When dealing with a horse with very poor quality hooves, Tom Curl will often take the necessary time to strip down the hooves and harden up the feet.

“When I’m setting a horse up for a glue-on shoe, everything has to be clean,” says the Vero Beach, Fla., farrier.

He doesn’t wash the feet with alcohol or acetone, but takes them down to the raw foot. The heels must be clean because of the way Curl sets the shoes and glues the back of the heels.

Although some farriers use grinders on their shoes, Curl prefers a wire wheel. Then he applies a ZSP rubber strip to the inner edge of the shoe.

“I don’t like gluing shoes on without that strip,” he says. “It keeps the glue to the outside of the sole, minimizing sole pressure. The uniform thickness of the flat rubber strip also ensures that the shoe goes on level.”

glue on candidate

Although this horse came to Tom Curl with glue-on shoes, he felt an adjustment was needed.

glue on candidate

Curl buys glue in a large quantity so he can adjust the amount and ratio that he uses. He prefers to mix the glues without using mixing tubes.

Curl applies a large amount of glue at each heel. “That’s because of the way it goes on,” he says. “It’s going to look like a rim pad almost all the way around except right back at the heels.

“This type of heel is never coming back on its own. It was folded in because the internal structures are damaged.”

glue on candidate

This type of heel is found on many race and show horses. The right heel was built up to match the left one.

Curl says it normally takes 3 days to see a dramatic change in movement.

“When he has no foundation back there, he’s not going to extend,” Curl says. “He’s going to shorten his stride. But when you give him a foundation, he’s going to re-learn how to use himself and his muscles will adapt.”

He hasn’t seen the same results with nail-on shoes. They’re more difficult to keep on under these circumstance.

glue on candidate

A flat ZSP rubber strip is applied along the inner shoe surface when gluing on shoes.

glue on candidate

The shoe is set on a Saran-type film to apply the glue.

glue on candidate

Positioned between the shoe and the sole, the flat rubber strip helps contain the glue and keeps the shoe level.

Read more from the Tackling Tough Cases series: