Repairing hooves

Q. My four year old OTTB has got a huge chunk missing out of the side of her hoof and my farrier says he might not be able to get a shoe on that foot next time. Can I bog it up and is there one that will stay in longer than others?

Sally, Taumarunui

A: Thanks for your question. We’re very lucky these days that farriers have some pretty useful materials in their tool boxes for rebuilding and repairing hooves.

Some of the modern hoof repair materials are easily applied to the hoof and can rebuild areas of hoof wall that is missing – from a relatively small chunk to a large area that has either been lost or removed in the treatment of disease.

There are a few different options for repair materials that are popular in NZ. The advantages of these are their strength, their ability to bond strongly to the surrounding healthy hoof and the fact they have some flexibility when set which allows for some give with the natural movements of the hoof wall under loading. Many of the hoof repair materials can be nailed into and through almost like regular hoof wall and this gives the shoe a better chance of staying on and the nails can also help to keep the rebuild material securely in place as an added bonus.

Something your farrier will be watching out for is any sensitive areas. Most adhesives heat up slightly when they’re going off (setting) so there’s always the danger of scalding if the hoof wall has been torn away to sensitive horn and the glue is applied too close to it.

I would never recommend using a filler that isn’t specifically developed for use on hooves – something you get from a hardware shop isn’t likely going to cut the mustard when it comes to staying in place and enduring all the things that horses’ hooves experience.

The market leaders in the farrier industry are the Vettec range of products and Equilox. There are a handful of others which are similar in quality and are sold under other brand names. The Vettec products (Adhere or Superfast) are usually applied using a special applicator gun and mixing nozzles whilst Equilox can be used from a gun or mixed in pots by hand depending on which type you’ve got.

Depending on the preference of your farrier and what he thinks might be best for your horse, one of these products might do the trick for your horse and if applied correctly, will stay in place for a number of weeks. Hope this helps.

David Hankin Dip.WCF

This question and answer first appeared in the March 2012 issue of NZ Horse & Pony magazine

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