Hot nails & abcesses in both front hooves - liability? insurance?

A blacksmith drove nails into the white lines of both ftont hooves of my horse and cut his hooves too short. This happened in early July 2021. My horse was in so much pain that he couldn’t walk in his stall. He pivoted on his hid legs, so his back and hind quarters became terribly sore. My vet opened the abcesses so they could drain. My vet showed my the nail holes in the whilte lines and told me that nails through the white line were the only cause of my horse’s abcesses and lameness. I went 2/day to check my horse, dress his hooves, give him antibiotives & painkillers, and make sure he was eating (hay) and drinking. His hooves are growing out, and one is still tender. I have bills for vet calls, antibiotics, painkillers, wraps, ‘sneakers’, etc. plus cancelled vacation plans, time lost from work, and stress. Has anyone had a similar experience & filed an insurance claim against the blacksmith or the boarding stable that provided the blacksmith?


I also think it would be pretty darn hard to prove that hot nails are the “only cause” of the issue.

I am glad your horse is doing better. Jingles for it to be 100% soon.


Your only remedy is not to use that farrier ever again.

Is the farrier aware that he caused the problem? Did you or the vet speak directly to him? Was he the one who made the “sneakers?”

If so, I would expect the farrier’s services to rectify the situation to be comped; but I also understand not wanting this farrier to touch your horse again.

Sorry you’ve had this miserable, expensive experience.


Every single farrier will do this to a horse at least once in his career. It’s the nature of the game.

It’s the owner’s responsibility for calling the farrier to let him know what’s going on. Good ones will come out, remove the shoes, address the holes, and help you out any way he can.

How long has this farrier been doing your horse? Did you ever call him?

5-6-ish weeks later, there should be plenty of wall growth to not have the foot sore, and the abscesses should be pretty well healed by now. Are you sure there isn’t something else going on?


This was my thought too.


Everything @JB said.

If you put aside the idea of sueing this shoer, but mention the thought to anyone you may find yourself without a shoer & have a very hard time finding a replacement.
In a Word: Grapevine


Generally a “hot nail” resolves in a week or so if it’s caught in time.

An abscess is very painful but in my experience resolves with soaking and wrapping. I’ve never called a vet on an abscess or used an antibiotic (they don’t really work on the hoof), or Bute (it can slow healing) or had the soles cut open (takes forever to heal). So I think of abscesses as low cost ailments: duct tape vet wrap animal lintex and Epsom salts. I’ve never needed to miss work to soak and wrap morning and night.

I realize abscesses are super painful and the horse can look in dramatic pain, and if you’ve never dealt with one before you could be in a panic. But I dont think in the wider context that abscesses are in lawsuit territory. Realize that it will cost you upwards of $2000 to just retain a lawyer. I figure replacing my total abscess treatment kit would be well under CAN$50, depending on what kind of sale I could get on Vetwrap.


The cost of suing him will be more than the cost of your bills, even if you account for lost work.
As others have said, it happens. Even excellent farriers can accidentally do this one every blue moon. Sometimes you will find it’s a rather common occurrence with a farrier, and you then know to stay far away from them.

When it happens the best thing to do is immediately contact the farrier. They should come out and remove the shoes and try to get your horse comfy, free of charge.

Some horses are particularly prone to getting footsore from nails. If it happens again with a different farrier, you might try glue ons.

Happened to me, luckily no abscess though. The guy didn’t show up or even reply to my messages, so I absolutely had to share this info with anyone who asked why is the vet suddenly pulling a shoe off and treating my horse! Never had any issues finding replacement and this farrier left the barn in less that 2m after 20y of working there.
Felt bad in retrospect though after I heard that he was going through tough times (divorce) … But ffs we are talking about a living being who suffered silently here.