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Rubber Horseshoes Cut From Tires
When Grant Baldwin, Salmon, Idaho, went looking for a different way to shoe horses, he hit on the idea of cutting rubber shoes out of discarded pickup tires.
  The shoes worked so well he built a hydraulic-powered machine that cuts up to 24 number one size shoes out of a single truck tire. What's more, because he screws the shoes in place rather than nailing them, they're easy to use for do-it-yourself farriers.
  The rubber shoes cover the bottom of the foot except for the frog. Baldwin says they're so tough they'll last longer than iron.
  He uses a battery-powered screw gun to screw them in place. "An advantage to screws is you can put the shoe on very easily, without tapping on the horse's foot. Horses like that better," Baldwin says.
  The screws don't have to come out the side of the hoof wall to be clinched, like nails, since they hold nicely on their own. "Just aim it into the hoof where you want it. You can put it a lot closer to the outside of the hoof than you can a nail, since it doesn't have to come out the side," he says.  
  You can use screws with large heads or small ones, depending on ground conditions. You can also put in as many screws as you want into the rubber shoe since you can put them anywhere around the foot.
  Baldwin hasn't had much trouble with screw heads breaking or wearing off.
  He cuts the shoes out of the tire sidewall. "This leaves the tire tread intact and when you spread it out flat you have a nice piece of tread about 7 ft. long which can be used for other things around the farm," says Baldwin.
  In addition to a longer lifespan, rubber shoes have other advantages over metal. They conform to the foot and have some give. Any extra rubber sticking out can be trimmed off - much easier than trying to perfectly fit a metal shoe to the foot.
  If the horse is traveling in rocks or going in and out of a trailer, the rubber shoe won't catch on anything. If a metal shoe gets "hung up" it usually pulls off and tears the hoof wall. If the rubber shoe gets caught on something, the rubber generally gives and bends and then comes loose. Horses can't hurt themselves with rubber shoes. Rubber is more forgiving than metal if a horse hits himself with a shoe, or steps on himself. If a group of horses are milling around a corral and step on one another, the rubber won't cause injury. Horses traveling on pavement don't wear out their shoes and the rubber helps minimize concussion. One disadvantage is too much traction (rubber grips asphalt so well, there's no slide). A horse traveling faster than a walk might suffer tendon/ligament or joint injury due to the foot stopping so abruptly.
  At press time, Baldwin says he wants to sell the shoes and screws as a kit and is negotiating marketing and sales agreements.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Grant Baldwin, 18 Hwy 28, Salmon, Idaho 83467 (ph 208 756-2351).

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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #4