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“The bearing surface of the shoe, especially at the ends of the branches, must be horizontal,” wrote Anton Lungwitz in the 19th century. The German veterinarian, whose translated writings greatly influence horseshoeing in the 20th century, added, “The horizontal bearing surface is in accordance with nature because the changes of form of the hoof which takes place at the plantar border of the wall, on burdening and unburdening of the foot, should not be interfered with. A horizontal bearing surface best fulfills this requirement.” 1
Lungwitz’s observation has been passed down for decades and is still the accepted practice in the industry.
The development of the cup shoe has been an offshoot of my continuing research at The Hoof Redevelopment Center. The cup shoe is designed with a concave bearing surface, not only over the inner region of the web of the shoe, but also around the entire outer rim of the web (FIGURE 1). A St. Croix Eventer shoe was modified in these photos.
The hoof wall is trimmed to accept this configuration using much the same method as the “mustang trim” that many barefoot enthusiasts are advocating.
The configuration of the cup shoe allows the nail to follow the angle of wall (FIGURE 2) with less lateral (outward) strain on the basal ends of the wall than there would be with a more traditional bearing surface (FIGURE 3).
By trimming the basal hoof wall at an angle approximately 90…