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Horseshoe Progression List

Ever since releasing Hammering Horseshoes last August, one of the most common questions I have received about Horseshoe Bending has been regarding the Horseshoe Progression.

These are some of the examples of questions I have gotten:

Which horseshoes are best for beginners to bend?

Are there any more shoes in my difficulty level I can bend to add to my collection?

I have hit a wall with my horseshoe bending – are there other shoes I can use to break through my plateau?

These are all perfectly valid questions, and I think today’s post is going to help a lot.

After all, when you are new at Bending Horseshoes, it’s nice to have some shoes that are on the easier side so you can work on technique on lighter shoes before progressing upwards.

And of course, once you hone your technique, you will want some reasonable jumps to make as you move up the ladder.

And, if you happen to be a gifted Horseshoe Bender and are aiming to be one of the best, then you’ll need to know which ones to choose in order to climb the mountain.

All levels of bending prowess need variety and that is what this post will give you.

Hammering Horseshoes DVD Progression List

In our DVD, Hammering Horseshoes, Mike and I laid out a nice progression of the most common shoes – the most widely available, and most often bent. We ended up with more than a dozen horseshoes for people to choose from.

However, as time has gone by, we found that people wanted even more shoes
. We found that people are willing to put in the work to find some of the more rare shoes, just so that they can make smaller jumps without running into a wall on the track to Horseshoe Bending Heroism.

So, Mike and I reached out to one of the top horseshoe benders in the world, David Wigren. You see, David actually designed the progression for the current horseshoe certification list that is used by most benders on-line at Benders’ Battlefield.

One of the things David and I talked about was, why, if there are so many more shoes on the market, are they not included on the current horseshoe bending certification progression list?

This is what he had to say:

    “The #1 reason why there aren’t more shoes on the cert list is to avoid unintentional overlapping. As you know steel varies, and because of that my idea was just to have a “safety” distance between each shoe, so that the easiest level 10 shoe won’t be easier than any level 9 shoe.
    The 2nd reason is that not a whole lot of shoes meet the criteria. Some shoes vary a lot, so they won’t be added to the list. Clipped and healed shoes won’t be added, since it would be easy to manipulate a clipped shoe and get away with it.
    I also wanted all the shoes (with one or two exceptions) to be available in most parts of the world. However I’m only that picky when it comes to the cert list. I do have a list that is more “approximated” and contains more shoes. This list contains most of the shoes I’ve bent (or partially bent) and I’ve rated them by the difficulty I experienced while bending them.
    Unfortunately not all shoes are on there. But I think Rinderle could fill in with some other shoes he’s bent, and you’ll end up with a pretty good list.”

So, Mike and I put out heads together and placed a few more shoes on the list to help you guys out. What we came up with appears below.

Horseshoe Variation

Now, remember as you look at and utilize this list that shoes will vary, even within the same shoe. You may find weaker shoes in a given variety that could be easier than shoes that are ranked below them on the list. This is just the reality of the feat of strength of bending. Use this as your guideline to greatness with horseshoe bending.

Horseshoe Progression List


1. St. Croix Forge Ultralite #2
2. St. Croix Forge Ultralite #1
3. St. Croix Forge Polo #2
4. St. Croix Forge Polo #1
5. St. Croix Forge Polo #0
6. St. Croix Forge Polo #00
7. Diamond Classic 1
8. Diamond Classic 0
9. Diamond Classic 2
10. St. Croix Forge Lite Rim 0


11. Kerckhaert sx7
12. St croix Lite rim 2
13. Nordic Delux 2
14. St croix lite rim 3
15. Nordic Delux 3
16. St croix lite rim 1
17. Werkman 3
18. Kerckhaert SSP 8×22 #3
19. St croix Lite plain #3


20. Kerckhaert SN 8×25 #5
21. Kerckhaert SSP 8×22 #2
22. Diamond bronco PL 000
23. 5/16×7/8 healed
24. Wide sliding plate
25. Kerckhaert SSP 8×22 #1
26. st croix forge regular plain 000
27. Kerckhaert SN 8×25 #3
28. Diamond special 5
29. Kerckhaert SSP 10×22 #5
30. St. croix plain regular #3
31. SSP 8×18 #000
32. SN 8×20 #000
33. Kerckhaert SN 10×22 #3
34. Kerckhaert SSP extra 8×22 #0
35. Unmarked healed shoe 3/8×3/4
36. AB #6
37. Kerckhaert WH 10×28 #6

I hope this new Horseshoe Bending Progression List helps you all out. You now have a huge list of shoes to choose from. Take note, some of these shoes are much more common than others, and some can be nearly impossible to find.

