Another Glue On Shoe Option

I’ve never had a need to choose a glue-on or plastic shoe for a horse, but I can think of some possible scenarios in which one might be a good choice.  Here’s a new glue-on steel/plastic combo shoe coming out of the U.K.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2287987/Crocs-horses-Plastic-slip-hooves-making-nailing-horseshoes-thing-past.html

Some pretty basic questions pop into my head immediately.   Starting with the title of the article.  Crocs for horses?  Nail on shoes becoming a thing of the past?  Yeah, right.  Give me a break.  I understand the idea of a catchy title to get people to read your article, but I dislike when it purposely misleads.

The next obvious question; besides little girls, who’d buy these in pink (or whatever gaudy color)?  Then I wondered; that’s a whole lot of glue being used.  What sort of time frame are we looking at until it starts to breakdown and I can get that sucker off, or is there some kind of quick acting compound that will eat away at the glue (and not the hoof) so that I can get that sucker off – should I need to?  And what happens if the back edge of the shoe gets caught and the horse rips it off?  Is the whole hoof going with it?  Or is the glue just not that…um…sticky?  I know what can happen when a regular nail on shoe comes off that way.   Then I had a question about traction.

As I read further down the article it became apparent that this really seems to be aimed at therapeutic applications.  Phew!  I was having a hard time envisioning a performance horse of any level in these.    Look at the hind legs of our horse-in-pink.  Can we say stove pipe?  And looking at the video at the bottom of the article and seeing the trim jobs, I could understand why these horses might be having some foot issues.  Finally the video ends with a crippled horse.  If these can help him, I’m all for it.

Any of our U.K. readers have experience with these?

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63 thoughts on “Another Glue On Shoe Option

      • They’re old news. Posted about them previously. Their sales and marketing stuff clearly aims the product at a certain niche in the minority market.

        I wouldn’t personally damn them outright because they will have a place in the market and will be entirely suitable and appropriate for some horses and for some owners. If by chance the horses that might benefit are owned by the owners that recognise that then all the better!

        However the way they’re being marketed and presented and even the colour makes me think it’s yet another thing for those silly women owners that have daft ideas.

        That sort who think barefoot is best or who frankly don’t want to pay a farrier for decent hoofcare.

        If that minority crap infects more over here then that would be a backward step considering our context of legislation, qualification and regulation in relation to those that apply metal shoes. So far though they’re just being sold to and applied by farriers.

          • That’s really ridiculous. Is this just another way to capatilize on the boots? What fits today clearly won’t fit properly 8 weeks from now. There are also plenty of farriers providing poor quality hoof care and owners who can trim with the best of them.

          • The U.K. is a highly regulated country. Their farrier program is far more intensive and credential laden than the ones in North America. Having said that, I do agree…none of it guarantees a quality farrier or quality work on a given day: farriers are just people prone to the same personal and professional problems as the rest of us that can (and do – often) affect our work.

            This is off topic, but I think one aspect of many professions that is now lacking is apprenticeship and I’m not just talking about regulated apprenticeship programs. There’s something to be said for learning a trade from a crusty old man, who’s not afraid to smack you upside the head if you pull a bonehead move. Beyond the books and classrooms and regulations are many paths to teaching a person with a natural talent, common sense and some fortitude how to excel in a profession. I find that far more valuable.

          • Ultimately, you can’t regulate stupid. My company requires us to utilize licensed personnel only for subcontract work. I can certainly attest to the license guaranteeing nothing whatsoever in the way of professionalism or work ethic. 15 miles north are sub’s I’d love to hire but they don’t have the appropriate license, just common sense, commitment and reliability. Their State doesn’t require a special license and what is the point of jumping through hoops in my State only to get occasional work? I see it every day…licenses worth no more than the paper they’re printed on. There was a vid going viral on fb of a truck driver trying to turn his rig around in front of a railroad overpass in NYC with a clearly visible sign stating the height of the opening. He had the trailer up against a stone or block wall on the right and was trying to take the ‘horse’ around on a grass incline by turning hard left. As he drove left, the trailer jammed against the wall and the rig would spin, jackknifed. He kept this up, ripping the trim and faring off the truck a piece or two at a time until he finally broke the glad-hands and the trailer brakes locked up for good. He then gets out and picks up the pieces of truck – as in NICE sleeper rig – up on the grass. You can see in the vid that he only had to (a) READ the sign and know your truck height or (b) back up maybe 100′ and turn onto the side road that is clearly visible in the vid of him destroying the truck. I could’ve easily backed up that rig and had it turned around without any damage just using my head. They drive among us….

        • The main thing that would concern me is any daft notions that Glue on comes risk free or that it does no harm.

          Glue on shoes have been around for years. Albeit not fancy pink plastic ones like these and it’s pretty well known (common sense even) that glue can indeed do damage.

  1. I would be concerned about possible moisture buildup in these. But as the owner of a bare foot horse, I wish someone would come up with some boots that were easier to take off and on.

