Vettec’s new advertisement stating “Increase Sole Depth for Optimal Hoof Health” is finally a much needed step in the right direction. Would you rather walk across stones in your boots or your socks? Then, why pare the sole thinner for no good reason other than that is how we were taught? I was lucky in that my instructor never advocated paring the sole past a general cleanup, except for cases of false sole. When I was teaching horseshoeing I warned against paring the sole. I remember the one student who didn’t listen. He came over to me pale and shaking because his horse was standing with one foot in a pool of blood. Granted, this was extreme, but the question still remains: how thick is the sole and how much to pare? How do we know other than x-rays?
Let’s talk callouses. I remember being kids in the summer. When we first took our shoes off our feet were very tender. By the end of the summer our feet were calloused and we ran over stones and broken glass. The skin wasn’t noticeable thicker, just tougher and insensitive. I often wonder how dogs, with their thin soles can run across sharp stones where horses, with tougher hooves, are tender footed? The key is callouses. Horses develop a calloused surface on their soles against stone bruising. When we pare the sole, we remove that callous. How would we have felt as kids if someone had rasped or sanded the callouses off our feet in the summer? Back to being tender footed? How do we know how thick the sole callous is before paring? Why risk it? Continue reading
Horses are the most generous, forgiving creatures we’ve met. By themselves, they are the most capable “domesticated” animals. More capable of reverting back to the wild than any other. Open the gate and they will be fine.
Horse hooves have developed over millennia to be the best, most efficient means of locomotion. The first horse, Eohippus, was dog sized and had four toes on the ground. However, three toes on the ground were faster than four, two were faster than three, and one was faster than them all. One toe on the ground proved to be the fastest means of locomotion for the horses so that is what they have today. They did that themselves. Continue reading
Our goal at HoofArmor is for all horses to go comfortably and completely barefoot. However, there are two times that HoofArmor may be of use. During transition from horseshoes or rubber boots the hooves may need some protection that would help them become thicker and tougher. We believe there is no need for a horse which has trouble growing a thicker sole to struggle for months if HoofArmor can protect it until it is thicker. If they never need HoofArmor again…great! The other time HoofArmor may be needed is when horses are ridden a lot, as in endurance races, where the hoof wears down faster than it grows and needs additional protection from excessive wear. Our program uses a very conservative trim which leaves all the hoof as a weight bearing surface with a thicker sole for better stone protection. We advocate conditioning the hoof just like we condition the rest of the horse. Unlike horseshoes or hoof boots, we do not intend hooves to become dependent on HoofArmor. What we will help with is to help the hoof be its natural self and utilize all the capability that nature developed over millennia. We don’t believe we know better than Mother Nature by promoting anything artificial that the hooves will become dependent on. We want the hoof to realize its potential, which is awesome. Let us help horses and the people who care for them.
I started horseshoeing when I had a sound horse and the shoes fell off. I had just finished up a project designing robotics and got a nice bonus. Out of frustration, I went to Michigan School of Horseshoeing…just for my own knowledge. When I returned, my neighbors, who used the same difficult-to-contact farrier, offered to pay me to shoe their horses. That was 25 years ago. I taught horseshoeing for about a year for the school and developed a good clientele; shoeing national champion Morgans, Saddlebreds and barrel horses. After about 5 years of horseshoeing I was working on a horse which stood in a tie stall all day and the hind hooves were soaked with manure and urine. Shoes would not stay on with nails, so I tried gluing them on, I tried various hoof fillers, I tried formaldehyde to dry them, and all the hoof products I could find on the market. Nothing worked. Again, my frustration led me to think that a hoof coating in place of shoes would be the answer. Again, nothing I found worked. This was in 1996 and hoof boots were in their infancy and difficult to put on, difficult to keep on and difficult to remove. My thought was to have something that would go beyond shoes or boots and actually improve the hoof rather than just maintain it. Continue reading
Who in their right mind would design a product that would make itself unnecessary? We would. I feel I have to explain a few things about HoofArmor. My original intent was, and still is, to create a protective coating for hooves that would help the hoof grow stronger. I want hooves to be independent rather than dependent on shoes or boots or any other artificial means. I always thought that if the hooves get to the point that they were as good as they could get, as strong and tough as they can get, then HoofArmor had done its job and is no longer needed.
Why Using HoofArmor Is A Good Thing – 5 Reasons
- Horses and horse owners are happier.
- HoofArmor is the only hoof protection that makes the hoof stronger. Hooves become independent, not dependent on horseshoes or boots.
- HoofArmor is non-toxic and anti-microbial.
- HoofArmor is easy for anyone to apply.
- HoofArmor is cheaper hoof protection.
The articles in this blog are sometimes opinions, but opinions built on observing upside-down hooves and the results of what I did with them for over 25 years along with over 20 years of engineering experience. Most of my writings here are based on research of both myself and others and sources are available if you want them. These articles are not in either of my two books, available elsewhere on the site, so they are new writings.
My goal is to help horses and their people be safe and comfortable in whatever it is they want to do together. It’s been a long road so far, and I hope yours will be, too. The pleasure is in the travel, not the destination. Enjoy.