How To Measure Your Horses Hooves - Finding the Proper Plastic Horseshoe Size

How To Measure Your Horses Hooves - Finding the Proper Plastic Horseshoe Size

Leslie Batistich

A common question we get is: How do I find the proper horseshoes size? 

A lot of times the horse owner is ordering the shoes so that the shoes are available and ready for application at time of their scheduled farrier appointment.

The HOOF-it Natural Flex composite plastic horseshoe is made from a high-tech composite material.  Since this material cannot be heated and shaped, as a steel shoe, these shoes come in a wide web pattern so you are able to trim the excess shoe off to customize to your horse's hoof. 

Tips:

  • When measuring, take into consideration when your horse was last trimmed or shod.
  • If in doubt, go up a shoe size.
  • Always measure to a bulb, not strait back.  This will ensure that you have enough shoes to support the horse. 

The video below shows you a simple way to measure your horse's hooves and find the proper size. 

 

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HOOF-it Plastic Natural Flex Horseshoe - Helps a Dressage Horse

Leslie Batistich

My dressage horse has two different front feet. Needless to say, he’s tricky to shoe. He has to be shod regularly at 5 weeks to prevent his knee height from becoming uneven. The challenge is to prevent his heels from contracting in the more upright hoof.

I decided to have my farrier try HOOF-it Natural Flex  alternative horseshoes on his front feet. He’s been in them now for two shoeings. Since the composite material of the alternative horse shoes is not as hard as steel or aluminum and the shoe has a frog plate, his hoof growth is more even on each foot.

What a great invention! There are lots of horses out there that don’t do well standing and working on steel or aluminum shoes. I hope to compete him again this year at 4th Level and PSG.

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HOOF-it Helps Peggy's Foundered Horse

Leslie Batistich
About one and a half years ago I was showing in northern California when I realized my yearling mare was off on her front left foot. When I brought her home I called my Vet. He took x-rays and when the results came back, he told me she had foundered and had ten degrees of rotation in both front feet. I was extremely upset, because I was so careful with her feeding and training program. I called my horseshoer and told him what had happened and he came over right away. He immediately put on these plastic shoes with a liquid substance poured onto the sole of the feet called Hoof-It to create a pad. As soon has he finished she was walking a better. After a three month period I called my Vet to have another x-ray taken. He called me and told me that her foot was getting better. He also said to keep using the Hoof-It product because it was healing the foot better and faster than he had ever seen. Well it has been over a year now and she is walking and running normally during her turn out time. I asked my shoer if and when I could start working with her and if he thought I might be able to show her again. He gave me the go ahead about 3 weeks ago. I started working with her slowly. To make a long story short, I went to the 60th Annual Del Mar National Horse Show last week and I ended up Circuit Champion and Reserve Champion In my Division. This truly is a dream come true as I did not know if I was ever going to be able to show my mare again. I know for a fact that it was the Hoof-It Product that enabled my mares hoof to heal and grow so she could walk normal again. Thank You HOOF-it your products saved my Mares Life!!!!!!!!
Peggy Sibley,  Campo, California

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Letter from a BWFA Journeyman Farerier

Leslie Batistich

I am a full-time farrier in Maryland and shoe all types of horses doing anything from dressage to steeple-chasing. I have used the HOOF-it  shoes for six months now and am extremely pleased (as are the horses!). They (so far) stay on better (they actually mold to the hoof over time) and longer than any other shoe I have ever used and seem to offer more comfort to most horses than any other shoe. I have the most success when I fill the shoe cavity in with dental impression material and anti-bacterial granules from Eponashoe. With thin-soled horses, the interior of the shoe can “pinch” the sole without the “putty” protecting it. Also, using e-head nails seems to be best. I would love to see a more round (as opposed to oval) design included in your HOOF-it standard product line (ie. a front and a hind pattern instead of a compromise).

Thank you very much for your time!

Jonathan Fell, BWFA Journeyman Farrier

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Evolution of the Horses Hoof

Evolution of the Horses Hoof

Leslie Batistich

Today’s horse has existed for roughly one million years. Today’s horse is a one-toed animal; however, this was not always the case. Some fifty million years ago, EOHIPPUS, ran on feet with toes. Its front feet had four hooved toes, its hind feet had three, and its weight was carried on a central pad. Several million years later, its descendant, MESOHIPPUS, had grown twice the size. All four feet had three toes, the central toe being prominent.

