by Larkin Greene
With the development of pour-in pads and rapid setting repair materials, most would agree Vettec created a revolution not seen since the introduction of the keg shoe. Farriers no longer had to cobble together adhesives from construction, automotive and marine applications, though it did make for some interesting stories. With materials specifically designed for equine applications, farriers could do two things that were previously all but impossible: quickly and reliably put foot back on a horse, and protect soles and frogs without the need for a physical pad.
Polyurethanes are well suited to equine applications because they are very durable, can withstand both stress and strain as well as impact, and are exceptional at lessening vibration. Unlike methacrylates, urethanes are non-flammable, produce almost no vapor, and do not chemically attack the substrate (hoof wall) in order to achieve a high strength bond. Add in the 30 to 60 set time, and it opens up a world of possibilities.
Pour-in pads became popular for four reasons: Protection, support, vibration dampening, and quick, easy application. As a durable, yet flexible protective layer, a horse in challenging terrain can step on the sharpest rock without even knowing it, promoting more confidence, and curbing hesitant behaviors. The ability to vary fill levels, and create enhancements like frog support and stepped pours, gives practitioners more options for successfully treating therapeutic situations like caudal heel pain, laminitis, founder and navicular syndrome. Full fills provide horses more physical surface area to stand on, and more surface area for distributing weight, helping to ease the load on the perimeter hoof wall. Partial and combo pours provide options for supporting specific areas with firm materials while cushioning more sensitive structures with softer formulations. More recently, pour-in pad materials have been used to customize hoof boots to improve internal fit and eliminate the shifting so often associated with lost boots. Boots can also be modified externally with wedging and extensions, making them a good option as a removable therapeutic device.
Materials like Adhere and Super Fast offer many ways to augment a shoeing package, or restore the foot itself with less complicated methods. Aside from repairs that are capable of holding nails and clinches, these materials are great for gluing on steel, aluminum and synthetic shoes, or building a custom shoe directly on the foot in a matter of a few minutes. Heel angle corrections and elevations are a breeze with the simple application of a bead from the heel buttress tapered into the toe quarter; with the stroke of a rasp, the desired pastern alignment can be easily achieved. The superior bond and speed of Super Fast means that foal extensions can be customized, layered, and altered throughout the treatment phase rather than simply gluing on a pre-made cuff. And, if something on the rig breaks, chances are pretty solid that it can be fixed without the need for baling wire and duct tape.
This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 17, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.