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It’s been said that an endurance horse will take as many as 80,000 footfalls over the course of a 100-mile race that traverses such diverse terrain as rock, water and mud. That’s more than a fair opportunity for a faulty step to result in lameness.
Understandably, quite a bit of emphasis is placed on hoof care and the shoe must offer hoof protection, concussion absorption and traction.
“Traction is one of those things that you always want enough, but you don’t want too much,” says Larkin Greene, the western states sales manager for Vettec. “When you add up all of the factors involved, it’s really a challenge to come up with the right package.
During the 2016 International Hoof-Care Summit, Greene discussed the three most popular hoof protection options — steel shoes, synthetic shoes and boots — that are used on endurance horses.
The most common material found on an endurance horse’s foot is steel.
“Regardless of weight, steel still provides the best protection,” he says. “There are some varying opinions on this, but you go to any race and most of the horses are going to be shod in steel. Picking the right kind of shoe is also important. Every rider knows there’s a rock out there with their name on it,” Greene says. “If you’ve got a rigid inside web on the shoe, rocks can get lodged in there, so it’s a good idea to choose shoes with a concave profile, then breakover is…