TestimonialsThe Glue-On Shoe
Reliable, Stable and Here to Stay

Reprinted from:
Horsemen’s Yank Pedlar, December 2002

Fifteen years ago, with the encouragement of Dr. Thomas Butera and an introduction to farrier work by David Cotrone of North Kingston, Rhode Island, Barry Hulse shaped his first shoe. He quickly developed an extensive loyal clientele covering most of southern New England. His ongoing desire to perfect his skills keeps him busy participating in contests, seminars and symposiums nationwide. A certified farrier with the American Farriers Association, Barry is also an active member of the Southern New England Farriers Association.

Between his expertise in glue-on shoes and his referrals from veterinarians and various equine hospitals, Barry is constantly busy, keeping the range of horses from pleasure to upper level sport horses happy and sound.

The unreliability of glue-on shoes seems to be a thing of the past. Can you tell us how glue-on shoes have progressed in recent years?

The glue-ons of the past were plastic shoes with tabs, and were actually fastened with super glue. This type was notoriously unreliable. The glue-ons that I use today are manufactured by Sound Horse Technologies in Unionville, Pa. They are named the Sigafoos Shoe, after their developer, Rob Sigafoos, CJF, who is chief of farrier services of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. These shoes have been developed with a fabric cuff and utilize a new acrylic, which is stronger and much closer to the consistency of a hoof wall. The polymers they’ve developed bond better with the hoof wall and are more reliable than a nail bond system.

What is the greatest misconception regarding glue-on shoes?

The biggest misconception is that they fall off. The second one would be that they are difficult to apply. The third one is that they are only for lame horses. I have also heard people say they cause contracted feet. If anything I have found the opposite to be true. I have seen the glue-ons cause the foot to open up a little more, become wider, which is good. This is usually due to the hoof wall becoming thicker, not that the internal structures of the foot have grown wider. Some people have been told by misguided individuals that the foot has to be absolutely dry to apply these shoes. They can’t come in from a swamp and have these applied, but most horses in normal conditions, which includes some mud, can still have these shoes successfully applied with no problem.

Are there advantages to these shoes over traditional nail-ons, or are they strictly therapeutic? And which horses can benefit from the glue-ons?

Many can benefit; horses with cracked and broken feet that have nothing to nail to; a sore-footed horse that can’’ stand the impact of the hammer driving the nails; horses that need to have concussion reduction. These shoes [Sound Horse Technologies] have a – inch thick permanently bonded urethane rim pad, which absorbs shock. The shoes can also be used where there is a quick attachment necessary; for example, on a horse that is extremely uncomfortable when bearing weight on one leg, they can be applied in about the time of a nailed on shoe and the horse can have the hoof back and be immediately weight bearing. With the availability of the Sigafoos Series II™ kit, you can make any kind of therapeutic shoe, bar shoe, support shoe, an exaggerated break-over shoe, that you might need. Your consideration in shaping a conventional shoe is to shape it to the white line so you can nail safely. With glue-ons you don’t have that consideration so you can shape them any way you want to get them right to the ideal base of support for the individual horse.

Many horses can benefit from these shoes simply because of the reduction in concussion: horses that are working on hard surfaces, horses that are jumping and suffer concussion on landing, cutting horses that change direction rapidly and repeatedly and suffer a lot of concussion on the leg. This shoe can become a choice for any type of sport or performance horse. It’s not strictly a therapeutic shoe anymore.

Is the application of the process lengthy compared to traditional shoes? And do you need special tools?

The actual preparation time may be slightly longer than for a conventional shoe. However, the time that the foot is actually off the ground is actually half the time it would take to drive 6-8 nails, and you don’t have the finish time because as soon as the hoof is wrapped and back on the ground the foot is complete. You don’t need any special tools that you wouldn’t already find in a farrier’s truck except for a pair of heavy-duty cutting shears to cut the fabric cuff.

Can you compare the stability of these shoes with a traditional nail-on shoe?

Testing has shown that the attachment is twice as strong as a conventional nail-on shoe. The cuff that gets glued on around the outside of the hoof wall is essentially a continuous clip all the way around the hoof wall. So it is very, very stable. Another advantage is that is that it’s also flexible, so it allows the foot to function with normal shock-absorbing capacity.

On average, what is the expected time frame for these shoes? How many have you applied?

The base in these shoes is the Victory Elite, a wide web aluminum shoe, so the wearability is the same as any other aluminum shoe. As far as their attachment goes they will stay on generally as long as (or longer than) a nail-on shoe. I have put on a couple of hundred of these and yet to have one come off prematurely. They have all made it to 6-8 weeks. I have had to remove every one that I put on.

Are there certain precautions the owner must take regarding turnout or riding surfaces?

No, none whatsoever. I can’t think of any precautions. We use these shoes on event horses and if they can stand up to that they can stand up to just about anything.

Do you routinely use the glue-ons on all four feet or just the hoof/hooves in need?

Generally speaking, because horses bear 60% of their weight in front, it is usually the fore feet that have a problem. But I have done one horse, and I know of several at various equine hospitals, that had all four of the hooves done.

Can glue-on shoes help with certain lower leg lameness problems?

Yes, they can help with concussive navicular syndrome and any kind of arthritic problem. Problems where you have angular deformities. Where you need to move a shoe under the center of the bony column and the foot just isn’t there to allow you to nail it there, so you can move it with the glue-on. Laminitis with the glue-on heart bar. Almost anything you would address with a conventional therapeutic shoe you do with these, and probably a little better because there are more options available.

Does this type of shoeing offer any type of pad for a horse with sensitive soles?

You can use most conventional packings and pads if necessary. But we have found with these [Sound Horse] glue-ons that, because of their construction, many horses that previously needed pads can go without them now. Because the shoe has a rim pad between the shoe and the hoof, it has lifted that hoof high enough off the ground so that even a flat-footed horse that had needed the pad has the extra clearance and is now comfortable.

What horses do you feel you have helped most, and what were their conditions?

A Dutch Warmblood dressage horse who had a history of poor shoeing that had gotten to the point where he couldn’t hold a shoe. His hoof wall was basically gone. His first pair of glue-on egg bars got him back to work immediately. Another one had a hoof wall resection as a result of white line disease and had been out of work for a year and a half. I applied a pair of the Series I™ glue-on shoes and four days later he was back to work.

So can these shoes be applied to help a horse with white line who has had much of his hoof wall removed?

Yes. After resecting the area I apply a thin layer of acrylic with a mixture of an antibiotic which is used to treat the white line disease, and then over that a layer of acrylic which will restore the ground surface of the hoof to normal symmetry. Obviously this should only be done with the full cooperation of the attending veterinarian.

Have there been some horses that have gone sound in glue-ons and you’ve tried to return them to nail-on shoes only to find the lameness reappear?

Yes, there is one who is an intermediate event horse who just won’t go 100% sound in a nail-on. He has a very fragile, soft foot. When I drove nails in his feet I felt as if I could push them in with my thumb. He was very tentative on his fore feet when he was ridden and unhappy with the nail-on shoes. So now he is kept in the [Sound Horse] glue-on shoes.

On average how does the cost compare to traditional shoes?

It is a little more expensive – on the average, most of the shoers are charging the extra cost of the kit.

Is this the only disadvantage you see to these shoes?

I don’t know that I would call it a disadvantage; I would call it “money well spent”!

These shoes seem to have a super strength and adhesive power. Do any of the materials used compromise the integrity of the hoof?

No. A prime consideration of the development process was to ensure that none of the materials used, specifically the adhesive, was actually stronger than the hoof wall.


Reprinted with Permission. Horsemen’s Yank Pedlar, Vol 42, No 12, pp 176, 177, December 2002. 83 Leicester Street, North Oxford, MA 01537 Ph: 508-987-5886