Monday, April 28, 2008

HoofTech's Custom Engineering: The Shape of Things to Come?

There's plenty new under the sun these days. Consider a new line of 3-d hoof appliances (dare we call them mere "horseshoes"?) from HoofTech, a computerized-design lab for horseshoe applications in California. The metallurgy specialty for this company is application of high-tech aircraft-grade aluminum alloys for support shoes, especially exaggerated wedges, like a thick, curvy 5-degree aluminum wedge shoe, or this four-cornered heart bar.

HoofTech encourages customers to place orders for custom shoes, made to specification in pairs. You could call this service "custom engineering" of your own line of nailable or glueable shoes. Who knows? Maybe that 4.25-degree wedge with a 3-d bar and rolled toe you've been drawing on napkins will soon be on its way to the case!

High-tech HoofTech shoes are in use on the West Coast and headed your way this spring. According to the company, they've had terrific success with Quarter horses and have already notched their belt with a championship.

I'm looking forward to seeing these shoes on a horse! I didn't ask if they can be made with a belly, but it seems like computerized milling stations can create almost anything.

Maybe someday instead of forging contests, farriers will have milling station design challenge contests.

These shoes could also become support bases for hoof boots to make an elevated appliance for a tendon injury or post-surgery, for instance, instead of a patten bar.

Has anyone out there tried these?


Anonymous said...

Someone has to call the baby ugly, and this is one ugly piece of work. Regardless of what some folks say, equine feet don't have corners on them, although they will if you keep this kind of shoe on them long enough. All of the really good farriers that I know can make any shoe cheaper, better fitting and much more efficiently with a hammer then any CNC machine that I have yet seen.

Fran Jurga said...

I guess I should have mentioned that the view of this shoe is actually upside down; you are looking at the ground surface, not the foot surface. Not that that makes any difference to Ms or Mr "Anonymous" of the previous comment.

There are those that would argue that fit is no longer an issue and that nail location/pitch trumps fit, since fit can be assuaged with Equilox.

And then there are those who take pride in shoes that don't fit, making the argument that they are providing support for the foot, not the wall.

(Sigh) Some days my head just spins. This is one of them.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that an interesting comment? I remember when I brought the first few sets of Natural Balance shoes to a big barn, and 2 owners stopped by to ask if those were for their horses. One insisted that it was the shape of her old gelding hooves, and she was right!
Every once in a while a horse shows up that does have corners.