There are many situations in which using standard horseshoes for a horse can not only cause them additional pain, but can bring harm to them. These are typically horses that have low heels, poor quality hoof walls or flat feet. Over the last few years a number of farriers have been looking to alternatives and they have found one that has been used in Europe with great success.
The glue-on horseshoe works by wrapping a plastic coated shoe around the hoof wall. In the United Kingdom they have been called ‘Crocs for horses’, and for those animals that suffer pain as well as potential inflammation from the horseshoe nails, these have been a saving grace.
While there seems to be quite a selection of glue-on shoes, the most commonly used are the direct bond glue-on or the ‘cuff and tab’ style. The latter is easier and quicker to attach to the outside of the hoof wall and some of the styles also include plastic padding or built-in rim that can assist horses going through laminitis or for those who have issues with pressure on the sole and the requirement to be raised from the ground.
The direct bond type involves gluing a plastic or aluminum shoe to the hoof through the use of a glue product that is a mixture of shredded fiberglass composite cloth. If the horse is missing sections of the heel or hoof, this type gives the farrier the ability to fill in those voids. The direct bond style is also considered to be healthier for the overall hoof as it doesn’t do any damage to the hoof when the covering is removed. In addition, the direct bond type allows the outside of the hoof to ‘breathe’ as it doesn’t cover as much of the outside wall.