Yeah, I was a farrier, but I took some heat over that name if you know what I mean, so I always called myself a horseshoer. Both are hind shoes, and both are what's called "hot" shoes, meaning that if nothing else is done to work the shoe hot, the heels have to be clipped to length by heating red hot then cutting them off using a hardie on the anvil and hitting it with a hammer.
People understand better, and there is less explaining to do. If the shoe was really deep, it probably got there because the ground was being plowed, therefore its depth really isn't a good indicator of age either. The shoe that is new was made in Japan and dates to when I was in business back in the 1970's.
The rusty one is exactly the same, except it has a bit of corrective work done on one heel, making me think it's probably off of a driving horse used on a light wagon, or a buggy. Well, it was dug by the county when they were cleaning a roadside ditch in front of the house. As far as I know, nobody has driven a buggy to the church next door for probably 70 or 80 years.
Modern shoes are made from steel, which would be the major difference in identifying age.
The really old shoes would be made from wrought iron, and wrought iron has a grain that can be seen when it's rusty.
Another test is steel makes lots of hot sparks when it's ground on, but wrought iron would be not as many very dull red grinder sparks.
Whether the shoe has a crease for the nail heads, or punched holes for the nail head to fit in, or if it's corrective, or if it was used on a driving horse or saddle horse, none of that will do anything as far as dating. If it is a very large horse shoe, then it would be off of a draught animal, and you could possibley date it by finding out when they stopped farming the field with horses, which might be as late as the 1940's, or as early as yesterday if you are in Amish country. could you post a photo with a ruler along side so I could get an idea of the size?
I could go down and buy a shoe today that looks just like the one in the picture.
So we are looking at what could be one hundred years difference between them, and they look exactly the same.
Would you please put the URL of the site you found that you said offered information on dating horse shoes, that would be very interesting to me. I did try to find some info but poor luck...stumbled upon an interesting blacksmithing page though: claim to know just about everything about blacksmithing so maybe you should drop them a note?
I've come up with one good site, but it doesn't have the shoe I found. It seems to me it would be very hard to date a horse shoe. I don't know when it became possible to buy already made horse shoes, but I'd bet that it was in the late 1800's, or perhaps even by the civil war.
I'd think this shoe was fairly modern, but I found it about a foot down in a hay field that was utilized in the 1700s, and I'm told in the 1960s the top 6 inches of the field was scraped. Hand made shoes might help date it as older, but I've made hand made shoes thirty years ago, so how much would that help.
I'm trying to get a good time stamp on this field because I know its age, and if I can determine an age of the shoe I can better determine what type of finds I might get at 10 to 12 inches. Had to quit years ago, and took up another line of work.
And you would have to really know what you are looking at to tell hand made from factory if the blacksmith is good at it.