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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dubai Horse Hooves Are Being Molded, Not Shod, with Experimental Hoof Application Process

by Fran Jurga | 12 September 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Take a really close look at this "shoe". What looks at first glance like a Natural Balance shoe is actually a urethane hoof application created on the foot by injecting Vettec Adhere material into a mold. Vettec Superfast is sometimes also used, but Derek said that in this particular shoe, Adhere made the shoe more flexible.

Here's the ground surface of a six-degree short-heart bar, made for a horse with a fractured navicular bone.

A new shoeing technique developed in Dubai by South African farrier Derek Poupard is offered for your comments. In addition to the photos above, we have a short video showing how the mold is applied and the material is inserted, and the removal of the model to reveal a "shoe", if you want to call it that.

"This is so new, I only put my first one on 4 months ago, and after doing hundreds I now feel it is time to expose it," Derek wrote in an email. "I have only shown it to a handful of farriers here and right from the word go they embraced it and it is very rewarding to see their response as they peel of a mold seeing the perfect shoe. They all describe it as a revelation and every time they use it, it gives them the same feeling over and over again."

This has been a big year for plastic and composite horseshoes. First Curlin won the great classics of his four-year-old career last fall wearing square-toed Polyflex shoes of polyurethane. Then Steffen Peters and Ravel won the World Cup of dressage wearing plastic Eponashoes. This week, the venerable Horse and Hound news magazine from London carries a feature article touting the popularity of plastic shoes, especially those designed by our friend, the clever Andrew Poynton, who has expanded his moldable Imprint therapeutic plastic heartbars into sporty new models for competition horses.

And now we have the possibility of design-it-yourself hoof molds to make not shoes, exactly, but something else, a hybrid lighter and perhaps more cohesive with the foot than a separate shoe attached by nails would be. While steel and nails have their advantages too, this new technique may find a niche of its own, or become a platform for inventors or farriers and veterinarians faced with challenging hoof injuries or deformities.

This second video was made a while ago by a Dubai television station that visited the royal stables where Derek works. It's a nice view into the facility and shows Derek's previous traditional use of glue-on shoes on a Thoroughbred racehorse.

Eventually, Derek's molds will be available for sale, I'm sure, but in the meantime, the floor is open for comments. He's a world away from almost all of us and would like to hear from you, I'm sure.

Much more information is available at

Some American readers may remember Derek from his time spent living and shoeing in Virginia. He has been featured in Hoofcare and Lameness Journal in the past but when he left the USA several years ago, we lost track of him. A royal farrier shop in Dubai is an interesting place for him to be found.

New shoes continue to come on the market or be passed around as prototypes. This process is quite unique, though, and while it seems cumbersome and awkward at this stage, it is sure to improve and become more streamlined.

What could your imagination do with technology like this? What if...

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to

3 comments: said...

This is wonderful to see! If somebody is going to go through the messy procedure of gluing boots on for an endurance ride, this would be a way better option, much healthier for the hoof than having it totally encased in a boot where it can't breath. Looking forward to hearing how this works on endurance horses.

Mo said...

This is very interesting stuff!

Anonymous said...

I have been looking to try to buy this for like 3 hours on the Internet!! Would be so helpfull right now!!