Clip-On Horse shoes: The Future of Shoeing?

I’m sure many, if not all of you, will have seen the video of these new shoes on social media over the past few months, if you haven’t you can find the video below. The Megasus Horserunners are the first clippable shoes available for horses and market themselves as being the best option for horses.

The plastic design is shock absorbing, reducing stress put on the horse’s limbs during exercise, particularly on harder surfaces. They are also flexible, allowing for natural hoof movement. Basically they sound like a really good product and solve a lot of problems people have with both traditional shoeing and barefoot.

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However there are a few things which bother me about these shoes.

Firstly, with slogans such as “For Horses and Horse Lovers” and “No Nails, No Iron, No Compromise” you can tell that they are marketing these products at owners, not farriers. This really, really bothers me. A farrier has a better idea of what a horse needs hoof wise than the owner. This is because they studied and had to pass exams to be able to do what they do.

I don’t like the idea of a company encouraging horse owners to take their horses hoof maintenance into their own hands just to sell products. That will just put more horses’ welfare at risk! Instead they should be marketing these shoes mainly at farriers and qualified barefoot trimmers. Any marketing to horse owners should have an “ask your farrier about this” vibe.

Secondly, although the actual shoe is removable, the Velcro strips are glued on to the hoof for 7-9 weeks at a time. This is the part I don’t like. I have heard several farriers say that they don’t like the effect glue on the hoof wall has long term. I got the impression that long term glue use can significantly weaken the hoof wall and lead to other problems. Because of this, I can’t justify the use of these new shoes as part of a long term hoof care routine.

There are lots of situations I think these shoes could be used short term, such as:

  • Transitioning to barefoot
  • Not enough hoof to nail into
  • If particularly foot sore due to a short term condition
  • To rule out shoeing as a cause of lameness

But until more research has been done on the effects of long term gluing onto the hoof wall, I have to listen to farriers experiences and conclude that this product isn’t suitable for long term use. Especially not when there are other alternatives such as nail on plastic shoes (for reduced impact forces in the limbs) or hoof boots.

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