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“When we start applying glue-on shoes, we’re rookies again...”
“There’s nothing intuitive about nailing a shoe on a horse. It’s a skill we develop to the point that most farriers drive in a nail and wring off the end without even thinking about what they’re doing. It becomes an automatic reflex,” says Patrick Reilly, chief of farrier services at the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school’s New Bolton Center.
“When we start applying glue-on shoes, we’re rookies again. We’re starting over, and it’s a non-intuitive process,” Reilly says. He believes many farriers don’t tackle glue-on shoes because they worry about properly matching the various types of horseshoes and glues to obtain effective, reliable results.
With that in mind, Reilly offered an overview of the different materials for farriers who have yet to become comfortable with glue-ons.
Virtually any steel, aluminum or plastic shoe can be glued to a hoof if the foot and shoe are both properly prepared and the right adhesive is chosen for the particular shoe, Reilly says. However, he recommends that beginners stick with aluminum shoes, which will work well with any of the common acrylic- or urethane-based glues.
With either aluminum or steel shoes, a grinder or sander must be used to clean the solar surface of the shoe to ensure a good bond with the glue. “The trouble with steel is that a layer of oxidation occurs almost instantly,” Reilly says. “The minute you sand it, you have oxidation. When you glue that…