      • I found the picture at the top of this website very interesting. The horse has a huge splint on his/her right front and if you look, the horse doesn’t land flat on that foot. Probably why it has the splint in the first place, and perhaps why it needs to have these special ‘slippers’ to absorb shock and concussive pressure.

        • That’s a good point, Merc. If the hoof inside the boot isn’t trimmed well to begin with, no shoe or boot is going to benefit the horse. This horse is going to wear the lateral wall significantly faster than the medial. I have one of those, frequent trims are a must. The hoof illustrated in the sizing and fit tab has a somewhat long heel, the PDF shows a well trimmed hoof with the heel back to the buttress. I wonder how any boot fits if there are many weeks between trims.

      • Well there is certainly a lot of pro and con discussion of these, and reading, I seem to remember checking these out a while back. I guess I should have said that I wish I could find a CHEAP and easy to take off and on boot, because the only time I need them is if a problem comes up for my horse. I think it is just my particular horse, he really contracts and expands when he moves, but I never found boots that would stay on him.

      • Who were the morons who gave thumbs down for RLF and I saying we don’t buy pink?!

        Is there a way to display who is doing the thumbs up / thumbs down thing. If not IMO it should be scrapped

        • We all KNOW you have most of your horses completely decked out in hot pink! (halters, boots, blankets, etc. etc.) 😉

          LOL …before I read your second comment, it did strike me funny that you had thumbs down and RLF had thumbs up for the same thing. (shrug) It’s the internet, where anything can happen and nothing makes sense. 🙂

          • I think that might have been me. I was checking if the i symbol gave access to see who was thumbs up and thumbs down.

            It doesn’t.

            Remind me, what’s the purpose and point of thumbs up and thumbs down?

  2. Dude, I would TOTALLY put hot pink shoes on my gelding. Yes, I am an adult. What can I say, I love pretty colors and fun patterns and sparkles. Mentally I’m 5 years old. And I’m okay with that.

  3. I thought the comments that Mercedes and Blondemare made in relation to farriers professionalism and general ability required comment.

    Got to say that in my world a Farrier is a Professional and that has VERY specific requirements. It means there’s absolutely got to be special training or a particular skill, one which is respected because it involves a high level of education or formal learning such an indentured apprenticeship and regulation by peer group:

    “Just an apprenticeship” would never cut it for me. Apprenticeships without formal standards that are accredited and assessed are just “time served”. IF they’re not served with someone who knows how to train or do the job then they’re just “time wasted”. A farrier HAS to have a rock solid background of theory. He has to know about equine anatomy and equine performance and he has to know about the theory of forging and metal work and remedial and therapeutic farriery and the best practice protocols.

    That may come from a “crusty old man” but you’d be bloody lucky. It’s much better if it comes in an environment conducive to learning theory and with the tools, resources and supervision to enable practice.

    Books and classrooms have a valuable and critical place.

    In the UK it takes a 4 year and 2 month formal apprenticeship with 23 weeks of that being full time theory at a college. Both theory and practical experience are tested throughout the duration of the apprenticeship.

    The apprenticeship HAS to be with an Approved Training Farrier. They are limited in number, suitably qualified and accredited to have the competence and skill required to be able to train apprentices. So that means they have to be darned good farriers and they have to have sufficient resources and clients of wide variety and they have to be qualified to train. They are also assessed regularly to ensure that the quality of the experience and training they provide meets the standard.

    Then they have to take further examinations after more experience and concentrating on therapeutic and remedial farriery.

    There’s minimum entry requirements to become an Apprentice Farrier and either four GCSE passes at Grade C or above, which must include English Language and Mathematics (Scottish, Northern Ireland, and EU equivalents will apply) or an NVQ Level 2 and the Level 2 Key Skills of Communication and Application of Number, or a BTEC First Diploma and the Key Skills. Put simply that means they’re not thick and they have the academic ability and potential to understand relatively complex theory and apply it and they will be able to engage with vets and demanding customers because they’re not going to come across as an idiot.

    Initially apprentices do a one year pre-farriery course at one of the approved colleges and it’s there that they commence the groundwork of theory and start to learn forging and blacksmithing skills. It’s only after that they can apply to be taken on as an apprentice and then there’s all those years of training and studying and being formally assessed and examined until they eventually qualify.

    Now of course some will go through and pass and then be compelled by low motivation, lack of interest, will and enthusiasm to continue to do good work. But its somewhat illogical to think that after 4 years and 3 months hard slog at low pay and with rigorous practical and theoretical training which is under constant review and assessment and formal examination that this will be common place.

    It’s also really important to appreciate that because Farriery is a regulated profession here that there’s also a process for reporting bad work or abuse or breaches of professional standards and a disciplinary committee that is able to fix punitive sanctions and including stopping a farrier from being registered and working.

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the USA and Canada and a lot of time hanging out on forums based there and believe me it’s another world!

    Blondemare talks about plenty of owners being able to trim well. Well I’ve yet to see them! Seen loads of people say they can do it and loads posting photos of work they’ve done and frankly I’ve yet to see one that has even evidenced they know how to hold and use a rasp and nippers.

