Knowing that the horse's foot is admirably constructed to perform certain definite functions, and that the hoof, in ordinary conditions, is designed to act as the medium through which the most important of these are carried out, but that its circumference is liable to be broken away and worn when unduly exposed, we have only to substitute for a certain portion of this perishable horn, an equivalent portion of a more durable material, and the hoof is secured from damage by wear, while its natural functions remain unimpaired.
With this object in view, what has been designated the Periplantar or Charlier method of shoeing has been introduced, and with considerable success.
In this method the sole and frog, as well as the bars, are left unpared. The crust or wall is bevelled off at the edge by the rasp, and by means of a special knife, with a movable guide, a groove or recess is made along this bevelled edge to receive the shoe. Into this groove is fitted the shoe. This is a narrow, but somewhat deep, band of iron (or, as now, a mixture of iron and steel; or, better still, Bessemer steel). It is perforated by from four to six oval nail holes of small size, and, if required, may be provided with a clip at the toe, though this is seldom found necessary.
Its upper inner edge is rounded by the file to prevent it pressing too much against the angle of the sole, and the ends of the branches are narrow and bevelled off towards the ground.
The nails are very small, and have a conical head and neck. They must be of the finest quality.
Side View. Periplantar Shoeing.
It is best to fit the shoe in a hot state, as it must have a level bed, and follow exactly the outline of the wall. After it has been fitted, it is desirable to remove, by a small drawing-knife, a little of the horn from the angle of the groove of the hoof, to correspond with the rounded inner edge of the shoe. This ensures the proper amount of space between the latter and the soft horn, at the margin of the pedal bone.
In strong hoofs the shoe is almost entirely buried in the groove; but in those which have the soles flat or convex, with low heels, or which have been partially ruined by the ordinary method of shoeing, it is not safe to imbed it so deeply, at least to commence with.