What is Hot Shoeing?
Hot shoeing is a method of applying a horseshoe that has been heated in a forge, to the horse's hoof. The farrier is able to form the shoe to fit the natural shape of the horse‘s hoof, exactly. Hot steel is much easier to work over using a hammer than it is to shape cold steel. It may also be necessary if you‘re using shoes therapeutically, to correct something like clubfoot or using a heart bar shoe to give support to a weak hoof wall. Hot shoeing generally results in a better fit than cold shoeing, but not all farriers agree on that point. It’ll be your call.
Hot shoeing the hoof seals the cell tubules and prevents water from getting into the horny layer of the hoof in wet conditions, and preserves the existing moisture, when in hot dry conditions. Applying a hot shoe also kills any bacteria on the surface of the just trimmed edges of the hoof.
Hot shoes can also be fitted with clips that assist in holding the shoes on the hoof. Depending on how your horse behaves in the pasture or paddock, this practice might help keep shoes on. Some horses can twist or rotate their ankles which can throw off their shoes. Clips can also help a thin or weak hoof wall to hold a shoe in place.
The process of adding clips, when the hoof is hot shod, burns the clip into the hoof wall and locks it in place. Clips can be applied cold but tend to perform better when applied hot. Nailing the shoe on is still necessary, but the clips do help to hold the shoe in place, reducing stress on the hoof wall where nails can normally pull.