Over the past 6 months, there’s been a lot of discussion within the farrier industry about the benefits of copper in relation to killing bacteria on the equine foot. The concept intrigued Green Bay, Wis., farrier Alan Folkman, who’s had problems with his own horse, Buckshot.
“I’ve been dealing with his hoof quality for about 5 years,” he says. “The first couple of years I went the chemical route — white line disinfectant, iodine — with no progress. I think the chemicals were killing live tissue along with the bacteria. There still was a 3/8-inch wide gap of hoof wall missing up to the coronary band.”
Folkman decided to give copper shoes a shot.
“What a surprise,” he says, “the $30-plus copper shoes were on back order.”
So, Folkman improvised.
“I went to the hardware store and bought a roll of copper roof flashing,” he says. “Using a Natural Balance shoe and full frog pad, I cut the flashing to match the pad (Figure 1). I use a small piece of masking tape to hold the copper in place. The masking tape will break down and the copper can do its thing. I packed it with Magic Cushion and nailed it on — and waited.”
When it was time to reset, Folkman noted some differences.
“After 8 weeks, there was no smell or slime,” he says. “I noticed green oxidation from the copper had wicked into the chalky sole about ¼ inch, and the white line looked better.”
Have you used copper horseshoes? Share your results and experiences in the comment section below.