A new system of shoeing horses using mouldable plastic horseshoes could help horses with foot problems
A new generation of horseshoes made from plastic for use in remedial work is being pioneered by a Wiltshire-based farrier
Developed and tested by Andrew Poynton, the new system could help horses with laminitis, hoof cracks and other foot problems.
Andrew , a farrier for 21 years, whose customers include Prince Charles, says he has developed the design over a number of years working closely with veterinary surgeons from Liverpool University.
The shoe, called the “Imprint foot care system”, is made from a low-melt point thermoplastic, which is mouldable as well as environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Nails are not used to attach the shoe, which is moulded to the hoof after being heated in water. This means that the shoes can be fitted on horses suffering from a variety of hoof conditions and problems.
“It has proved ideal for use on foals as it is a flexible shoe which doesn’t inhibit natural function, ” says Andrew.
However, the shoe is not designed to undermine traditional techniques. “It is designed to meet demands other shoes cannot fill to bring relief and longevity to many equines,” says Andrew
“The economics of the product would certainly be one of the reasons why the plastic shoe couldn’t replace traditional methods at the moment .”
Simon Curtis, Master of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, believes that in the future there could be a horseshoe, which will replace the traditional methods, depending on the reaction of the profession.
“Glues used today are extraordinary and the advantage of the plastic shoe is that it doesn’t restrict movement of the hoof walls.
However, although leading farriers in the racehorse world are using this new system, Simon Curtis believes that the plastic shoe now on the market would be too expensive to replace conventional methods for most horse owners.