Not all horseshoes are the same

Posted: January 31st, 2009, by Melanie Merrow

A lightweight, flexible, shock absorbing, non nailed on shoe would be the perfect solution for horses that need some type of support for their hooves.  I do not like to see any horse in pain, and I have found it very difficult to provide all my clients with pain free hoof care by using the natural trim alone.  Horses with very thin sole’s can take from 2-10 months to grow enough sole not to be sore on tough ground and I do not believe any horse should have to suffer through the transition period of taking the shoes off.  I have found that some horses with hoof issues or horses that have worn shoes for many years,  have sensitive soles and need protection to help transition to barefoot.  Boots do offer protection but they are not perfect.  They only coming in a number of sizes so they often rub and cause sores.  Owners often have to buy 2-3 pairs of hoof boots because the hoof changes shape as it de-contacts and becomes more healthy.

I an testing a few new and old  products like vettec, Poly Flex Horse shoes, easy boot glue on and Horse Slips.

Horse Slips


The Horse-Slip™ from Giltspur Scientific Ltd. has broken the mold!  I will be documenting the application and testing over the next few months.  I will planning on doing at least two hour rides over rocks, roads, grass, jumping, trails, sand dunes and mud.  I have very high hopes for this product and I will offer introductory prices over the next two months.

This product is a shoe and does need to be applied in such a way to support the frog and remain balanced to allow natural movement.  I still think that all horses can go sound barefoot and do any job but this product will be a great help in transitioning those tough cases.

shoes1.gifSome benefits

  • Non-restrictive, therefore allows natural foot expansion encouraging improved circulation and promoting foot health.
  • Eliminates the requirement for nails and so enables uninterrupted horn growth and reduces the reverberation of forces that can generate up the limb.
  • Quiet process of application and easily modified to use as an aid in the treatment of particular foot anomalies while continuing to protect the hoof.
  • Extremely lightweight with the opportunity for injury, either to the horse itself, to other horses, or to the handler, being significantly reduced. Great for horses in a herd situation-less injuries from kicks!
  • As nails are not driven into the dynamic hoof wall, the Slipper has a distinct advantage over conventional metal shoes fitted to grass kept horses, in that it enables natural foot function to occur and permits hoof expansion upon contact with the ground.
  • The flexibility of the Slipper encourages circulation within the foot and thereby promotes foot health.
  • The Slipper enables working horses to have rest and recuperation from the stresses of conventional shoeing during holiday periods thereby enabling uninterrupted horn growth.

Burns Polyflex Shoe


Designed to simulate barefoot tendencies, these shoes enhance the natural shock absorbing and flexing mechanism of the hoof.   Used on many winning race horses and they have a wide wed eventing shoe coming out early 2009.

These shoes have been documented to help

  • horses with heel soreness or sensitivity
  • sheered heels
  • contracted heels
  • uneven and contracted hooves
  • horses prone to quarter cracks
  • club feet
  • Large horses with small hooves
  • Thin, shelly, brittle walls
  • Sensitivty  to nails
  • Navicular

This shoe has been used on the race track for the past 15 years with many horses winning and performing better without nailed on shoes.  The company is making a wide web design that will have stud threads for eventing and show jumping.

Please contact me if you are interested in more information on any of these products.