Thanks to the gang at Horses in the Morning podcast for chatting to Glushu Engineer John Wright about all things Glushu including.
- How are they applied / removed?
- How long does shoeing take?
- What are the best glues to use?
- Which horses can benefit from Glushu?
- What competitive activities can be done in Glushu?
The Glushu bit starts around 00:35 but we would recommend the whole show as a great listen Click the player to listen to the show. A transcript of the interview can also be read below.
Horses in the Morning Glushu Interview:
HitM: We have all the way from England John Wright on with us from Glushu. We have been getting a lot of questions since my wife Jennifer talked on the show about using glue on shoes on her horse. We have been getting a lot of listeners more curious about glue on shoes so John welcome to the show.
JW: Hi thank you.
HitM: So tell me why glue on shoes opposed to regular shoes? What would be the reason that people would look at doing this?
JW: Well I think, and I can only talk from the UK experience, there are more and more farriers turning up to horses now where, there is no hoof wall left, for various reasons or the horse has very thin hoof walls, or is very flat footed and needs a shoe that doesn’t use a nail.
HitM: And what did they do before “glue ons” became popular?
JW: Walked away. Basically the farrier said “I can’t put a shoe on this horse” and walked away. Literally gave it box rest and said “I’ll come back when the hoof wall has healed sufficiently to nail a shoe on”.
HitM: Well that was exactly the situation with my wife’s thoroughbred. This horse hadn’t had anything done to it for years when we got it and the feet were a mess. There really wasn’t anything to nail to and we were using boots for a year, then she finally looked into glue on shoes and for that horse, for Nigel, it has been working beautifully. They stay on, they have been working beautifully.
JW: The issue I have with boots, you know I think they serve a purpose and they did a job very well and you can reuse them but I have had someone come to me locally and said “I had boots that were measures and made specifically and fit perfectly or my horse and 20 minutes later the boots facing the wrong way.” It had just twisted on the hoof, and that horse works really hard. They call it a “war horse”, it’s used for demonstrations and exhibitions. He didn’t really want boots on it but it was the only thing he could use and he said he spent £200 so about $300, spent a lot of money on boots and within 20 minutes wanted to send them back and get his money back. So some boots do work, some boots don’t work and they are also very specific for the hooves you have to choose your shape of boot for the hoof and horse you have.
HitM: So what makes Glushu , the shoe you have designed a bit difference from other glue on shoes and how exactly does the process work getting them on the feet?
JW: I was asked many years ago to copy the Siga Foos the Sound Horse shoes. A farrier friend of mine came to me and I said I didn’t want to copy something which I didn’t think was very good as a product. Not that the product didn’t work very well, I thought it took too long to fit and it was very messy. So I started to play around with various cuffs thinking that these glues were better than they actually were at the time. I came up with some prototypes, tried them and my farrier friends say “Yup they’re brilliant, can we develop this?” and from there we then investigated manufacturing techniques to get the rubber to stick to the aluminium shoes and make them more robust. It is a really really simple system. You literally have to get the hoof clean and dry, it helps if everything’s warm. Put the glue on the shoe, put the shoe on the horse, adjust it and let the glue go off. Simple as that it really is simple.
HitM: Now do yours actually have aluminium in it? I know the one my wife has does not, it is all rubber.
JW: Yes it is all based around an aluminium shoe. I decided that I didn’t agree with just the rubber shoes, I think you still need something which gives the hoof wear. I wanted it to be light, as all the vets agree that it should be as light as possible. Titanium is obviously out of the question, so we went for an aluminium shoe which we then covered in a rubber skin and gave it a cuff, and the cuff glues to the hoof wall.
HitM: So it seemed to take longer when my wife was having hers put on , it was a different shoe not yours, the whole process seemed to take a while. Is that the case with yours too? Does it take a little bit longer?
JW: No, I have actually timed it and it’s very funny. I have this argument with farriers all the time. I timed a farrier putting on a nailed on shoe, hot shoed, and it took him 7 minutes. But because he was busy moving back and forwards from his truck and measuring and tapping on his anvil it took 7 minutes.
HitM: Wow that’s fast.
JW: Yeah he’s a good lad. And when he was doing the Glushu you have to of course hold the hoof for 5 minutes. So he put the glue in put the shoe on and 3minutes into holding the hoof he goes “well it must be getting close now” and I am saying no its only 3 minutes another 2 minutes, because these acrylic glues you mustn’t let the shoe move otherwise it breaks the bond but after 5 minutes you can put the foot down and off you go. But he thought because he was standing doing nothing that it took ages and it was twice as long as his normal shoeing. And you literally have to do it by the stop watch, you have to set it going 5 minutes later you can put the hoof down.
HitM: There are so many listener questions that you seem to have already answered but how long does it last?
JW: It lasts as long as the trimming cycle for the horse. Now I have had one in Finland where she’s had them on for 15 weeks, basically because she forgot to re-order from me and it takes 2 weeks to get the shoes to her. I have had a guy from Werkman who’s their most senior expert, he had them on for 6 months. Horse had no hoof growth at all and they had it in a field. So that’s the longest I have had but I wouldn’t recommend longer than your normal trimming cycle cause the hoof does grow.
HitM: Yeah I think with Jennifer it was 6-8 weeks which I think is normal.
