What do I do with my horse's hoof after he has tweaked a shoe and I am waiting for the awesome farrier to come and fix it?


For the most part, a sprung, tweaked, or yanked off horse shoe needs to be managed on a case by case basis.  For some tweaked shoes, leaving it on is the best case.  Other times, like if it’s hanging on by a thread, it’s time for you to remove it before the farrier comes to tack it back on.  


So how do you decide??  If the shoe is basically on and only missing a nail or two, you may be OK.  If the shoe is bent, your horse will have a hard time standing on it and it will likely need to come off.  Any twisting should be taken on a case by case basis also.  If you are unsure if the tweaked shoe should come off, chat with your farrier and perhaps send your farrier a photo of it via message or email.  Then you can proceed….


"Oh hey, it only took you an hour to find my shoe.  I'll hide it better next time."


Let’s assume you have removed the offending shoe, or your horse has removed it for you.  (Here’s an article for you to peruse to pull a shoe step by step.)  Now you are left with a naked foot.  It’s important that you do a few things here:


  • Find the shoe if it was “removed” by your horse in his stall or paddock.  No need for him to step on it later and hurt himself.  Also, it gives your farrier something to work with that “matches” his remaining shoes.  Even bent shoes have a chance at being banged back into the correct shape.


  • Prevent damage to your horse's naked hoof.  A naked hoof that normally has a shoe on it is likely going to be FINE.  But, if any hoof wall was removed along with the shoe, or he spent some time doing cart wheels and shenanigans while semi barefoot on one hoof, he may have picked up a bruise or a soreness.  No need to add to that.


  • Treat anything that you suspect is not 100%.  Keep watch on his tendons, and if there are chunks of hoof wall missing you may want to chat with the Vet also about what you can do.  Often times there are cuts, scrapes, and swelling that is associated with a sprung shoe.  



Nails make pokey things - so always walk the field to find the sprung shoe!


  • In order to prevent damage and give the naked hoof some TLC, I always like to “wrap” a shoeless hoof until the farrier can arrive.  Even if it’s only for a few hours, it’s a good idea.  The easiest way to do this is with a diaper.  (You may want to toss in some hoof packing if you think your wild beast ran back and forth through some unforgiving paddock footing).  Then, a quick wrap around the edge of the hoof with duct tape, and place the foot in a boot if you have one.  
Easier than a diaper.



  • Remember that you should not wrap any sort of tape around the coronary area.  If you are without a boot, you will need to add many layers of duct tape to the bottom of the hoof area.  A fluffy bed of shavings will be fine for a diaper without a boot, but you want to skip the turnout. 



Heavy duty boots with a nice tred on the bottom.  You could also go with a canvas boot with a leather bottom, or any of the dozens to pick from. 


What you should NOT do is trim the hoof or use a rasp before the farrier can get to you.  That should be done right before the shoe gets replaced.  

What is your protocol for missing shoes?  Besided grounding your horse?