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While non-metal horseshoes may never make up a huge share of the overall market, they have carved out a well-established niche that is substantial enough that it makes sense for farriers to know how and when to use them.
Gary Werner, an experienced farrier from Smithtown, N.Y., believes it is as important to know why you might want to use a particular non-metal shoe as it is to know how.
“You really need to think about why you want to use these,” says Werner. “There are benefits to using these shoes, but some are going to be better for certain situations than others.”
Generally, non-metal horseshoes are used for one of, or a combination of reasons, including:
Werner developed a specialty with non-metal horseshoes while providing hoof care for horses used in performances at places like Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, where steel shoes couldn’t be used on expensive stages.
But while he might have started using the shoes to protect expensive wooden floors, he…