    What is generally taken as the norm there for farriery just wouldn’t cut it here.

    Thank goodness!

    • Hoofhearted, is it required that farriers in the UK carry any kind of professional liability insurance? I think that’s the most significant aspect of a regulated profession. Even in the most heavily educated and regulated professions in North America (doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc) there are still some incompetent idiots who manage to be licenced, and even the best can have a bad day and make a mistake that has devastating consquences. But to be allowed to do what they do, they have mandatory insurance that will pay for the consquences of those mistakes. That’s what gives me the biggest discomfort with unregulated trades here, if these people screw up, they can disapear or go bankrupt and avoid the consequences.

      • Yes. They have to provide evidence of professional and public liability insurance when they apply to be on the Register of Farriers.

        At the end of the day though insurance is merely so IF there’s a claim against you and there’s to be a settlement the insurance will pick up the costs.

        IF you’ve been negligent or grossly stupid and inept and say breached what is considered to be standards of professional conduct or competence, then insurance may well ordinarily be invalidated.

        IF someone isn’t insured it potentially increases their personal risk because IF someone sets out to make a claim against them they’ll be incurring costs from day one and will have no option but to pay out of their own pocket.

        Of course people can go bankrupt in those circumstances and the claimant if made an award via the legal process will always continue to have a claim on any assets they might have.

        You might be interested in seeing how it happens here:

        As well as managing registered farriers, the council also ensures those practicing illegally are brought to court and they provide professional evidence and ensure there’s public awareness of cases of misconduct and illegal farriery.

        Here a farrier isn’t even allowed to permit someone who isn’t either a registered farrier nor an apprentice to remove shoes. So let’s say the Crusty old farrier is trained and competent has Blondemare hanging out with him and she’s insistent she’s good at trimming and knows what she’s doing because she does her own horses or had a 3 day course and did some internet training and so Crusty Old Farrier says “go on then I’ll let you remove the shoes”.

        He’s committed a breach of law and will be subject to a fine and a minimum period of suspension from work for 14 days.

        • I guess I should be thankful that I’m in the USA so I can make some decisions for myself. I certainly don’t want ask permission to pull a dangerously hanging shoe, mitigate the start of a quarter crack or be at the mercy of my professional who’s away in the Caribbean on Holiday for 2 weeks. What I do with MY horse is MY business and I choose to save money and trim at my own risk. I also nip my cats’ nails when needed.

          • I’m not in the UK, but I still doubt that the law there could stop you from pulling a dangerously hanging shoe off your own horse. Only off someone else’s horse. Much like how anyone can represent themselves in court, but represent your friend and you are practising law without a licence. Correct me if I am wrong, Hoofhearted, are there actually fines and so on for trimming one’s one horses, or only those of other people?

          • Chestnut, my point is that regulating everything to death does nothing to guarantee quality workmanship. It is our, the owners, responsibility to do our homework on any farrier, vet, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc whom we hire to care for our horses. Regardless of what is taught, people are not created equal and their work will vary to extremes. Law or no law.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RBy6V-8N6Kk This is a cowboy type farrier doing an acceptable trim, uncomplicated and clean.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RBy6V-8N6Kk Another point of view for correcting a hoof ailment – club foot. Is this an acceptable hoof repair or should this be illegal?

            There are many points of view….I opt for farrier #1 with his basic yet correct work, this is how I trim though it takes me quite a bit longer to get it done. The club foot treatment I wouldn’t even attempt. I’d opt for a more physiological approach. But who am I to say that this isn’t how this filly should be helped?

          • Of course the way it works here is that we’re all a load of morons that can’t decide anything for ourselves :/

            We’re also a little old fashioned an picky about animal welfare. We kinda think that when it comes to such matters that if there’s legislation that enforces standards that there just might be a possibility of making owners think before they act outwith the scope of their knowledge and ability. And if they understand that IF they do something that contravenes requirement then there’s something to hold the perpetrator to account.

            The Farriery Registration act is an animal welfare act. It’s to prevent suffering by cruelty to horses arising from the shoeing of horses by unskilled persons; to promote the training of farriers; to provide for the establishment of a Farriers Registration Council to register any persons engaged in farriery, and to prohibit the shoeing of horses by unqualified persons”.

            It also attempts to put the the science and aptitudes and skill of farriery on track to promote a high level of craftsmanship and theoretical understanding.

            There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a highly skilled profession and as such I wouldn’t personally want to be the arrogant idiot know-it-all-owner that thinks I can save time and money by doing it myself. So I’ve no trouble whatsoever with the legislation. Using a highly trained farrier despite the expense and time is what I’d chose to do anyway. I kind of went into the business because I like horses so my preference is to strive for the highest level of care and management not the lowest common denominator.

            If I’ve a horse with a shoe dangerously hanging off then I remove it and also the one on the opposing foot if necessary to ensure the horse is balanced. I can even wrap the hoof or put a hoof boot on it for protection. All entirely within the law. But hey that’s not so dramatic as making up little scenarios about having to ask permission.

