Get a Grip: Shock-Absorbing Plastic Horse Shoe with Stabilizing Metal Core and Deeper Tread Pattern
Over the course of the now more than 20 years of the company's history, many horses have benefited from the advantages of our composite shoe. It is an alternative hoof protection for horses with a shock-absorbing plastic sheath and a stabilizing metal core - an innovative horse shoe that was initially viewed negatively by many, labeled as rubber horseshoes or plastic shoe, and often ridiculed.
The development of our current horse shoe was primarily driven by a vision – the goal of providing horses with a comfortable running sensation and contributing to their well-being with our products. With this goal in mind, giving up was never an option despite all the challenges, setbacks, and obstacles we faced on the path to our present-day product, despite all the headwinds.
The perseverance has paid off. Fortunately, things look different today than they did during our early days in the late 90s. We understand the importance and benefits of traditional steel shoes, which is why we will never be staunch advocates of alternative shoeing. However, nowadays, many horse owners and farriers seek an alternative to traditional steel shoes for various reasons. Times, and consequently, the demand, have changed over the past 20 years. There are countless possibilities to find the suitable alternative horse shoe for every hoof.
So, what makes our composite shoe special? Why can a composite shoe, an alternative plastic shoe with a metal core, be a great choice for your horse?
The Construction of our Composite Horse Shoe is Based on the Anatomy of the Horse's Hoof
Knowledge of the horse's anatomy, the sensitivity of tendons and ligaments, the entire musculoskeletal system, and, of course, the structure of the horse's hoof are crucial for a functional and successful shoeing product.
Regarding our composite shoe, the structure of the hoof, i.e. the anatomy of the hoof, is the foundation for the construction of the shoe. The structure of the horse's hoof is highly complex. We will not go into all the details at this point but rather focus on the essential aspects for our horse shoe.
If we simplify the hoof's structure, it consists of both soft and hard elements.
The hard, bony structures of the central supportive parts within the enclosing hoof capsule include, among others, the lower part of the the second phalanx (P2), the coffin bone, and the navicular bone.
The softer structures of the hoof include, for example, the frog, the digital cushion, and the heel bulbs.
Hubert Frank's idea behind the development of our then novel composite shoeing has two aspects:
- Stabilizing the bony structures of the healthy horse's hoof.
- Protecting the soft hoof structures, while maintaining maximum freedom of movement to avoid excessive restriction of the hoof mechanism.
→For this reason, we have incorporated a stabilizing metal core in the region of the coffin bone, which is surrounded by a shock-absorbing plastic sheath.
→To achieve this, our composite shoe features a plastic bar with integrated frog support. The shape in the rear hoof area may resemble that of a heart bar shoe; however, the plastic component does not restrict the hoof mechanism in the same way as the traditional heart bar shoe.
So, when we look at the hoof in a simplified manner as the interplay of hard and soft components, it becomes evident why Hubert Frank developed this composite shoe, which also consists of a hard and a soft component: the stabilizing metal core is encased by a flexible plastic sheath.
Alternative Horse Shoe with a Plastic Sheath and its Effects on the Horse's Hoof:
The advantages and reasons for a stabilizing metal core are evident. These are the same reasons why horses have been shod with horseshoes for millennia. But what are the benefits of the surrounding plastic sheath of our composite shoe?
- Shock Absorption: The plastic sheath provides shock-absorbing properties, which can be a benefit to the horse's musculoskeletal system during movement.
- Reduced Risk of Injuries: The plastic material decreases the risk of injuries within the herd.
- Preservation of Ground: When no spikes or studs are used for increased grip, there is typically no direct contact between the metal and the ground. The nail heads are also embedded in the plastic, thereby minimizing damage to the ground.
- The plastic sheath can be easily adjusted to the individual shape of the hoof with little effort and some craftsmanship. This saves time and also spares the joints of the farrier, which are usually heavily stressed during traditional forging.
- Reduced Weight: Our composite shoe is generally lighter than a traditional steel shoe which is equipped with additional features (e.g., a bar in the heel area + shock-absorbing insole + debris guard similar to the well-known Snowgrip®). The lighter weight helps to ease the strain on the horse's musculoskeletal system.
- Enhanced Flexibility: The flexible plastic supports the natural mobility of the hoof's elastic structures. The bar in the heel area can stimulate blood circulation in the frog.
Easy adjustability of the composite shoe.
Reduced risk of injury within the herd situation.
Protection of the ground, for example in urban areas.
