tap it on without the need to shape a new one.

Finally on Sunday, I found the shoe. A walker had placed it strategically on a cross country jump where I couldn’t miss it. How I’d ridden by it so many times remains a mystery.

Today the shoe was reapplied. The weather has stayed dry and the mud has disappeared. Plus, I bought a suitably large set of bell boots that should help keep that shoe protected.



3 thoughts on “How to remove a horse shoe in under 5 seconds

  1. Hmmm, I wonder if it has significant influence on the material stability if the shoe was mangled that badly and had to be reshaped – how long does a shoe normally stay on Zeldas hoof? Out of sheer curiosity: how much (approximately) does one of Zeldas shoes weigh? The thing looks HUGE.

    1. Zelda and Freedom get shoes or trims every 5-6 weeks. Sometimes they can be reset, sometimes she needs new ones. She actually has very good hooves but she’s so big that I feel I need to shoe her for hunt season and it helps keep the flare down. The shoe was reshaped without much effort so I think it will be fine. Next time I’ll bring one home to weigh it. They ARE big shoes! As a point of reference, she wears a size 6 Cavallo Simple Boot. Freedom wears a size 2!

      1. Wow! I knew Zelda was a big girl with big hooves, but holy moly, that comparison with Freedom made me realize HOW big her hooves really are. Thx for answering all my nosy questions 🙂

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