            So really the legislation makes no difference to me personally in any way, shape or form.

            I also happen to think it’s a good thing it’s there because I’m of the conclusion that there’s plenty of people who think that because they ‘can’ try to do something that they ‘should’.

            So telling them they can’t be a self-proclaimed hoof trimmer, electrician or brain surgeon is no bad thing. And hey, I decided that all by myself 😉

          • I understand where both of you are coming from. That’s actually why I asked the point about insurance. That, to me, is still the most significant difference between regulated and unregulated professions. Your doctor, your lawyer, your dentist can still screw up no matter how intensive the profession is regulated. But part of the regulatory regime is that those people must carry malpractice insurance. So there is coverage available to fix or compensate for the mistake. By all means you should still do your research and avoid a bad dentist or lawyer or farrier (and no system will entirely prevent there being bad dentists, lawyers or farriers). But having insurance coverage in place if, despite best efforts at a good choice, something goes wrong, that’s hugely significant, and it’s the aspect of UK farrier regulation that I would welcome in North America.

    • Just pretend I quoted your entire comment that lists all those requirements, prerequisites, training, standards etc…

      How come the video in the article I linked (which is in the U.K.) CLEARLY shows that all of those rigourous teachings, testing and standards, don’t actually guarantee quality farrier work?

      That’s a rhetorical question, btw.

      We’ve had this discussion before. While I appreciate the intensity AND intent of such programs, it just doesn’t mean much in the scheme of human unreliability, imperfection et al…

      Just for starters, somebody has to graduate in the bottom half of the class. 🙂

      • What the hell did that guy do to the horse’s foot? At what point is ‘grind it flat as a pancake so no discernable natural hoof structures are visible’ become the standard for higly trained professional farrier work? No wonder the horse needed a rubber padded shoe. Any horse would be lame if its feet were treated that way.

      • I can also pretend you look like Angelina Jolie if you wish 😉

        In the context of this thread and to ensure full and proper understanding it’s important to appreciate the totality of what it takes to be a farrier over here. It’s not just about “regulation”. It’s about training and assessing competence and ensuring standards are maintained.

        How’s about imagining a profession where there’s specific things that have to be known and understood and done and not done in order for it to be “well done” or “competent good job”.

        You either can do that and if you do, you pass or you can’t and if you can’t you don’t pass. It’s that simple. Frankly there’s no such thing as being at the bottom of the class. You know and you can do – you pass! SIMPLE!

        Let’s also pretend that people generally want to do a good job and those who go into a profession where there’s rigorous standards and extensive training and effort required are more likely than less likely to want to be there and hence be actively engaged in what they’re doing.

        Add in the fact that the profession REQUIRES continuous professional development and has a formal mechanism for dealing with complaints and acts of incompetence then consider that might just be the stick to manage out those who are actively disengaged or who have decided despite all that hard work that they just don’t care and so are now going to work hard to do a bad job.

        NO-ONE can ever guarantee great work always. But if there’s standards of training, standards of competence, regulation, licensing, continuous monitoring and penalties for bad work then all the mechanisms are in place aren’t they?

        That’s a rhetorical question by the way. 🙂

        • Pretend all you want, I actually like to eat, unlike Ms. Jolie.

          Fine then, let’s have at it since you’re inclined to be obtuse. You said: “It’s not just about “regulation”. It’s about training and assessing competence and ensuring standards are maintained.”

          If that’s so, then pray tell what is going on in that U.K. video of those crappy trimmed feet? Explain how the U.K. system missed the bozos responsible for that deplorable work?

          You said: “You either can do that and if you do, you pass or you can’t and if you can’t you don’t pass.”

          Clearly the farriers working on those horses passed the test and couldn’t trim worth a damn. Or are you going to claim that it must have been the work of ‘illegal’ farriers? Darling, I can pass any test you put in front of me given the information required by the instructors. In other words, whether I understand it or not, whether I believe it or not, I can regurgitate whatever necessary to pass the test. I can even acquire the skill set to pass any part of that set. Then afterwards I can go on my merry way and do it anyway I like from then on. That way might be better or it might be worse.

          You seem to forget that humans have free will, regular lapses from perfectionism, and are susceptible to influence.

          You said: “But if there’s standards of training, standards of competence, regulation, licensing, continuous monitoring and penalties for bad work then all the mechanisms are in place aren’t they?”

          So what? And that’s the whole point. All those have failed to ensure great farrier work across the board in your country. The U.K. may have a higher ‘general’ level of farrier competency (I wouldn’t know, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s true), but clearly you’ve got plenty of hacks and butchers still.

          In no way am I saying that there shouldn’t be standards, regulation, licensing, blah, blah, blah… What I’m saying is that it doesn’t make it any less of a crapshoot when the guy shows up at my door with tools in hand. It just doesn’t, humans being human. And so instead of relying on some flawed system (operated by other imperfect humans) to train my farrier/s, I ask (in addition) who they apprenticed under and what did that experience encompass.

