How to Make Horseshoes

Learn how to make horseshoes by following these easy step by step instructions to become a successful homesteader.  

 By Nicole Faires

August 2018

Book Cover

The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living (The Ultimate Guides)(Skyhorse Publishing 2011), by Nicole Faires is not a storybook or a cookbook. It is a practical guide with nitty-gritty details on everything a homesteader can do, step-by-step with hundreds of color illustrations and pen and ink sketches. All of the information included in The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading meets these criteria: It is something that anyone can do, without special training. It can be done with relatively few supplies or with stuff you can make yourself. It has been tried and tested—either by the author, the military, doctors, or other homesteaders. You can do it! This book can help.



1. Use a straight piece of about 5/16 inch by 3/4 inch by 11-inch mild steel. If you have a large or small horse, adjust the size of the metal.

2. Mark the center of the steel with the hardy. Then make two more marks 1 3/8 inch on either side of the center on the flat side.

3. Heat the steel and those marks will create a bubble, which will help you find center. Only heat about 3/4 of the steel so you can hold one end with tongs.

4. Lay the steel over the round end of your anvil. Use a series of hammer blows to bend the steel to a 90° angle with the center mark exactly at the outside corner of the angle.



5. Round off the ends of the steel by hitting the corners against the flat side of the anvil.

rounding off the ends

6. Lay the end of the steel on the round end of the anvil again. Curve the straight end of the steel around to be the same roundness of the horse’s hoof. If you have an already-made shoe it can be your pattern.

rounding and leveling the shoe

7. Use a 3/8-inch wrench to mark the spots where you will put the nail holes. This should be done when the metal is dark red, not red hot.



8. Use a forepunch (made for farriers to make nailholes) to make a dent in the marks only 1⁄3 of the way through. It will make a bulge on the outside of the shoe called a “frog eye” that needs to be tapped back in.

making nail holes

9. Use the forepunch to hammer in 2⁄3 of the way through. Then use a much smaller forepunch, with a skinny head (also called a “stamp”) to punch the nail hole through. When it cools go to the next hole.

10. Use the pritchel or hardy hole on the anvil to make sure the stamp goes completely through the shoe. The shoe should be black by now.

11. Only one half of the shoe is done. Go back and do the other half exactly the same way. Your goal is to make the two halves symmetrical.

12. Hammer the inside of the shoe to make it rounded. Clean out any holes that did not go through. This time, make sure that the holes are angled to be the same angle as the hoof wall.

13. Run around the outside edges to bevel them and round them as you did the frog eyes. Then level up the whole shoe and make sure it is a mirror image. You will also have to make nails for the shoe.

More from The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading:

Foaling and Afterbirth

Draft Horse Care

Storing eggs


Excerpted with permission from The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living by Nicole Faires. Copyright 2011 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.




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