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Horseshoes and their uses

This story is from Horse Deals magazine December 2012

Vaughan’s simple guide...

The conversation with Master Farrier Vaughan Ellis that resulted in the Harness Shoes feature continued much further into the evening, with the conversation getting around to the big topic of Performance Horse shoes. This feature just scratches the surface of available performance footwear and it is to be hoped that it encourages the reader to take an increased and active interest in how and why their horses are shod.

There is nothing new about shoeing horses. Shoes could be bought ready made from the 13th Century onwards and hot shoeing was introduced in the 16th Century. In 1835 in the USA a patent was taken out for a machine capable of making 60 shoes an hour.

We asked Vaughan what are the greatest changes he has encountered in the 30 years he has been shoeing horses. “The availability of so many different shoes and the advancement in metal alloys have made a big difference, especially in racing. The advancement in the production of aluminium shoes that are stronger and last longer has made a big difference. When I started there were not so many Warmblood horses around and when they did appear in numbers through breeding and importation, it was difficult to get shoes to fit them. We began to get more shoes from Europe to fit them, because it was not cost effective to be hand making shoes for them all the time.

The main difference between the Thoroughbred shoe we had been using and the shoes for the Warmbloods was width; a wider shoe to suit the bigger footed horse. Also the use of side clips on both front and hind shoes was helpful with that type of horse. When I started the main method of shoe production here was bending straight bar into shoes. The shoes we began to import from Europe about 15 years ago were manufactured by using a Drop Forge technique, where hot metal is placed into a die and a hammer is forced down on it to produce the shoe. The result is a premium quality shoe, with the side clips formed at the same time. Before the Drop Forged shoes, there was quite a lot of work preparing the machine made shoe; adding clips and filing heels etc. With the Drop Forged shoes, all that is already done for you. They are more expensive, but it is cost effective, because of the time saved preparing them in the workshop.

Halveston Bonded Graduated Eggbar
The “bonded’ means that there is a rubber compound between the shoe and the hoof which helps lessen the effects of concussion. And “graduated” means that the shoe is 2-3% thicker at the heel. This is a shoe for a horse with Navicular Syndrome and the graduation changes the hoof/pastern angle to try and give the deep flexor tendon some relief. By having an eggbar shoe you are extending the point of contact with the ground back further. The concussion is being transferred to the back part of the eggbar. This shoe incorporated a lot of things that suited a particular horse; an eventer, and he didn’t pull the shoes off. I would not hesitate to use this type of Drop Forged aluminium shoe if the horse and the conditions warranted it.

Halveston Bonded Graduated Eggbar

Halveston Bonded Graduated Eggbar

Century Support Aluminium Shoe with Stud Holes and Side Clips
This Drop Forged shoe is produced by the Belgian company, Kerckhaert. A lot of the aluminium shoes in Europe have been designed for eventers and performance horses. The idea is to reduce the weight of the shoes and help reduce muscle fatigue and the risk of injury. This is a wide shoe, which offers more support and if made in steel, it would be very heavy. With this shoe you get the benefit of wide coverage without the extra weight.

Century Support Aluminium Shoe with Stud Holes and Side Clips

Century Support Aluminium Shoe with Stud Holes and Side Clips

The St Croix Eventer
All the performance shoes are Drop Forged shoes now and they are easier to use and fit. The fullering stops before the end of the shoe to make it easier to drill the stud holes.

The St Croix Eventer

The St Croix Eventer

Aluminium Triumph with Side Clips
This is a lightweight performance shoe. The toe of the shoe is strengthened with a tungsten insert, as is the case with most Aluminium shoes to help them wear longer. This is a wide shoe that is suitable for horses that suffer from long toes and low heels. The rounded toe encourages an early breakover.

Aluminium Triumph with Side Clips

Aluminium Triumph with Side Clips

Aluminium Race Plate
This is a beautiful Drop Forged shoe made for racing. This particular shoe is one of a set used on a fine framed pony.

Aluminium Race Plate

Aluminium Race Plate

Aluminium Shoe with Studs
We are seeing more and more performance horses wearing aluminium shoes which are made stronger and longer lasting thanks to the titanium content in the metal. The outside stud on this shoe looks a little suspect, as it is not screwed home.

Aluminium Shoe with Studs

Aluminium Shoe with Studs

Comfort Fit
This wide, rolled toe shoe gives width and support and also speeds up the breakover if you have a horse that stumbles, or you want to get it away in front a bit quicker. This shoe is very helpful with horses that stumble. The clips are on the side of this front shoe because the shoe would sit in under the toe. Setting the shoe back also helps to change the posture of the horse if it is a little low in the heels. It is also helpful with tendon injuries and Navicular Syndrome.

Comfort Fit

Comfort Fit

Steel Heart Bar
This shoe was made by Vaughan out off a single piece of bar stock. It compares favourably with the Drop Forged shoe pictured earlier and is an example of the farrier’s art.

