Horse Shoes

Padded Draft Horse Shoes

The past 30 years we have used 2000-pound Belgian horses to pull the sleighs in the winter and carriages in the summer. In the wintertime we have been successful without using any horseshoes on the snow and ice with the horses pulling the sleighs. During the summer time the Belgians pull carriages and walk mostly on pavement. Since the beginning of the carriage business we have had a concern with the heavy weight between of the Belgian horse’s hoofs and the pavement. Over the past 20 years, have been perfecting the perplexing problem of how to minimize the contact pressure between the Belgians hoof and the hard pavement and keeping the most natural process of the normal biomechanics of the hoofs while walking.

This article will describes the current solution of attaching rejected rubber steel belted tire treads to horseshoes.

List of Tools and Materials

  • 10 inch Milwaukee angle grinder #6065
  • 10 inch Pipeline cutting disks
  • Typical horse shoeing tools
  • Fitted Steel Horse Shoe
  • Drill Press
  • 1/2" inch Socket with extension
  • Cordless ½ inch drill
  • Draft horse stock
  • 1" hole saw “ round blade
  • 3/8" inch coarse tap

Preparation of Horseshoe

  1. Drill and tap 5/16 standard thread holes in to horseshoes (see fig. 1)
  2. Add three clips to the horseshoe front and each side . The clip horseshoe keeps most of the hoof pressure on the rubber tire pad and less pressure on the shoeing nails.
  3. The difference between the front and rear shoes, there is one hole centered on the top of the rear shoe and two holes on top about 2 inches apart for the front shoes. The total number of bolt holes for the rear shoe is seven and for the front shoe is eight. Figure 1 is a front shoe.

Preparation of Rubber Pad

  1. Go to a recapping truck tire store, that has piles of defective tires that cannot be recapped. Pick tires that have almost new tread. Use tire sizes 20, 22 or 24 inches with 10 or 12 ply steel belted. Most tire companies donate the tires.
  2. Using a Milwaukee heavy-duty sander/grinder catalog # 6065 with 10-inch Pipeline discs 1/8 inch thick to cut the tough rubber tire. Wear gloves and a face shield that covers your entire face. The cutting of rubber is a dirty job where clothing to discard when finished.
  3. The first cut is the side-walls next to the tread.
  4. Cut the tire so it will lay flat in one long piece of tread.
  5. Cut across the tread and lay the tread on a surface that is as flat as possible.
  6. Lay the horseshoe on the tire piece for size and cut off the piece of rubber about 3 inches longer than the pre-fitted horseshoe.
  7. Put the rubber tire pad on a metal table and with a C-clamp, clamp the pad with the tread down. Then with the grinder, grind the rubber sides down until there are 2 rows of the steel wires on the rubber pad and is almost flat.
  8. Set the pre-fitted horseshoe on the rubber pad about ½ inch from the shoe’s bottom and center shoe to the rubber.
  9. Take the shoe and rubber pad off the metal table and bolt the shoe and rubber pad together with one 5/16 bolt on one side of the shoe.
  10. Use a drill press and drill a single ¼ inch hole through the threaded hole in the horseshoe and into the rubber tire.
  11. Enlarge the ¼ inch holes with a ½ inch drill through the rubber pad.
  12. Use a 1-inch hole saw “round” blade with a ¼ inch drill in the center. Drill into tread side of the rubber until it bottoms out at the steel belts.
  13. Take the rubber piece out by changing the drill angle.
  14. Use a 3/16 bolt and nut with flat washers. Tighten the bolt through the rubber pad to the horseshoe this will keep the rubber pad from moving.
  15. Drill the rest of the holes though the tap holes of the horseshoe. and through the rubber,. This will mark where the rest of the holes in the pad to match with the horseshoe.
  16. Enlarge all the ¼ inch holes with a ½ inch drill through the rubber pad.
  17. Again, use a 1-inch hole saw “round” blade with a ¼ inch drill in the center. Drill into the rubber until it bottoms out at the steel belts.
  18. Again, take the rubber piece out by changing the drill angle.

Attaching the rubber pad to the metal horseshoe

  1. Place one inch 5/16 cap screws, with a flat washer, to the rubber pad.
  2. Bolt the rubber pad to the metal horseshoe. (This can be very time consuming if the bolts do not line up with the holes. Be sure the holes line up.)
  3. If the bolt sticks out too far through the horseshoe, unscrew the cap screw and add one or possibly two flat washers.

Shaping the Rubber Pad

  1. Using the angle grinder, trim the attached rubber pad near the shoe with approximately 2 inches over hanging in the front.
  2. Taper the back of the shoe with the taper widest on the bottom approximately ½ inch from the top.
  3. Make the sides straight down.
  4. Leave approximately 1 inch from the front of the shoe before I start the front taper. Make the taper of shoe to continue with the natural angle of the horse’s hoof to the ground. The 1 inch is at the front of the shoe and trims down that match the side of the shoe (see fig. 2)

Procedure for shoeing the horse

  1. Take the shoe and the rubber pad apart.
  2. Strap the horse in the horse stock for shoeing.
  3. Securing the hoof down to the stock with a 2" wide nylon strap and buckle a shore chain through a ring on the stock.
  4. Secure the knee with a strap to the horse stock.
  5. Shoe the horse.
  6. Bend all 3 of the horse shoe clips to the hoof.
  7. Cover the frog area with pine tar.
  8. Apply one drop of Lock-Tite on each bolt thread to keep the screw from backing out prematurely.
  9. Screw the bolts into place.
  10. Fill the cavity around the frog with clear silicone.
  11. Tape backside of the hoof with duct tape until the silicon sets up (at least 2 or more hours).

Benefits of Padded Draft Horseshoes

  1. Costs; the rejected tire treads are free.
  2. The tire treads absorbs the shock of the foot that prevents injuries clear up the leg.
  3. The hoof's frog does it's job by forcing the pumping action that pushes blood up the leg to the heart.
  4. The steel belted tire tread lasts a long time.
  5. The final product causes pressure across the hoof's pad; putting a pressure similar to walking on the ground instead of like a shoe that has no pressure on the hoof's pad.
  6. The horse can transition from walking on the soft surface of the field as well as the hard pavement without any problems.
  7. The horse is happier and more comfortable when walking on hard pavement.

If anyone is more interested in making these shoes and pads, we recommend coming to our place and see some of the short cuts and equipment we use.