Another ten million years passed and the horse became MERYCHIPPUS. The MERYCHIPPUS fed on grass rather than leaves and carried its weight on a single hoof, although two side toes were present.

PLIOHIPPUS, which lived ten million years ago, was the first single-toed horse. It roamed the plains and was able to graze freely and run swiftly from its predators. Traces of the side toes were present on either side of the cannon bone.

EQUUS CABALLIS, today’s horse, is a one-toed animal. The single toe has become a part of the horse’s anatomy.

The hoof wall grows down from the coronary band. It is thick enough to have nails driven into it without splitting, and can be trimmed just like human fingernails.

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Champion Arabian Horse Trainer uses HOOF-it Products

Champion Arabian Horse Trainer uses HOOF-it Products

Leslie Batistich

Three-time U. S. National Champion Arabian horse trainer, Cari Thompson, uses HOOF-it products to keep her horses sound and on top of their game.

Hello out there,

My name is Cari Thompson of Cari Thompson Training in Gardnerville, Nevada.

I have been using the HOOF-it acrylic product and the HOOF-it composite horseshoes on my Arabian show horses during training for about 5 years now. The composite horseshoes help relieve sore hooves as well as supporting bad hoof walls and contracted heels. They are also great to help support suspensory ligament damage and lay-ups and can even be used with toe weights to achieve better motion.

Because of the HOOF-it products, I have been able to keep my show horses going well when they perform in the show ring. In fact, I am happy to say that I was fortunate enough to take 2 of the Arabian show horses that have been in training in my barn to Championship wins in both the Open Arabian Hunter Pleasure and the Half-Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse classes at the U. S. Arabian National Horse Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in October of 2005. That was quite a thrill!

I want to personally thank HOOF-it Technologies for the wonderful products they provide and for all the help they have given me and my horses. We just couldn’t do it without you!

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Treating Hoof Thrush

Leslie Batistich

This spring as you go about your routine of picking out your horse’s hooves, you may discover an unusual thick black discharge and foul smell around the frog. These are the early signs of the hoof disease thrush. Thrush is an infection of the frog and of the surrounding tissue of the hoof. The bacteria associated with thrush infect the collateral and central sulci (creases) of the frog. The bacteria thrive on lack of oxygen, breaking down the tissue of the hoof. This breakdown results in the foul odor and black discharge. If thrush is left untreated it can turn into a very painful problem in the heel area of your horse.A wet environment that is made up of urine and acidity from manure is a breeding ground for the anaerobic bacterium that are attracted to any dead tissue that is on your horse’s frog. Also, people who have horses in a climate similar to the Pacific North West should keep a close lookout for this disease due to the constant dampness. The good news is that thrush is anaerobic, which means that this bacteria cannot live in the presence of air. The best way to avoid it in the first place is to keep your horse’s feet dry and clean so air can reach the tissue of the frog. A daily hoof picking does wonders. If not caught in the early stages the bacteria will form deep seated pockets and literally drill into the frog eating away the remaining healthy tissue.

If you do happen to notice a pungent odor and a black discharge from your horse’s frog, some treatment will be necessary. Mild cases of thrush can be treated by removing dead tissue by trimming, scrapping, and vigorous scrubbing (debriding), of the frog and hoof wall. Moderate cases will need to be scrubbed with an antiseptic and treated daily with a topical spray after trimming and debridement. Severe cases of thrush will need repeated intense debridement followed by sterile bandaging and a quality topical thrush treatment. Your veterinarian may also recommend a tetanus shot.

With a careful eye, good hygiene, and quick treatment if needed, you will be able to prevent thrush from delaying you and your equine partner’s long past due spring ride.

If you have had any experience with thrush please post your comments here and share your knowledge with your fellow horse owners.

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Premarin Draft Horse - HOOF-it Plastic Horseshoes

Leslie Batistich

Dear HOOF-it Technologies

Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how pleased I am with the HOOF-it Natural Flex Horseshoes that we’ve been using on our draft-cross Premarin rescue horses for the last three years. The sizes have worked well for their larger size hooves. We do a lot of trail riding in the Sierras for pleasure and we are also members of the El Dorado County Search and Rescue mounted team, so we cover alot of rocky trails and slippery granite. We love the fact that our horses have traction on granite and pavement while other horses are practically “ice-skating” on slick surfaces wearing metal shoes.