          It has been my experience, with various professions, that the old apprenticeship system of a crusty old man (or woman) taking an individual under their wing and giving them one on one experience results in the best mix in a professional. It’s how I learned my trade, it’s how my husband learned his, it’s how my father learned his trade, it’s how my husband’s father learned his trade and so on. We all had schooling on top and certification and blah, blah, blah, but the really good stuff, the stuff that made us better than most in our fields was the time we spent getting our heads knocked around and told things like; ‘if you’re not going to use your head, you might as well pack up your things right now,’ if you’re not going do it right and proper every single damn time, then get hell out of here.’ That constant tutelage to do better and be better at every opportunity or stop wasting everyone’s time because you’ll be no better than the next guy, so there’s no point.

          My husband loves to tell the story where he’d done something stupid (in a profession where you can lose appendages quite easily) and his mentor (a short, fat, crusty old man) grabbed him by the ear and dragged him outside and asked him point blank (in a very think Austrian accent), “Where the hell is your brain? All gone mushy thinking of your girlie friend?” That lesson and others has solidified my husband as one of the best in the world in his field, far exceeding those who have more fancy paper on their walls. That’s what I’m talking about.

          • “If that’s so, then pray tell what is going on in that U.K. video of those crappy trimmed feet? Explain how the U.K. system missed the bozos responsible for that deplorable work?”

            Frankly I’ve not a clue. We’re not told and there’s not sufficient to see. What I did see though in the clip where they’re putting the glued show on was a frog that appeared to be black / rotten with infection. Can we talk about owner responsibility? (rhetorical question)

            What I don’t understand nor appreciate is why you jump to the conclusion that a lame horse must be down to some bozo farrier’s deplorable work.

            You say we’ve plenty of hacks and butchers. There’s absolutely no evidence that’s the case. And in our case we know the precise number of farriers, who they are, where they are, where they trained, when they trained, what precisely they’re doing and when, how many complaints they’ve ever had from owners, farriers or anyone else. How many complaints have been upheld or otherwise. And we have a system of stopping them working if they really are a hack or a butcher.

            Furthermore there’s nothing here that stops you asking a farrier where they trained and who trained them if that’s the only thing that’s important to you.

            IMO it’s illogical to say that with standards of training etc etc etc that it’s still a total crapshoot. The way you tell it is you start with the presumption everyone is an idiot and a bozo until he turns up to the do the job and you see what and how and then “pass him”. All well and good if you’re a fit and proper person to judge but frankly that isn’t the norm.

            I kinda know what you mean about the crusty old professional. PROVIDING he’s competent and a good trainer for me personally it really doesn’t matter about his style of delivery. Believe me, I’ve been there when I’ve been trained and now I’m crusty and old so I’m inclined to be in that ilk! It was never a problem for me but then even when I was young I was crusty and tough as old boots and brought up in the era when you “sucked it up” and you were expected to put up with crusty old men.

            The point I was making though is that crusty and old and male doesn’t necessarily mean good or appropriate for everyone.

            I’ve got to say that way back when I first heard about the OFSTED report on Farrier Training I said they’d not like it because farriers as a breed tend not to be hugely sensitive and sophisticated with their communication and feedback. And the report confirmed what I thought would be the conclusion. They didn’t like the fact that farriers are crusty old men who can’t really be doing with always giving comprehensive and positive and constructive feedback. They often give a slap upside the head and say “that’s rubbish, do it again” and if the apprentice complains about that not being nice they get told to “suck it up and try harder to do better”. If they say “that’s not fair”, then they’re told to shut up moaning and get on with the task in hand”. On the positive side in terms of outcomes for learners the OFSTED report rated the apprenticeships as good. To put it another way, those who can put up with how their trained and dig in and get through are actually highly skilled. So it’s not the end result it’s about how they get there.

            I am guilty of tending to agree with Mercedes and think “who gives a sh** so long as it works and the trainees that finish have proven they are determined to complete and are good” But I also kind of get that nowadays people have a higher level of expectation about styles of learning and that particular method is never going to work for anyone.

            My own farrier is neither crusty nor old nor is he an uncivilised grunt. He happens to be articulate and meticulous and knowledgeable in his work and also is very considerate in relation to how he adapts his style to deal with people and their sensitivities. I’d say he’s not “typical” but he’s bloody good. IMO one of the best.

            The thing I’ve always found distasteful about some sectors of the equine industry is the inability to be professional and to behave professionally and to recognise what “professional” means and requires. The arrogance of thinking you don’t need to be qualified and jumping to a conclusion that all qualification is bad and to belittle anything that seeks to give formal structure and standards to the business of horses.

            The notion that the owner is equipped and able to educate to the highest level and be the judge and arbitrator of all things good is ridiculously absurd and evidentially just not true. With all due respect, most owners don’t have a clue and to describe them as amateur or back yard or hobby horse owners is a fairly apt description of folks who are amateur, own backyard horses or a horse for a hobby and don’t have a clue. Many amateur/ backyard / hobby owners – especially those who’ve made enough money to be able to afford horses think that somehow imparts expertise in matters horsey. They’re wrong. Many don’t know much about horses and are easy prey for marketeers selling homeopathic nonsense, barefooted schmuck, hoof boots and pink glue on shoes.

            Fact : Ever since the number of horse owners out-stripped the number of horsemen/women, the knowledge level, let alone the skills level has been in a constant and often precipitous, decline.

            I NEVER like other professionals or even horse owners setting off with a start point of treating the profession of farriery with cynicism and disrepect. I prefer to start by having concern for the profession I operate in and to strive to attain the highest personal standard of professional knowledge and competence.

            If I see what I consider to be sloppy or substandard work then I think “there’s what I think might be a sloppy job”. I don’t go on to presume there’s loads of bozos and I sure as hell don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and say it’s all because the structured training, extensive apprenticeship and control of standards needs to go and we need to get them with crusty old men and judge them when they turn up with their tools.

            That’s what it used to be like before the Act which was brought in to improve standards of welfare in relation to the management of horses.

            But back to pink shoes. I’d never personally buy anything that was pink. I would be extremely uncomfortable glueing something to a hoof wall. I know that using glue never comes without the risk of damage and harm. I know a glue on shoe is never going to provide the protection and traction for the things I do with a lot of my horses. I know a glue on shoe is NEVER going to provide the sum totality of each and every horse’s requirements. I personally can’t think of a single circumstance where I’d be considering those – even if they were black! I can’t see they’ve any advantage over anything that is currently on the market.

            I know that some people will choose to use them because they’re precisely the right thing for the circumstances and they’re now available and some will buy them because they have silly notions and beliefs and because they’re pink.

            Just the same as some people think their horse should be barefoot as an intrinsic principle and not because it’s the right and proper thing to do and in consideration of it’s conformation, foot form, environment and the job it’s doing.

            I’d lay money down that all those who decide to buy them will be amateur / hobby / back-yard owners. I’m prepared to bet there won’t ever be any high level performance horses wearing those even say in 5 years time. And just the same as there’s no high level performance horses barefoot or wearing boots.

          • Pfft! Thanks for entirely and purposely misinterpreting a lot of what I said so that you could have the biggest penis in the room.

            Let me know when you put it back in your pants and are ready to simply read the words in context.

    • A crusty old man might be preferable to businessmen in the City that control a modern day guild without the practical knowledge to be in charge.

      “The curriculum for what apprentices learn is passed down from the Worshipful Company of Farriers, a historic non-governmental “livery” company that has governed farriery in London and beyond for around 700 years, even though most of the members are successful businesspeople in London, not farriers.”

      It seems Parliament felt the training wasn’t up to standard, and since the government subsidizes the apprentices, they’ve cut funding for the program.

      http://hoofcare.blogspot.com/2013/05/british-farrier-apprentice-system.html

      Education, formal or informal, is only as good as the people providing it. If there is a disconnect between theory and execution, heedless worship of belief over science, tradition trumping modernization as warranted, the education may be little more than propaganda and brainwashing.

      I believe in professional standards, more than six weeks of school or just hanging out a shingle. But any professional organizaton that exudes arrogance without any discussion of theory, that insists there is only one approach to anything, disdains its customer base, it needs looking at in my not so humble opinion.

      • Indeed…. it was identified that there were issues with the government funded training.

        Criticism was very specifically around “training with caring”.

        Or to put it another way.

        Too many crusty old men making them doing it again and again and slapping upside the head if they didn’t get it right.

        IME there’s a hell of a lot of folks over there where there’s fuck all standards very happy to criticise over here where it’s generally acknowledged to be the best.

        • and all I am saying is that the fact that Parliament felt the apprentices weren’t getting appropriate training, your government’s opinion about your country’s mandated training program, not some small part of some little group, and suspended the funding apprentices get as part of ‘education funding’ available to citizens, much as we have our rapidly disappearing Pell grants. I don’t think the article implied physical abuse of the apprentices as much as no effort to make sure they actually learned what they needed to learn.

          And you didn’t address curriculum decisions by non-farriers in a private organization that obviously has some perks attached, or business people wouldn’t be running it, they like money, profits.

          As I said, I have nothing against mandated training, licensing, they would be good ideas. A formal complaint and disciplinary system would be good too. But I am against people who think every horse has to have a shoe, that think education without the proper intellectual rigor to investigate, further knowledge and demand that the training curriculum progress over time, is meaningless. I also think that you have lofty opinions, but are really short on facts and won’t respond on facts. And silly women, is a phrase that should make every person who hears it cringe. I suppose if a woman disagrees with her farrier she’ll suffer brain fevers, too.

        • Come on, that’s not fair. I’m specifically referring to a crusty old man such as yourself. I’d much rather a person learn from you then from a school structured system. It’s called real life experience and it holds far greater value than a classroom setting.

          Should they have book knowledge? Duh! Should there be standards? Well, double duh! But it’s no good if they have no field experience. Oh, say like that awesome vet you had doing vaccinations. Yes, I’m sure your farriers do get field experience, just as ours do, but are they getting the weeks, and months and years of one-on-one attention in the field that’s required for a person to become truly good?