Is it a Disadvantage that the Plastic Material Usually Provides Less Glide than a Traditional Steel Horse Shoe?
It is unfortunately a widespread misconception that a plastic horse shoe causes excessive braking. It is believed that this can lead to damage to the tendons, ligaments, and joints. However, the best counterargument is that our composite shoes are frequently used to address precisely these issues. It is essential to consider that the gliding behavior of an alternative horse shoe with a plastic sheath may vary depending on weather conditions and the horse's adaptation to the shoe, as not every horse has the same gait and surefootedness.
Identifying the exact origin of this misconception is difficult. However, we believe that when
riders transition from traditional horse shoes to an alternative with a plastic sheath, they may
that the plastic material offers more stopping power than their previous experience with steel
The perspective matters too; whether we compare the gliding behavior of a plastic shoe with a barefoot horse or with traditional steel horse shoes. Our aim in developing our composite shoe is to achieve a gliding behavior comparable to that of a barefoot horse; the gliding should feel as natural as possible and not artificially extended.
Deeper Tread Pattern for Increased Grip
Another advantage of the plastic sheath is that it can be easily equipped with a deeper tread pattern in the outsole of the shoe. This creates traction and provides an increased grip for the horse to prevent slipping (to a certain extend).
The effect of the deeper threat pattern is best understood, when comparing it to that of a hiking shoe. When taking a walk, for example, in the woods or on muddy paths, one usually experiences better grip with a specially designed hiking shoe featuring a grip pattern compared to an unstable sneaker with little to no grip pattern.
Of course, almost every horse shoe with a plastic sheath can be easily modified into a version with a deeper tread pattern using an angle grinder with a coarse-grained disc. However, we aim to make life as simple as possible for those who know they need a bit more grip. For this reason, our best-selling shoe with quarter clips is available with a deeper tread pattern at no extra cost.
Clipped Horse Shoe with Deeper Tread Pattern for Additional Traction – Photos
Our clipped horse shoes with deeper tread pattern have an increased slip-resistance and are the top choice for many leisure and endurance riders, especially when riding off-road.
The adjustment of our horse shoes with a deeper outsole pattern can be done in the same way as with our regular models without a grip pattern.
You have the option to use this clipped shoe with a deeper tread pattern as either a nail-on or glue-on shoe, depending on your preferences and the horse's needs.
The clipped horse shoe with a deeper tread pattern is available in both degrees of hardness - Standard and Extra.
You can equip your clipped and profiled composite shoe with quick studs, also known as "spikes" to enhance its slip-resistance.
All of our Straight-Toe-Shoes have grooves in the area of the straight bar, which is why this clipped and profiled shoe is only available in a round and oval shape.
The deeper tread pattern has a similar effect to the out-sole pattern of a hiking shoe. Many leisure riders or trail riders who spend a lot of time in off-road terrain on trail-rides prefer this clipped and profiled model for this reason.
The deeper tread pattern is highly favored by endurance riders. During long rides in off-road terrain, they encounter various ground conditions. Especially when riding at higher speeds on challenging terrain, riders truly appreciate the enhanced slip-resistance of the horse shoe's outsole.
The deeper tread pattern enhances the slip-resistance of our shock-absorbing shoe, making it a favorable alternative also for carriage horses. To further enhance traction, you have the option to equip it with quick studs, also known as "Spikes".
Application and Safety Guidelines for Horse Shoes with Deeper Tread Pattern - VIDEO
Regardless of whether you choose a shoe with or without a reinforced tread, your safety and that of your horse are of utmost importance to us. Therefore, please always adjust your speed according to the terrain and your horse's surefootedness, especially when riding off-road. The tread provides increased grip, but in particular in off-road conditions, you should always be prepared for the possibility of your horse slipping, for instance, on wet leaves or very muddy paths.
Please note that when using our products, it is essential to follow our safety guidelines, which are directed both at the user (e.g. farriers, vets) and the rider / horse owner.
Nail-on Application Guide for Composite Horse Shoes with Deeper Tread Pattern - Video
The enhanced tread pattern does not impact the overall application process. The clipped and profiled shoe can be applied in the same manner as a horse shoe with a standard outsole without deeper tread pattern.
In our video, Stephan Becker will walk you through the general application of our composite horse shoes.
Glue-on Application Guide
Certainly, a horse shoe with a grip pattern can also be used as a glue-on shoe.
For the round and oval-shaped shoes with a grip pattern, both the Wolf Busch® glue-on tabs and our glue-on collars Pro and Easy are suitable.
