Bigger Performance Horses Present Bigger Challenges

Manufacturers responding with bigger shoes, with wider webs

Blake Brown, a retired farrier from Loomis, Calif., hasn’t been away from day-to-day shoeing all that long — 9 years — but in his hoof-care consulting work, he’s already seen some big changes. And put that emphasis on big.

“I’m absolutely amazed at how big these show horses have gotten,” he told an audience during a Product Knowledge session at the 2013 International Hoof-Care Summit. “Whether it’s the breeding for the additional size or bigger ones are being imported. They’re huge.”

Brown, a clinician for Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center, told the attendees in Cincinnati, Ohio, that this increase in size seems particularly true of jumpers and dressage horses as more and more European warmbloods are introduced into the United States.

“These big horses need more iron under their feet,” Brown said. “We definitely have to have some bigger horseshoes.”

Manufacturers have responded with new shoe models designed with the larger horses in mind. Brown discussed the Mustad Libero shoe recently introduced by Delta Mustad.

Brown explained some of the things he likes about the Libero, including the fact that it’s manufactured with a crease that stops a little short of the heel, leaving plenty of room for caulks or studs. It also has a bold toe and built-in sole relief. The outside branch is a little longer and nail holes are punched a little coarser to provide a better fit.

Brown noted that the Libero is not strictly for bigger horses — it is also available in smaller sizes…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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