          There’s a balance between what you want to think it’s like over here and what you think is ideal over there. I value that balance, because that video in this article proves your system isn’t exactly working either. Some of your farriers, despite their years of training and academic studies and certificates still can’t trim a horse’s hoof to save their lives, or the lives of the horses. And you know it.

    • Yes, enhanced and in-depth training of farriers will probably turn out mostly good but isn’t that true of any profession? Teacher, attorney, doctor, bus driver? I want the freedom to choose a farrier based on his skill, mannerism with horses and availability. I never asked mine for any credentials, his test was the first time he came to my barn and worked on everyone. I hired him based on what he could prove and never even considered whether or not he had a piece of paper to show me because it couldn’t tell the story of who he is. What he consistently provides is a large enough shoe, heels trimmed to the buttress, toes backed to the white line and nice, big, open heels. Basic, common sense practice and it works for the level we ride at. Could he be more picky? Perhaps. Though compared to what I see at many other barns out there, he’s providing quite satisfactory work. Even the most precise farrier in the world isn’t going to help a horse that’s only reshod every 8-12 weeks. Owners need to take the responsibility to schedule frequent trims and resets. Doesn’t matter if we natural trim, glue on, nail on or boot on – if we don’t take down the wall as needed, nobody gets bragging rights.

  4. As the rider of a happily bare-foot mare who loves trails, but is nevertheless a bit of princess about gravel (there probably isn’t enough of it in her life right now, so she hasn’t toughened up), I look at the plastic removable boots with interest. But I find it hard to believe that they aren’t going to get hung up on brambles, sucked off into mud, or just trip the horse up. Yet I see photos on the boot web sites of competitive trail horses doing extreme hills happily. So they must work. What has been everyone’s experience with boots? Is there a learning curve for the horse? Do you need to trim more often so the boots fit? Has anyone had a bad wipeout because of them?

    As far as glue-on boots or shoes, all I can say that nothing glued in my life has ever stayed glued, whether it was manufactued that way or I did the repair at home.

    • I’ve had great experiences with boots! I used to board at a place in the mountains with great, but very rocky, trails. My horse had great feet and didn’t need anything extra for daily riding. I didn’t like the idea or expense of having shoes on 24/7 when she only needed them for maybe 2 hours per week. Boots are the perfect solution. I never had any trouble with them coming off, and I rode all over and did some small cross-country jumping in them. With practice I could get them on and off pretty quick, didn’t add much time to the total tacking up routine. They’re actually better, in my opinion, than shoes for the kind of terrain I was on, because they cover the sole and protect the foot completely. That said:

      They need to fit well, which might mean trying various brands to find what is going to work best for the particular horse. There are lots of options out there.

      The horse does need to be trimmed regularly, but no more regularly than is good practice anyway. But it only makes sense, a hoof that has been months without trimming has a much difference size/shape than a freshly trimmed hoof, and the boots won’t fit properly if the size of the hoof is dramatically different than what you fit the boots to.

      They need to be broken in. Drives me crazy when people buy a brand-new pair of boots, put them on the horse, head out for a three-hour trail ride. Then find a rub on the horse and declare that boots are terrible. Would you go for a hike in brand-new shoes? They need to be worn for a couple of short rides first to break them in before going on longer rides.

    • Photographic evidence: schooling cross-country in hoof boots. I appreciate this is a baby jump, and I certainly never did any serious jumping in the boots, but the background gives some idea of the mountaineous terrain that I rode in regularly at the time.

        • You really are deliberate obtuse at times, aren’t you? Photographic evidence of riding in hoof boots without them falling off, tripping the horse up or the other issues that Paintmare wondered about. As well as I can readily show it on the internet – I don’t happen to have any videos of two-hour mountain rides and that would be pretty boring besides.

  5. Well I grew up with every farrier saying every horse needed shoes. It wasn’t until my current horse that I went barefoot. This horse had horrible feet. Supplements did nothing. Every set of shoes lost at least one. Changing farriers did not help. At the end I was putting on very expensive shoes that this horse “needed”. With friends encouragement, and the internet to explore, as a last resort I tried barefoot. In spite on my farriers dire warnings, I saw immediate improvement. I took a few months, maybe 2, to just hand walk a short way down the trails, to riding a short way to back to our regular schedule. His feet toughened up real fast. I have to admit, I did try boots, but did not ever really pursue it. The ones I tried would come off in the corral, and since I ride in a river bottom, I was sure that the boots would be lost.

    • I don’t know how old you are or where you live but your experience is not my experience.

      I’m in my 60’s and in the north of England. My father trained steeplechasers and was a hunt master as was my grandfather.

      I’ve NEVER EVER EVER heard a farrier say every horse needed shoes. indeed I’ve always heard them say they’ve quite a number they do that are unshod and I’ve personally always had some unshod. Currently got 30% unshod. That’s been a typical number right through my lifetime.

      I’ve also always heard farriers telling clients to feed better, less, more and differently all of my life.

