A common debate in the horse world these days is whether or not to shoe your horse. Of course this can only be answered by knowing what you are requiring of your horse and the current condition of its feet. A horse that is retired and spending his days on pasture has different needs than a competition cutting horse. Other than an occasional hoof trim the pasture horse should be fine going barefoot.
The question becomes more complicated when the level of your horse’s activity is raised. One thing that I have noticed is that you rarely see a non-working horse come up lame. I believe that a big part of this is that when we ride we are placing unnatural stresses on the hoof. While it is true that wild horses live out their lives unshod, it is also true that natural selection takes the horses that have weak feet. In addition, the restrictions we place on the horse’s movement in various disciplines are issues which the wild or pasture horse does not have to deal with.
For example, when we ride we control the headset of our horse for appearance more often than for function (i.e. pleasure classes), our horses also constantly have to compensate for the weight of the rider above them, which compromises their balance. We also ask them to move in ways that generally affect their overall carriage and hoof placement.
Finally, working horses are first and foremost athletes, subject to the same types of injuries as their human counterparts. In the wild, a horse moves freely without a lot of repetitive motion. The working horse is asked to repeat gaits over and over again causing the hoof to strike the same way. In humans, runners in particular, this is called Repetitive Motion Injury.
I feel that this sort of disciplined movement is the cause of most hoof problems. I have found that a happy medium between steel shoes and barefoot to be the composite shoe. In a composite shoe or a hybrid composite horseshoe you get the benefits of support and shock absorption, while retaining the flexibility and the circulation of going barefoot.
Just a few lines to tell how these shoes and pour pads have helped me help a lot of horses. I've been using HOOF-it plastic shoes and medicated pour pads at the Bhighterdays Horse Refugee in Pipe Creek Texas on 2 very laminatic horses. The horses are no longer laying down all the time and are starting to grow good horn. These horses were shod in 8mm HippoPlast wedges and saw almost imediate improvement. Now we are presented with a horse that is pre naviculer this with 3 xrays and no diognostic blocks. I go over the horse real good and determane the feet are very dry and contracted... again Hippoplast 8mm wedges and soak the feet. This horse is in the high dessert of New Mexico. Three days latter the folks are poneying colts on him... 6 weeks later the foot has opened up so much that the old shoes are to small and we go to flat shoes. Bill Mc Donald BWFA Farrier
I began using plastic shoes on my draft horse that kicked himself in the side of the foot as his confirmation was base narrow and because of the weight of a steel shoe. In looking for alternatives to protect him from brushing, I found HOOF-it horseshoes in draft size and tried them.
I noticed so much growth in his feet and that he was so much more comfortable , moving more fluid, and yes he stopped brushing and injuring his hind leg. I began to try them on my cross country and event horses and haven't gone back to steel since. The plastic shoes contribute to increased hoof growth. This gives the farrier more hoof to work with if the horse needs correction in his hoof. The shoe flexes, this creates more circulation in the foot and a healthier foot. The shoe flexes and this protects pasture mates form injury of serious kicks from steel shoes, but protects the using horse from hard surface or stone bruises.
I've had one thoroughbred with under-run heels for ten years. With plastic shoes and my certified farrier's expertise in trimming and setting the shoe, he has grown upright heel for the first tine in 10 years! I love plastic horse shoes. People ask if there wear as well as steel. I actually had them re set three times on my draft horse. He weighs about 2500lbs. We were doing trail rides and arena work with him. I think they wear better than steel.Thank you Hoof-It!Christine Amber,owner/trainer www.equestriantraining.com
Somken Up Lee (Smoke) is a 22 year old own son of Mr. Gunsmoke who has had careers in cutting, jumping and now dressage. He's been way above average in all three sports, and though he's proven himself to be "golden", he does have one problem... he does have BAD FEET. They are thin and shelly, and after a full summer and fall of competition, his feet are so broken up my shoer has to be quite clever to even find a place to put nails to hold a shoe on.
Enter the glue shoe and HOOF-it!! My vet, shoer, and I felt he needed to go barefoot for the winter, but being very flat footed and tender without shoes he couldn't be ridden. We decided to try a glue shoe and keep ridding. It was suggested that I have Steve Samet take over as he did most with the glue shoe in my area. To make a long story short... Steve has found a way to help keep glue shoes on. HOOF-it is an incredible product for helping in many situations, this being one. He brushed HOOF-it over the glue shoe, thus helping hold the shoe on, and in doing so he stabilized the whole hoof capsule, gave the foot lots of support, and Smoke traveled and performed well... he was one happy camper, as was I.
Now going to summer, we have a healthy, not so toey foot that should hold a shoe until winter when I certainly will use HOOF-it and glue shoes once again. Many thanks to HOOF-it, Steve and Sean for their help!!!