Last year we started taking our Percheron youngster out on the trails, this year at four years of age we had him on the trails preparing him for his search and rescue qualification. Considering that he weighs about 2000 pounds and we’d be on rough terrain, we were curious to see how the HOOF-it shoes would hold up. The shoes are so durable that he actually wore the same pair through two shoeing. I ‘d also like to add that his hooves have never been more healthy. Those of us who have adopted Premarin horses, most of them full-draft or draft-cross appreciate that HOOF-it makes the larger size shoes.

Many Thanks and Happy Trails,
Lisa and Brian Warner

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Equine Nutrition

Equine Nutrition

Leslie Batistich

One bit of advice you might hear around the barn is if a horse isn’t in full work, its a good idea to cut back on feed. When you’re making this big decision there are several factors to consider:

Current Weight

If your horse is on the heavy side, then cutting back is a good idea. An overweight horse can develop expensive health problems that won’t occur if ideal weight is maintained during a lower activity timeframe. Some of those expensive health problems include laminitis, fat deposits in the liver (hepatic lipidosis), joint problems, equine diabetes, and Cushing’s syndrome.

“As is the case for other species, obesity appears to promote insulin resistance in horses and it is through this pathophysiological process that many of the adverse medical consequences of obesity are being characterized. Significant current interest is centered on the recognition that insulin resistance plays a role in the pathogenesis of laminitis, a potentially severe and debilitating cause of lameness in the equine species.”
“Other equine medical conditions that are more likely in obese, insulin-resistant individuals include hyperlipemia (hepatic lipidosis) and developmental orthopedic disease (osteochondrosis). Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (equine Cushing’s syndrome) represents another common endocrinopathic condition of older horses associated with insulin resistance.”
[Johnson, Wiedmeyer, Messer, & Ganjam. Medical implications of Obesity in Horses – Lessons for Human Obesity. Jan 2009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769846/]

If your horse’s weight is ideal or a bit light, you’ll want to utilize a maintenance feeding program that follows proven guidelines based on your horses’ ideal weight. The following chart will help you determine the approximate amount of feed per day for your horse:

 

How to figure out your horses’ weight:

 

Condition

Another factor in feed adjustment decisions, is the quality of your horses’ hoof and coat condition. Healthy hooves and coat condition are a good sign of balanced nutrition. If your horse falls short in this regard, it’s a good idea to involve your vet in the feed cutting or increasing decision before you run into hoof deterioration problems after the fact.
“Nutrition also plays a key role in hoof health and maintaining proper growth rate. By keeping an animal well fed with the proper nutrients such as zinc and biotin, it is much more likely that they will produce good-quality hoof horn and have stronger feet.”
[Hoof Anatomy, Care and Management in Livestock. K. Hepworth, M. Neary, S. Kenyon. Purdue University http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/id/id-321-w.pdf]

Here’s a handy feed reference chart with nutritional estimates for equine feed:

 

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Carriage Horse Operator Question:

Leslie Batistich

Q: “I own a carriage company and the town we service just told us we may no longer use steel horseshoes because they are damaging the roads.   How does your Natural Flex Plastic Horseshoe do on roads?”  – A Desperate Carriage Operator

A: Our HOOF-it Natural Flex Plastic Horseshoes have proven them selves over and over again.  We have many carriage operations successfully using our shoes for heavy working road horses.  They not only have better traction than steel shoes, they also offer concussion dampening from standing and walking on pavement.  We are proud to offer our alternative horseshoes in a wide array of sizes.  US size 00 all the way through a draft horse size 10.

HOOF-it has been offering alternative horseshoes for well over 15 years.  Our shoes have been used on endurance horses, cow horses, dressage horses, jumping horses, mounted police horses, carriage horses, roping horses, parade horses, vaulting horses, trail horses and many more.

  • Lighter Weight
  • Reduced Concussion
  • Frog support
  • Durability
  • Increased traction on all terrain which prevents injuries to your horse both under saddle and during turn-out.

Draft horses and all horses ridden on pavement perform far better when shod with composite shoes. Composite horseshoeing provides therapeutic benefits for chronic conditions such as ring bone, laminitis and navicular disease. Traditional nail placement is easy due to the transparency of the shoes.

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