      I’ve also heard a heck of a lot of owners who seem to have selective hearing and the ability to rewrite history so it turns into a good story.

      • OK, friend, I’ll go there. I’m in my 60’s, and grew up in a horsey area, but poor. I had no contact with professionals. At one point as a child, I left letters in people’s mailboxes asking if I could take care of their horse. I have never had a farrier tell me my horse did not need shoes. I try to keep in mind that we all have different experiences with horses, a lot on this site are much more professional than I am. I have never worked in the horse industry. Every horse I’ve ever had was someone else’s unwanted cast off.

        But I did get to rambling, and a better answer to Paint Mare’s question would be Yes, when a friend lived in Arizona, we’d go riding in the hard, rock strewn desert on her two big Thoroughbreds. It took forever to get them off and on, but they had amazing traction and the boots held up very well. Don’t remember what brand they were, but she was very into boots and did a lot of research on it. From what she told me, I think the answer is to spend a lot of money on different boots till you find what works. But she’d ride for hours in that desert, and loved the boots.

        • thanks! This is all very reassuring on the topic of boots. No-one in my immediate circle uses them at all. The people who ride trails all mostly keep their horses barefoot, and the people who never set foot outside of the indoor (hogfuel) arena mostly put shoes on their horses. Go figure.

          • I am truly surprised they aren’t more popular. At the time that I used them a lot, I was typically riding in a ring with good footing evenings after work, and doing one nice long trail ride on the weekend. Barefoot was fine in the ring, but not fine on the trails. That hardly sounds like a unique situation. My boots cost $150, but with the way I used them (once a week or so) they last for years and quickly pay for themselves compared to shoes. I’d have expected that the economics alone would make more people look into boots, but horse people can be slow to accept any kind of new idea.

            Also, I find the argument that high performance horses don’t use them a complete red herring. Most of us aren’t high performance competitors and don’t have the same needs. My hoof boots stood up absolutely fine to typical recreational trail riding (w/t/c, varied terrain, water crossings, small jumps).

  6. Hoo4hearted: I am curious as to the rates that farriers charge in England for trim, and simple shoeing? Is it primarily hot-shoeing or is cold-shoeing more common?

    • Hot shod is more common. You can get cold shod if you really wanted to but that tends not to be the norm over here.

      All my shod horses have always ever only been hot shod because living in a wet place its better.

      I actually don’t even take price into the consideration when engaging a farrier but as you ask and so you can appreciate:

      There’s variation in price here just the same as there. The trend is that it’s dearer in the south than the north but within that geographical variation there’s some difference between individual farriers and it’s different for different clients.

      I pay just less than the equivalent of $65 (£40) for my unshod ponies and horses and my farrier comes here and does everything over a period of 3 days. I’ve nothing that has difficult feet or any chronic problems whatsoever. I’m only £58 ($94 for basic shoeing) and one horse that currently has a therapeutic custom made package that costs the equivalent of $150.

      IF he was coming here to do just one horse there’d be £30 ($49) on top of the normal fee for travelling expenses. (I’m middle of nowhere to the left of back of beyond!)

      No different here to there, if you have a farrier that you love and trust you hang on to him. So when he’s here, he’s fed and looked after and often brings his little girl who has a free riding lesson if we can fit her in on one of the ponies. When he’s here and if it works for me and the farrier, then there’s 2 ladies that often trailer their horse to my premises to get their horse done. If that isn’t practical and he has to go to them on a different day then he charges them slightly more than my base cost + they have to pay the £30 expenses.

  7. Thanks for the response. Interesting. Prices not out of line at all with U.S. My background is in economics, so I was curious as to whether the licensing/examination requirements of farriery in U.K. would be reflected in substantially higher fees. Most professions which can bar or control entry have a monopoly which is usually reflected in higher professional fees.

    • Morganman,

      I’ve done a bit of travelling and stuff with horses over there and I’ve always found it absolutely comparable.

      Most certainly it’s not out of line.

      I think perhaps the difference is that I often read on US forums that there’s folks getting a trim for $20 and trim and cold shod for $55.

      Though we have a range here, it would never ever be that low. But then I’ve got to say I’ve formed the conclusion that anyone charging that low really is never going to be a good farrier charging the appropriate rate for the job. I’ve also formed the opinion based on evidence that those who are buying farriery services because it’s low price and who content to pay so little wouldn’t know a well based properly shod hoof if it kicked them right between the eyes.

      If it sounds to good to be true then it’s not going to be a bargain! 😉

      I hardly dare tell you this because I do get how excited and bothered Americans get about regulation 🙂 : but we’re also regulated so folks can’t price fix because there’s a monopoly or because there’s some sort of cartel – whether formal or informal.

      And of course farriers are self-employed business men so if that were to happen it would have to be an informal cartel. I’m thinking even without regulation that getting a load of farriers who are self-employed and competing and geographically dispersed all on the same page would be more complex than herding cats.

  8. Live and learn. My farrier was just here, and said that some of his trail riders used a certain boot – it looks pretty good and I am going to get some.

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