JW: Yeah that’s normal. I mean I’ve got a horse that does 13 weeks on the dot and literally there is nothing to trim, every 13 weeks she just decides to change the shoe and that’s it. I’ve got horses that do a lot of road work and you know the shoes wear out so it is a 6 week cycle.
HitM: So April wants to know so they work well for horses that do speed events? So your speed events could be Eventing, Barrel Racing any of those types of sports?
JW: Yes we sell them to people who do barrel racing. They are very pleased with them. Barrel racing was a challenge for us but they have stayed on, they work well.
HitM: And jumping?
JW: Yes we do horse jumping, dressage, we’ve got the lot. Every event we sell these shoes.
HitM: Well endurance is obviously one of the big ones right because they do use boots usually.
JW: Yeah, Easy Care promote their shoe as an endurance shoe, but my problem with that is there is no steel inside the shoe, so there is very little support. I have designed a frog and pad system which gets glued and clipped into the inside of our shoe which you can then either use a hoof packing material or not for the endurance market so we have a full protected hoof.
HitM: This is great. Michelle wants to know is there an option for horses living in muddy conditions? Do they get sucked off in mud puddles like shoes can?
JW: Nope. My horse tester who has been testing them for 3 and a half years now has a very muddy field and she was over the moon because they stayed on and she was losing numerous shoes, nail on shoes that is, normally 1 a week. She put the Glushus on, mud is not an issue, you can ride in the sea, and you can get them wet. There is not an issue with a glue on shoe anymore.
HitM: How the hell d’you get them off? If they survive in England they’ll survive anywhere right?
JW: This is true. How to get them off? Well, I recommend that a farrier starts by using a draw knife. It’s not something they have in their normal kit, but if you know what a draw knife is it is something you shave wood with. So it’s a blade with a handle at either end and you literally pare the cuff of the hoof wall and then you pull the shoe like you would any normal shoe with a pair of nippers.
JW: The only reason I recommend this is, most farriers are used to using their nippers as trimmers, so they will trim the hoof but they have this tendency to get hold of something and pull. Some reasons you have used the Glushu is that the hoof wall is non-existent so you can start to pull the hoof wall off if you pull with your nippers. So I advocate cutting the cuff of the shoe away then pulling the shoe off the bottom of the hoof.
HitM: Gotcha. And Chantel wants to know how much they cost?
JW: Well, in America I think the shoes are $35 a pair and you can buy the kit which includes the glue and the mixer tips for $60 per kit. So I have tried to keep the cost extremely reasonable for a glue on shoe.
HitM: That is really reasonable actually even looking at regular shoes. It cost us about $240 for the shoes for the first go around cause she also spent time cleaning around the hoof. Because this horse had hoof problems but the second time it was $200 so it had come down. You cant re-ues these once they are cut off you have to put new ones on right.
JW: No unfortunately you cannot reuse them.
HitM: But we had no choice with this horse either. The other problem we have here is finding a farrier that will do it. Is that getting better, are more farriers getting trained in this and accepting it?
JW: We are holding clinics all the time. I think in Europe it’s pretty much saturated. We have somebody out every weekend holding clinics. America is just starting to happen. And in fact in Florida there is a guy called Roy Verocay who is holding clinics all the time and he’s actually advocating himself to come out and help train people. So yes it’s happening and its becoming more and more accepted because I believe they are the shoe of the future.
HitM: So there’s an opportunity for farriers because if you are the only one in your area that’s doing this you are going to get business. The lady that does Jennifer’s, that’s all she does now and she is the glue on shoe person. We got referred to her by another farrier. So she has really built a market with that and it is definitely something they should look at.
HitM: Can we get your shoes Glushu here is the United States?
JW: Yes they are stocked in the USA. If you go to Glushu USA you can order them off the website.
HitM: So its www.glushu.com
HitM: Is there a place my farrier can go to learn how to do this?
JW: Yes you can go on our website there is lots of videos. Demonstration videos as to how to fit them, how to remove them, tricks for holding them on, tricks for fast fixing there’s all sorts of videos now being posted all the time. If you go on Youtube and Facebook they are all there. You will see before and after videos where the horse is really lame and 5 minutes after having Glushu fitted it is skipping away and they are just amazing. That’s why I designed that shoe, it just makes you feel really good.
JW: I have just one other point to mention and it’s the glue which is really important. Glues have come on a long way in the last 5 years and you really should be using acrylic glue. A lot of farriers don’t like using acrylic because it takes 5 minutes to cure and they will go for a urethane glue, something like Vettec Superfast or Vettec Adhere and although you can get the hoof really clean and really dry you’ll find that the shoes only last 4 weeks. And it is your shoe that gets the blame not the glue. They ring you up and they say “oh your shoe just fell off my horse” and you find that they’ve been using urethane glue because the farrier wants it to cure in 2 minutes and doesn’t want to hold the hoof.
HitM: Yeah we have been using the acrylic glue and these things haven’t peeled even a tiny bit and there is no indication of them coming off.
JW: Yes if you get the hoof really clean, and its dry and warm you won’t have any problems. Once it is bonded it is on there and it is on for good.
HitM: Thank you John. I hope everyone has learned a little about glue on shoes.