- Designer John Wright came up with the new GluShu design
- A traditional horseshoe is coated with comfortable plastic
- Instead of nails, the shoe is glued on to the horse’s hoof
A revolutionary slip-on plastic coated hoof that doubles as an equine fashion accessory could spell the end for nailing on horseshoes.
An equestrian designer came up with the ‘GluShu’, which uses a traditional metal horseshoe that is coated in a durable thick plastic covering and glued to the animal’s foot rather than nailed.
The coating offers the horse more cushioning and offers an easier alternative to the traditional method of fitting shoes.
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Revolutionary: Designer John Wright with his new plastic coated horseshoe, pictured with Sarafina, and her owner Anneli Larrson at her stable in Chester le Street, County Durham
Comfortable: The horseshoe uses a traditional metal shoe but that is coated in a softer plastic
But not only are they easier to fit and more comfortable for the horse, the shoes could become something of an equine fashion accessory as they come in a variety colours including neon pink and grey and look like the popular plastic sandals Crocs.
The new shoes were designed by John Wright with the help of GB Olympic equestrian team farrier Jeffrey Newnham.
John, managing director of GluShu, which is based in Team Valley, Gateshead, said: ‘It’s an up-to-date solution to shoeing a horse, that has been updated from what was introduced 500 years ago.
‘Farriers nailed steel shoes to horses’ feet back then because that was their only option, but now we have designed a much more comfortable option for horses which makes much better sense, and helps fix worn and tired hooves.’
But farriers can breathe a sigh of relief – the GluShu won’t see their trade become obsolete. Under UK law a horse must have its shoes fitted professionally.
The concept, which is the first of its kind to be created in the UK was thought up from an idea had by a designer in the US.
Quicker: Instead of using nails, the shoe uses glue and takes around three minutes to fit
Healthy: The shoe allows medicine or cream for injured horses to be applied under the shoe
Fashion accessory: The shoes come in a variety of bright colours including neon pink and green
While the American concept relies on gluing shoes to horses feet, the horse is forced to stand still for more than 15 minutes – which often means it has to be tranquilised.
The US way is also a more messy procedure as the plastic coating on the shoe has to be mixed and applied in the stable.
The GluSHu however slots simply onto the horse’s hoof and is glued on – a process that takes around three minutes.
The plastic flaps around the top of the shoe simply bend backwards and forwards to accommodate any shaped hoof.
New shoes: Farrier Billy Moore attaches a new rubber horse shoe called Glushu to Sarafina, pictured with her owner Anneli Larsson at her stable in Chester le Street, County Durham
Although having a horseshoe fitted the original way isn’t painful for the animal – it has no nerves in its hoof – it is said by vets to be an improvement to the old method.
John added: ‘Nailing does damage horses feet. Everywhere else in the world, you can shoe your own horses feet, but in the UK you have to use a farrier who will only use a traditional horseshoe at the minute.
‘It’s a brilliant alternative for horses in the UK, and we have spoken to lots of vets who agree its a marked improvement for horses feet.’
‘We have created a range of different colours for the GluShu as recently people have started to pay for their horses to have cosmetic items, such as headcollars and bridles.
‘People want to style and accessories their horses more and more, and we wanted to fit into that market, and not just give the product another standard leather-look finish.’
Annali Larsson had the company’s first bright pink shoes fitted to her horse Sarafina last week at Chester-le-Street.
The GluShu is especially suitable for horses who are lame or unable to walk, and the product means medicated creams and treatments can be placed inside the shoe so they can work effectively on the horse’s hoof.
John, who has been a product designer for 30 years, said: ‘We have had a horse that could not walk because he was in so much pain from an infection he had in his hoof.
‘As soon as he had the shoes on, he was running around like an excited foal, the shoes changed his life for him.
‘People are left with horses they can’t ride, and as soon as they are fitted with these shoes they can again. They’re such a straight forward concept but they are so effective.’