In our Application Guide, Shelly Frank provides a detailed step-by-step explanation on how to prepare the glue-on shoe and attach it to the horse's hoof. She demonstrates the combination of an open-toed shoe with the Wolf Busch® glue-on tabs, which is our bestselling product among the glueing items.
The Structure of a Composite Horse Shoe and Its Connection to the Anatomy of the Horse's Hoof
The structure of a composite shoe and its connection to the anatomy of the horse's hoof were already discussed above in a simplified manner - the division into hard and soft structures and how this served as the fundamental idea for our innovative horse shoe.
To provide a better illustration, we have summarized all of this in a short animation video.
|Clipped Horse Shoe with Deeper Tread Pattern
|150, 151, 440, 441
|protect the horse's hoof, absorb concussion forces, provide enhanced slip-resistance, reduce the risk of slipping, get a grip
|Riding Styles and Disciplines
|among others: leisure riding and trail riding, endurance, western riding, dressage, driving, show jumping, eventing, military, gaited horse riding, baroque riding, ground work, working equitation
|Admission for Tournaments
|Our composite horse shoes are approved for various tournaments; for more information please contact the respective association (e.g. AQHA, DWA, FEIF, FN, OEPS, VFD, VWB).
|Therapy Horse Shoe / Rehab
|The clipped and profiled horse shoe is also suitable for supportive use in the orthopedic and therapeutic field; we expressly point out that our products do not diagnose or cure any diseases and advise for any use with a therapeutic or orthopedic background to work closely with the hoof specialist or veterinarian on site.
|among others: Warmblood, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Paint Horse, Haflinger, Icelandic, Arabian, Friesian, Andalusian, Hanoverian
|nail-on, glue-on, cast hooks and cast
|can be found unter FAQ → Instructions
|can be found unter FAQ → Security Advices
|round / oval
|Sizes Round Shape
|102mm, 106mm, 110mm, 114mm, 118mm, 122mm, 126mm, 130mm, 134mm, 138mm, 142mm, 146mm, 150mm, 154mm, 158mm, 162mm, 166mm, 170mm
|Sizes Oval Shape
|98mm, 102mm, 106mm, 110mm, 114mm, 118mm, 122mm, 126mm, 130mm, 134mm, 138mm, 142mm, 146mm, 150mm, 154mm, 158mm, 162mm, 166mm
|in 4mm steps
|Based on the shape and the widest part of the hoof (after appropriate barefoot
treatment) or, in a pinch, also based on the horse shoe size that has fit so far.
In the section FAQ →Sizes and Shapes, you will find a complimentary template that you can print.
|Standard / Extra
|all year round
|During the cold season we recommend the Standard models.
At higher temperatures the Extra models have proven their worth.
|depending on the size from 174g up to 540g
|Depending on the size. We have listed the details for you under FAQ→Sizes and Shapes.
|the respective size in mm
|The knobs are impressed into the weight-bearing surface of the hoof wall and help the shoe keep its position on the hoof
|Solid Metal Inlay
|the stabilizing metal core contributes to the durability of the shoe and helps to avoid unwanted pressure on the horse's hoof
|the soft plastic sheath has a shock-absorbing effect
|Bar made of Plastic Material
|can improve the blood circulation of the hoof
|The molded plastic lip acts like a debris guard - similar to a snowgrip®- reduces the amount of snow and debris balling up. Depending on which size of the Extra version you order, you will either receive remaining stock without debris guard or the updated version with debris guard.
|Depending on the size of the shoe, 6 to 8 nailing slots are integrated into the metal core.
|the ideal nail size varies depending on the hoof situation and size - you can find a general recommendation in our store at the hoof nails
|A clipped shoe simplifies the nailing process and helps prevent twists and displacements of the shoe during the regular shoeing period. In the case of a clipped STS shoe, the quarter clips are positioned slightly further towards the heels compared to the other shapes.
|Thread Inserts for Studs
|The open sole design offers breathability to the hoof sole and the frog.
|Tread Pattern (Profiled)
|deeper tread pattern for increased grip
Depending on the model version, it is possible to receive slightly different tread pattern variations.
|You may add quick studs, also known as "spikes"to add grip to your clipped and profiled horse shoe.
