Onion Shoes Vs. Hoof Packing

Q: I was reading a hoof-care magazine the other day and ran into an article on onion shoes. Basically an onion shoe is nothing but a shoe that’s shaped to make the bars share some of the weight that the hoof wall has to deal with.

Also considering the heart bar shoe concept, I wonder why a lot of time and effort is put into making shoes like that, when in a lot of cases a good quality hoof pack would work just as well?

It’s not that I’m opposed to using heart bars, onions or similar shoes. I use them myself. In some cases, you can’t do without them. But in the majority of cases, the use of today’s advanced hoof packings is much easier and much more forgiving.

A lot of mistakes can be made using onions or heart bars. Certain hoof packings can be a suitable replacement for specific types of shoes that create support through their mechanical properties.

In fact, the only cases in which modern urethane hoof packing cannot be used — and a heart bar must be used — are those in which support is needed and the sole, heel or other parts that will be covered by the hoof packing are open to infection.

So I was wondering if articles like these should be accompanied by a warning to our less-experienced colleagues. Something like, “Don’t try this at home, children. Use hoof pack!” Or am I being short-sighted?

— Ronald Aalders, ronaldaalders@planet.nl

A…

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