Unsticking the Doubts About Hoof Adhesives

Knowing the properties of the available glues can help farriers make the right choices for effective, lasting glue-on shoes and hoof repairs

The arrival of horseshoe glues and hoof-repair materials more than 30 years ago revolutionized the centuries-old practice of farriery for shoers who dared take a chance on the materials. Adhesives replaced nails on many thin-walled or diseased hooves, and epoxy putties, as they were sometimes called, made rebuilding a foot possible in ways never before imagined.

Although acceptance of hoof adhesives has grown by leaps and bounds, many farriers still shy away from the materials. It might seem that only a professional chemist can understand the different types of products, each with its pros and cons. Plus, there are questions about which adhesive is right for steel shoes, aluminum shoes or plastic shoes. And the number of brands and specialty products — some for gluing on shoes, others for filling cracks or replacing missing horn, and still others for protecting the sole — has increased, further complicating farriers’ choices.

Stories of glues failing and shoes falling off only add to the doubts of farriers who feel more secure reaching for another nail. However, manufacturers and farriers experienced with the adhesives insist that modern glues, properly chosen and applied, offer a reliable blessing to the profession.

Here then, is an overview of horseshoeing glues and hoof-repair materials to help farriers make informed, confident choices.

Two Categories

Modern hoof adhesives, used to glue on shoes or to make repairs such as filling cracks or rebuilding a debrided hoof, come in two general categories: polyurethanes and acrylics. The acrylics are divided into two…

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Ron perszewski

Ron Perszewski

Ron Perszewski is a freelance writer and former associate editor of Ameri­can Farriers Journal.

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