When riding, you always have to adapt the speed appropriately to the ground and ride with reduced speed on slippery ground.
|Risk of Injuries in Herds
|Minimized risk of injuries in herd situations and in case of irregular movements in comparison to a metal horse shoe or the sharp-edged border of a bare hoof - please also read our safety information; the clips must be monitored regularly.
|The flexible plastic material encourages the mobility of the elastic hoof structures.
|Adjustment to the Hoof
|with an angle grinder, belt grinder, nippers or toeing knife
(at your own discretion)
|more or less wide, extend, convert into a model with closed sole area
|grind or rasp away plastic material in the toe area of the shoe to achieve a custom breakover
|among others gluing products, modification accessories, wedges, cast hooks, spikes
|from 20 pieces per size (article number)
|Exchange and Return
|Possible under certain preconditions within 3 months within the European Union.
For returns from outside the EU please contact our Customer Service Team.
For further details please look at our section FAQ → Service & Conditions.
|worldwide; deliveries to France, Switzerland and Canada are carried out by our our country representatives
Tips and Tricks for Your Clipped and Profiled Horse Shoe
At this point, we would like to provide you with some additional helpful information regarding the selection of the appropriate horse shoe for your horse.
The Appropriate Shape and Size
If you're unsure about your horse's hoof shape or not certain about the size needed for your clipped and profiled shoe with increased grip, we've created a printable template.
Abrasion and Durability of a Horse Shoe with Deeper Tread Pattern
The wear and, consequently, the durability of the horse shoe with a plastic sheath are influenced by various factors. Abrasion behavior is always a combination of external factors such as temperature and ground conditions, the horse's behavior and gaits, and of course, the product used. Particularly in the case of a profiled shoe, it's important to note that it tends to wear slightly faster than a plastic horse shoe without deeper tread pattern.
Our clipped and profiled model is available in a slightly softer (Standard) and a slightly harder (Extra) plastic material. During the summer months, when temperatures are higher, we suggest considering the Extra version, while during milder to colder temperatures, the Standard version has demonstrated its effectiveness.
If you are still experiencing issues with the abrasion resistance, our clipped and profiled Heavy Duty Shoes might be an alternative for you. The HDS are primarily designed for horses that do a lot of work or for especially heavy horses with large hooves. The smallest HDS size is 118mm, and the largest is 198mm. This means that both working horses, like those in harness, such as carriages horses, as well as draft horses used for activities like logging, can benefit from this type of particularly solid horse shoe.
The HDS models with threaded inserts have a slighlty profiled outsole, while those without threaded inserts have a deeper tread pattern. To prevent excessive wear during intensive use, the plastic sheath on the bottom side of the HDS is approximately 0.5cm thicker on average compared to our regular models.
Horse Shoes with Deeper Tread Pattern
The outsole of the plastic sheath of all our horse shoes is slightly profiled. Due to our wide selection of different horse shoe variations, it is unfortunately not possible for us to offer every version with and without a deeper tread pattern.
The Following Horse Shoes Feature a Deeper Tread Pattern:
- our best-selling model in the version with a deeper tread pattern
- the basic horse shoe - our budget-friendly clipped and profiled model
- the clipped and profiled model made of regranulade
- the Arizona for particularly rocky terrain, featuring a reinforced toe area, quarter clips and a deeper tread pattern
- the Classic - our pure plastic shoe with deeper tread pattern
DIY: Add a Deeper Tread Pattern to Your Shoe
The good news at this point is that it's quite easy to modify a plastic shoe without a deeper tread
pattern into a profiled shoe.
Please use an angle grinder with a coarse-grit disc for the modification and consider the following aspects:
- Make sure the ground-off plastic material doesn't clog the nail holes.
- The tread pattern should not be ground down deeper than halfway into the plastic sheath in order to maintain the necessary stability of the plastic material.
- For safety reasons, the shoe should be clamped in a vise while grinding the tread pattern.
- We advise against post-profiling for the following models:
- Open-Toed Horse Shoes
- Straight Bar Shoes
- Horse Shoes with Integrated Stud Holes
- Jumper and HDS Traction
Additional Grip for a model with Deeper Tread Pattern
Even with a profiled shoe, there might be cases where additional grip is needed.
For additional grip on a steel shoe, often tungsten carbide pins or even studs are used.
But how can a composite shoe be equipped with additional grip? Essentially, just like a steel shoe:
The counterpart to a steel shoe with carbide horse shoe pins is the composite shoe with quick studs (spikes). The small spikes serve as a precursor to studs. They are screwed into the plastic sheath using a suitable spike adapter. If the deeper tread pattern and quick studs still do not provide enough grip, you can buy a model with threaded inserts for the application of studs.
This might also be of interest to you: