When it comes to selecting the appropriate shoe for your horse there are literally hundreds if not thousands of options in different types, styles, and brands when it comes to keg (machine made) shoes. While every brand has several different styles of shoes each with different features, shoes can really be broken into just a few categories. First we can make a division between open heel shoes and bar shoes. In this particular post we will be talking about open heel shoes.
The vast majority of horses that wear shoes are using some type of open heel shoe. There are many modifications and adaptations that we can make to shoes and we will discuss some of those in a future post, for now however we will sort shoe types into three main categories that we currently use.
Plain stamp shoes
Plain stamp shoes are the simplest of the three types. What sets them apart is they are a flat shoe that is simply punched for nails without any kind of groove (fullering) for the nails. Plain stamps have the least amount of traction of the three types we are discussing. Plain stamp shoes are a good choice when we need to protect a foot but aren’t concerned with adding traction. A wide version can also be used to reduce traction, such as the sliding plates on a reiner. Plain stamp shoes are also becoming increasingly necessary for sport horses due to how “sticky” the synthetic footing is in many arenas. In order for horses performing on these new synthetic surfaces to not injure themselves, we have to reduce traction as much as possible. Most plain stamps are handmades but there are a few plain stamp keg shoes.
¾ Fullered (also known as a fullered or creased shoe)
These are probably the most common of the three types, and what most people think of when they think of a horseshoe. The fullered shoe has a grove that allows nails to be pulled individually as well as adds some traction compared to plain stamp shoes. These are a good option for many horses and is the most common style that keg shoes come in.
A concave shoe is typically a handmade shoe, though there are some keg shoe options available. Out of the three this shoe has the most traction and is the lightest weight. This is the go to shoe for many different horses as it is extremely versatile and quick to build.
There are several more types of shoes that we could discuss however these are the three that you will see come off our anvil the most.