I'm ordering my second set of shoes. I was hoping your shoes would encourage hoof growth and expand my horses feet. Well good news it seems to be working. Why do I sound surprised because I've tried all kinds of supplements,... well nothing really seemed to be all that effective. The only thing that seemed to make a difference was pulling my horses shoes and turning him out with a horse that really kept him moving for the winter. (no shoes & exercise)
My only concern as I'm looking at the shoes that were pulled off, it appears my horses weight on the outside of the shoe pushed up the inside of the shoe. I see that the shoe was rasped round on the outside edges so as his foot expanded he was on the very very edge that did not have shoe under touching the ground. On his fore feet off and over the inside edge. I'm sure as my farrier gets more accustom to these shoes he will make adjustments. Also he though his standard clincher was a bit awkward. He wanted me to ask if he should be using a special one made for your shoes? Thank you very much,Leigh Cahill
Have your farrier leave as much expansion room around the heels as he feels comfortable with. I usually leave 1/4 inch or a little less. With the shoe being flexible if a horse steps on the edge 90% of the time the shoe just flexes back into place.
The extra expansion room will ensure that you get a reset if the shoe isn't to worn.
I use regular clinchers and try to get my nails a little higher than I would with a steel shoe. There are times when I use to punch the nail heads down with my clinch cutter but I seldom do that anymore.
As a trainer and driver of carriage and draft horses I felt very fortunate to find and use the composite horseshoes put out by HOOF-it Technologies. We train approximately twenty driving horses a year here at Winter Hill Driving Center in the mountains of Florida with the biggest demand being for CDE horses and ponies. As you can imagine there is a great deal of twisting and turning and a lot of road miles (up to 15 miles per day) to get in condition for these events. We have one set (four shoes) which is on it's fourth reset and that's on my Purcheron, Lexie, who trains every horse that comes in. We go eight weeks on reset for her and outside of replacing a nail or two we've never lost a shoe. As a hitch driver from 1971 on, I was probably the most skeptical of these products then anyone until a client's horse, another Pucheron, Ben, came in for training. After that it was love! So if you have any questions feel free to stop by our training center in sunny Florida if you want to see some great driving horses and HOOF-it Composite Horseshoes.Bob Giles Winter Hill Driving CenterMorriston, Floridahttp://winterhilldrivingcenter.com/
I purchased a set of HOOF-it horseshoes for my Peruvian mare (age 19) that has had a problem growing heels and does not do well with steel shoes. I put the shoes on in April and pulled them off in February. That set of shoes went through four resets before they wore out. The mare was taken on several mountain type trail rides as well as being ridden on the paved urban trail quite frequently during the summer and fall. The paved trail does give a way to dirt after the first 1/4 miles, so she wasn't on the pavement all the time. When the rain set in, she was worked in a covered dirt arena. My farrier was amazed with the heel the mare grew and I was amazed at how long the shoes lasted. I have used other composite shoes in the past but have never had these outstanding results. As a result of my trying the shoes and using them on two other Peruvians, my farrier is now recommending them to his clients. The majority of whom own trotting horses. This year we are shoeing several more horses with the HOOF-it composite shoes and I will be happy to let you know the results. They work well on our gaited horses because they do not inhibit the gait, nor do they enhance the gait. They do help keep the horses with flat feet or low heels from bruising which is a problem in our area because of the wet winters effect on the hooves. Thanks for a great product.Karen Kent, Washington
I had a great experience with HOOF-it II hoof repair and composite shoes for horses. I had just purchased a new horse in Texas. Shortly after arriving in California he developed quarter cracks on the medial side of both front hooves. The cracks were fairly severe in that they ran the full vertical length of the hoof and all the way up through the coronary band. I was very disappointed.
My new horse was now lame and I was looking at missing the whole show season if I could not get the cracks stabilized, not only to reduce the pain, but also to get some growth started quickly so as to minimize his layup time. My farrier told me about some new products he was working with that he thought would help. He used the HOOF-it hoof repair to fill in and stabilize the cracks in combination with the HOOF-it composite shoes. Needless to say, my horse's lameness improved very quickly and the cracks started to grow down at a very fast rate, probably three or more times faster than if my horse had been wearing regular metal shoes.
My horse was back to full work in a very short period of time and I only missed the first show of the season. The HOOF-it products allowed me to greatly decrease the layup time of my horse and put him back to full work without any problems while the cracks were growing down. My horse did so well with the composite shoes that I kept them on him the whole time I owned him, about three years. The composite shoes were like "horsey tennis shoes." They had a lot more give and cushion to allow for an accelerated rate of growth of the quarter cracks, as well as to decrease the concussion on the hoof to minimize any pain as the cracks were growing down, thus allowing me to continue to ride and show my horse successfully instead of having to lay him up for an extended period of time.Melanie Stokes - Ramona, California
Frankie was suffering from the abuse of neglect when he was rescued by Homeward Bound. Look at him now! He's making his debut as a movie horse on Desperate Housewives, Sunday, April 3, 2005 at 9pm PT. Frankie is one of nine rescued horses living dignified, healthy lives at Homeward Bound Horse Drawn Carriages in Julian, California.
He wears HOOF-it alternative horseshoes and has recovered completely from the effects of neglect because he now gets quality care.
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" A superb tool that ought to be in every barn. I had looked at a similar style (hint: it's more expensive and you have to switch heads rather than just position the hoof differently) but am really glad I went with this one". -Mac Macalary