Q: I drive Draft horses,
mostly Percherons, in the historic district of Savannah, GA. We have a problem
with shoes. Most of our horses take rubber shoes, but some of the horses feet
are to big & we have to use metal. Our farrier uses nails & this is
causing the hooves to crack. I saw a program on the Discovery channel about an
adhesive for horse shoes, even for Draft horses. I am trying to get more info.
Do you know were I can find this product , or do you have any suggestions?
A: To the best of my knowledge,
adhesives for draft horse shoes are at this time just a wishful fantasy. There
are some adhesives on the market that will hold shoes on light horses somewhat,
but not on the big guys.
I think we need to address your problem, which is that the nails are causing
your Percherons' hooves to crack.
Suggestions that I could possibly make are the following:
First of all we must concern ourselves with the basics. 1) Competent farriers.
2) Shoeing properly which means shoeing on a schedule to be determined by the
horse's feet; balancing, leveling, beveling and safeing the correct sized shoe
with clips, and using nails only large enough to secure the shoe to the foot.
Oftentimes farriers will use nails too large for the foot when shoeing draft
horses. This tends to split the walls.
Constant washing of horses will cause their feet to have the natural oils
flushed away and will cause the horse's feet to dry out and crack or split.
Hoof dressings can sometimes be of a benefit towards keeping the hoof wall
flexible yet strong. Hoof dressings are most beneficial when they are applied to
the coronet and bulbs of the heel and massaged. This massaging should consist of
at least 3 minutes per foot. I know that this seems extreme, but you are asking
what can be done to save your horses' feet. This is one of these things.
The horse's diet should be given serious consideration. The kinds and amounts of
supplemental vitamins and minerals should be discussed thoroughly with your
veterinarian. Generally speaking, the correct amount of moisture and the quality
of the hoof wall is largely determined by the horse's diet.
Until you are able to determine what your horse's needs are internally for
developing good strong hooves, your farrier could try strengthening the nailing
area of your horse's feet by applying Equilox before the shoes are nailed on. I
should think you would only need to apply Equilox in the area where the nails
come through the wall and just slightly above. The nails should be exiting the
hoof approximately 1/3 of the way up the hoof wall. If the Equilox is applied
from slightly above that down to the ground surface of the hoof, it should
strengthen and support the walls so they will not crack when the farrier nails
on the shoe.
I sometimes apply Equilox to the hoof wall after the shoes have been nailed on.
I fit the shoes a little more full than normally necessary, then fill in the
extra area with Equilox. This has done an excellent job of holding the foot
Equilox is expensive but it shouldn't be necessary all of the time. I have used
Equilox on Belgian/Suffolk crosses that are used for logging here in Oregon. In
two and a half years we have had to use Equilox on only 3 hooves, one time each.
The Equilox has stayed in place and grown out with the horses' feet.
These draft horses are wearing size 7 Kerckhaert draft shoes with clips. They
are fitted with 1/2" square heel and toe grabs, with hard surfacing applied
to the heel and toe grabs. I have had no trouble keeping these shoes on with
number 9E nails. In all the time I have been SHOEING THIS LOGGING
TEAM, we have never lost a shoe working these horses shod this way.
your draft horse will assist your farrier in driving the nails, by softening the
horn from the heat of the shoe, thus reducing the probability of splitting.
Sometimes it helps to set small washers over the point of the nail where it
exits the wall before clinching, so as to dissipate pressure of the exit hole on
the wall. Although this seems extreme and may be a real "pain" to do,
it could be the single most important thing to aid in preventing your horses'
hooves from splitting.
Although I have only experimented with it on one horse, Kerratex Hoof Hardener
has strengthened the hoof wall on a large Thoroughbred that started with very
poor quality horn. This might be something you should consider trying.
Let me say in conclusion: No foot, no horse.
Good luck to you and your big horses.
The American Blacksmith