What you should do right now is Bookmark this post, because I can assure you from time to time I will hear from more people who have bent lots of horseshoes over the years and I will add to this list from time to time.

Of course, just because you know which shoes are easy and which ones are hard, don’t be surprised if you can’t bend one of the easier shoes. Horseshoe Bending is extremely dependent upon technique. You can be strong as a son of a bitch and still get your ass handed to you by a shoe that is residing way over on the lighter side of the spectrum.

So, when you go on-line or to the local Farrier supply shop to order your shoes, add the Hammering Horseshoes DVD to your shopping list as well so you can learn the right techniques for horseshoe bending. Pick it up below:

All the best with your horseshoe bending,


P.S. HUGE thanks to David Wigren and Mike Rinderle for helping me put this together for everybody!

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10 Responses to “Horseshoe Progression List”

  1. Chase Says:

    This is great. I am kind of obsessed with progressions and lists. I have been wanting to venture outside of SCF and Diamond but wasn’t quite sure where to go from there. Thanks to the Hammering Horseshoes dvd, I have blown through pretty much all of the shoes in the beginner section and even smashed the Lite Rim 3 twice. All of this since having shoulder surgery six months ago. I found a few good websites so I am putting in an order for some Nordics and Kerckhaerts. I just have to keep “hammering” my technique.

  2. Carl Donati Jr. Says:

    Awesome list guys!!! I haven’t had experience with a lot of these shoes… mainly just the Diamonds, SCF and SSPs. The SCF Lite Plain 3 is a tough shoe. But, the SSP 8×22 #2 is in a different ball game IMO–gotten close a few times but not yet. Maybe now, I’ll try the Kerckhaert SN 8×25 #5 for a step up from the LP3.

  3. Chase Says:

    Also can I get some clarification on a few of these? Is the number 10 lite rim on the list a size 0? Also what are the preferred sizes on the Kerckhaert sx7 and which Werkman 3? Also I have wondered about the difference between the front and the hind. Most of my shoes have been fronts. Is that the best choice or does it matter?

  4. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Yes, the number 10 is supposed to be Lite Rim 0. Thanks for finding that omission, Chase!

  5. TheMinotaur Says:

    What is a realistic goal after 1 year of bending shoes? AB6 or is that too much for anyone after only a year? Plain Regular #3?

  6. Jedd Johnson Says:

    It is hard to make a call on this, because I think it depends on how well you can get your technique dialed in and what your base strength is already. I think mobility also plays a supporting role here. If you are already strong, get your technique right, and can get into the power positions for the initial kink, you can jump up pretty high.

  7. TheMinotaur Says:

    When I started watching your video on Aug 5th, I couldn’t even do the SC ultralite#2. Yesterday, I mashed the lite rim #3 to about 170 degrees after about 3 minute battle. I have a great base of strength. My technique is getting better. Jedd, can you set a New Years goal for me and then a year from now goal? Thank you for the awesome DVD!

  8. TheMinotaur Says:

    Just another note, I have been training very hard since August 5th. I’ve been pouring my heart and sole into horseshoes and longbar. I own your braced bending video also. I have torn quarter sized chunks out of both hands at least 5 times now since I started training. I exert myself so hard that I have almost blacked out! So with that in mind, can you set me a goal for New Years and a goal for next September in horseshoes? Thanks Jedd!!

  9. Mike Rinderle Says:

    New Year’s goal: Lite Rim 1 and significant movement on the Lite Plain #3. September next year: The Kerckhaert SSP 8 X 22 #1 with the possibility of the Reg Plain 3 depending on your strength.

  10. TheMinotaur Says:

    Quick question on the Steelbenders Hall of Fame for 2011 and 2012. Just curious why John Brookfield, Steve McGranahan, and Chris Ryder are not on either list? With all due respect, all three are AT LEAST equal in bending ability. John Brookfield has written books on hand strength and steel bending. Just curious. It seems a major oversight leaving these three out!

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