Steel Heart Bar

Steel Heart Bar

Flat Hack With Bar
Bar shoes are used for fractured pedal bones or problems inside the hoof capsule. The idea is to immobilise the hoof to minimize expansion and contraction. The two side clips also help to restrict movement. The slight bow in the bar caters for any alteration to the width of the shoe to be made easily.

Flat Hack With Bar

Flat Hack With Bar

Jumper - Hind Foot
This is a lovely concave hind shoe with a feathered inside edge and could well be a hand made shoe.

Jumper - Hind Foot

Jumper - Hind Foot

Jin Hung Heart Bar
This is a Drop Forged aluminium shoe traditionally used on foundered / laminitic horses. The purpose of the shoe is to transfer weight from the heels to the frog. This shoe is also used on horses with quarter cracks and heel pain.

Jin Hung Heart Bar

Jin Hung Heart Bar

Jin Hung Square Toed Eggbar
The square toe aluminium shoe with the tungsten insert clearly seen, is to assist breakover.

Jin Hung Square Toed Eggbar

Jin Hung Square Toed Eggbar

Remedial Bar Shoe with Toe Extension
Clearly this is not a performance shoe, but it is an example of the work a farrier does to help horses that have had severe injuries. This hind shoe was made for a horse that had a serious argument with a wire fence which severed his extensor tendon and cut through his heel as well. The bar shoe was put on to restrict the expansion and contraction of the cracked hoof capsule at the heel. The toe extension prevents the horse from knuckling over because of the lack of tendon support and to allow the tendon to repair. The horse did come good enough for light work.

Remedial Bar Shoe with Toe Extension

Remedial Bar Shoe with Toe Extension

Rock and Roll Shoe
This shoe belongs to the “full rolling motion” family. This type of shoe is used on the Spanish dressage horse, Fuego XII and is promoted by Italian vet/farrier, Hans Castelijns. This is a photograph of the Portuguese Lusitano stallion, “Ruby”. The ground surface of the shoe is concentrated under the middle of the foot and away from the outer edges. The concept is not new, what is new is the use of lightweight aluminium. The shoe takes the pressure off the external hoof wall and places it under the horse’s centre of weight bearing. The shoe is said to facilitate lateral work and is considered good for horses with any ringbone issues. It breaks over easily in every direction except backwards. It has been called a “flying saucer”.

Rock and Roll Shoe

Rock and Roll Shoe

Mustard Tab Glue On
This is one of the first glue on shoes to appear on the market. An aluminium plate is encased in plastic and can be shaped, by leverage preferably or on the anvil. The tabs fit flat against the hoof wall and glued on. After six weeks it comes off quite easily and can be reused, with some preparation.

Mustard Tab Glue On

Mustard Tab Glue On

Reining Slider
The plain stamped sliders which probably have a rolled toe act like skis to facilitate the sliding stop.

Reining Slider

Reining Slider

Sigafoo Glue On with Kevlar Cuff
Kevlar is a very strong synthetic material created by Du Pont. The Kevlar cuff is attached to the shoe between the shoe and a polyurethane strip. The poly is useful in that it has shock absorbing qualities. The Shoe is attached to the foot via the Kevlar cuff that is glued to the hoof with Equilox and is then glad wrapped and a heat gun is used to shrink wrap it on to hasten the curing time and then removed. You would use this on a horse that for whatever reason you cannot nail a shoe on. If you have a horse with a big chunk of foot missing, you can rebuild the foot with the Equilox and you can put the Sigafoo over it. I used this shoe on a horse at the Adelaide 3DE a few years ago. I put stud holes in them as well and they did not move; they were fantastic. However, at $400 a pair they are expensive.

Sigafoo Glue On with Kevlar Cuff

Sigafoo Glue On with Kevlar Cuff

Flip Flop Pad
This pad is used for horses with heel issues, horses showing medial or lateral heel pain. A half shoe is used to attach the pad which surprisingly stays on well.

Flip Flop Pad

Flip Flop Pad

Concave Shoe
This is a common shoe that grips well, thanks to the fullering and is used a lot on polo ponies.

Concave Shoe

Concave Shoe

The Dressage Horse
An interesting shot of “Ravel” ridden for the USA by Steffen Peters at the Kentucky WEG. He looks to be wearing Kerckhaert Triumph wide aluminium shoes. He is shod wide at the back which is correct, but not always practical. It looks like he has had a heel reconstruction on the heel of the off side front, possibly the result of an injury to the coronet band. The full pads in front will probably be for shock absorption and he may have a silicone pad between the sole and the outer pad.

The Dressage Horse

The Dressage Horse

A Well Shod Horse
This is an example of a well shod horse with good conformation. Notice that he is shod wide at the heel which is correct, as when the toe grows, the back of the shoe will not under run the sole which can cause problems like corns.

A Well Shod Horse

A Well Shod Horse

This story is from Horse Deals magazine December 2012

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