Until recently, the only
practical way to make clips on horseshoes was to forge them from a hot shoe. For
some applications, farriers find forged clips are limited in size, width, and
the number that can be made on a single shoe. This is especially apparent when
making therapeutic or draft shoes.
few years ago, when part of my practice was doing therapeutic shoeing for Colorado
State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital, I developed a method of applying
clips using a 110 volt wire-feed welder.
found this method especially useful when more than one clip was required on a
shoe, as for treating a fractured coffin bone, or when very tall or wide clips
were needed to secure a shoe as when a portion of the hoof was damaged or removed.
Since weldable clips were not commercially
available, I stamped clips from sheet metal on a modified half-round cut-off hardy.
I found welding clips to be more efficient than forging
and before long I was welding all my clips.
those farriers who make therapeutic shoes, apply clips to draft horse shoes, or
already use a welder for other procedures such as bar shoes will find that welding
clips can enable them to handle a wider variety of shoeing situations with confidence.
a Clip Should Do
be effective a clip should have the following characteristics:
- it should be located correctly on the shoe
it should be strong enough that it doesn't bend or break
should be large enough to do its job
- it should
be efficient to make.
these characteristics in mind, let's look at welded clips.
It would be very impractical for most shoers to draw two or more clips next to
one another. Welded clips can be placed next to one another around the entire
shoe if necessary, as with the contiguous clip shoe for treating a coffin bone
fracture (Photo A).
Like a good forged clip, a welded clip, if properly applied, is strong enough
for any shoeing application. A practical and attractive toe clip like the one
on the Clydesdale in Photo B is strong, and easy and quick to apply.
pair of clips made of 1/8" stock helped keep a shoe on this draft horse's
reconstructed hoof until new hoof grew down (Photo C)
In order for a clip to do its job it has to have sufficient contact with the hoof
wall. One valuable use of clips is to help secure a shoe and pad. Only too often,
the largest clip you can forge from the shoe is ineffective because all that touches
the hoof is the tip of the clip. The clip in Photo D is a typical forged clip
used with a wedge pad.
clips, on the other hand, can be made in any size and any shape that you need.
Tall welded clips, like the one in Photo E, are especially suited for use with
pads and with weak hoof walls.
"Producing the desired result with a minimum of effort, expense, or waste".
To forge a clip, the shoe first has
to be heated in the forge. This uses fuel and takes time, both of which cost you
Welded clips are made beforehand in your shop. The steel
does not have to be heated and each clip takes only 5 seconds to make.
apply the clip, you simply fit it to the shoe and weld it on. It is quick, taking
a total of around 2 minutes per clip. A $20 spool of welding wire will weld hundreds
of clips. Your client furnishes what little electricity is required to run your
Many farriers find
that the process of pulling clips from a hot shoe always changes the shape and
the levelness of the shoe. This means more time and effort to re-level and reshape
the shoe before it's ready to nail on. Factory pre-clipped shoes present a similar
problem. It can be very frustrating to accurately shape a pre-clipped shoe, keep
it level, and not damage the clip.
clips do not change the shape of the shoe. The shoe is shaped and fit once, before
the clips are applied. As soon as the clips are applied, the shoe is ready to
And since welded clips are flush with the outer
edge of the shoe, they don't have to be burned into the hoof wall (Photo F).
A welded clip is not suitable for a
toe clip except on shoes that have borium applied at the toe, such as a draft
shoe, to prevent the weld at the base of the clip from wearing. A forged clip
is usually a better choice for a single toe clip. In most
cases. however, two forward placed welded side clips can be used instead of a
slag from a hot shoe, sparks from welding are a fire hazard and should be contained
by a shield around your welding area. Every farrier who heats a shoe using any
means should carry a workable fire extinguisher and will usually have a quench
bucket close at hand. Common sense goes a long way in minimizing fire danger.
The sound and light from welding may
startle some horses initially, but most horses quickly become accustomed to welding.
Be careful not to set up too near the horse and have a handler keep a close eye
on the horse the first time the horse sees welding in action.
can greatly improve the quality of your horseshoeing and increase your profits.
Here are some suggested uses:
you use pads, use a pair of tall clips to take some strain off the nails and help
secure the package to the hoof, as with the Clydesdale shoes in Photo G. Place
clips between the 1st and 2nd or between the 2nd and 3rd nail holes.
- To contain the flares on wide-footed horses place
a pair of clips across the widest part of the hoof. This can train the hoof to
grow down in more upright manner.
a horse is going to be in a wet environment, especially a horse with wide platter
feet, use a pair of clips to keep the shoe from spreading over the edge of the
shoe and collapsing the heels. Place the clips between the 2nd and 3rd or 3rd
and 4th nail holes on a keg shoe.
- When shoeing a hoof
that has a portion missing due to an accident or surgery, a long clip can prevent
the exposed shoe
from being stepped on and can also help hold medication in place (Photo H).
- For active horses wearing squared toe shoes place
clips between the 1st and 2nd nail holes to keep the shoe from sliding back and
shifting on the hoof.
- To keep shoes on a troublesome
horse when all else fails, weld special clips called "heel shields"
to the heels of the front shoes (Photo I).
MAKING WELDED CLIPS
are stamped cold from 16 guage ungalvanized sheet metal.
Galvanized steel releases dangerous gases when heated by welding.
steel hammer can be used for the initial blows (Photo J) to save wear on the brass
hammer. Be careful not to cut through and damage your hammer and hardy.
a brass hammer for the final blows to cut the steel through will keep the clip
hardy sharp and prevent marring the face of your steel hammer (Photo K).
magnet like the on on Photo L holds the clip in position
A small weld on
of the clip will ensure the clip
doesn't bend outward (Photo M).
necessary, the weld can be cleaned up with a rasp or grinder before the shoe is
applied, or with a rasp after the shoe is applied as in
To learn all about welding clips, including how to make the tools
to stamp out your own clips, and how to make and apply heel shields and contiguous
clip shoes, see my 60-minute video Welding
Clips With a Wire-Feed Welder.
Shoeing, Richard Klimesh