The Tricky Business of Restoring Horseshoes
As you know, the original intention of a horseshoe is not to be plated in 24ct gold or any other precious metals, but to protect the horse’s hoof and in some cases provide traction or therapeutic remedies. But we love that worn horseshoes can serve as a reminder of a great horse, event or win and so we set out to investigate ways to transform them into a gorgeous memento. It's not as straight-forward as you might think though, here's a little insight...
Without getting too scientific about things, the conditions that horseshoes are intended to protect the horse’s hooves from for example; racetracks, arena surfaces, stones, asphalt as well as clay and sand just to name a few, coupled with the weight of the horse bearing down on the shoe and the length of time the shoe is exposed to these conditions all work against the ability to produce a beautiful Horseshoe Memento.
Prefabricated steel and aluminium horseshoes obtain a level of cast porosity. Basically, the casting methods (which allow for design intricacy and mass production) produce a slightly porous horseshoe. These horseshoes actually absorb small amounts of the environment that they are exposed to. Horseshoes that a farrier makes by hand from lengths of forging steel eliminate porosity however, forging steel is expensive and so is the process of producing hand-made horseshoes. And so they are less widely used.
In order for a precious metal like gold to ‘take’ to a horseshoe during the plating process, electricity must be able to freely flow around and through the horseshoe. Any foreign matter in the horseshoe such as clay or a stone will prevent the flow of electricity and will result in that particular area of the horseshoe not receiving gold coverage.
To help counteract this issue, all Horseshoe Mementoes undergo extensive cleaning, blasting and polishing processes to remove as much foreign matter as possible. That said, it is impossible to remove every remnant, particularly matter that has been absorbed.
No Horseshoe Memento is 100% perfect, but we do try our very best to get them looking as best they can!
Any imperfections in a Horseshoe Memento will be as unique as the horseshoe itself.