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SoundHorse, of Pennsylvania, USA, have launched a revolutionary polyurethane shoe, designed for direct-glue applications.
Made from a high-temperature, thermoset polyurethane, the Flexx® has undergone long and successful trials in Kentucky and comes in three versions. The Sport is based on the Kerckhaert Classic Roller or equivalent in terms of shape, section and sizing; the Training Plate is designed along the lines of the Victory EC Queens Plate or Kerckhaert Kings Plate; and the Therapy shoe has a three-degree wedge to aid young horses with clubby, upright hooves.
The Sport shoes have open heels, a rolled toe and are made with a flexible wire insert in the core. An ordinary turning hammer can be used to shape them cold. Their weight is less than a quarter of the steel equivalent – a pair of Flexx® Sport Size 1 Fronts weighs 0.15 kg against a pair of Classic Rollers of the same size which come in at 0.80 kg.
The shoes are manufactured with an abrasive grit concentrated at the ground surface to aid both wear and grip, and are expected to wear considerably better than aluminium. As well as easing concussion, the polyurethane allows the shoe to ‘bio-mimic™’ the natural movement of the hoof and permits at least some expansion of the heels, thus reducing hoof capsule restriction – a common criticism of direct-glue applications.
SoundHorse recommend the use of acrylic adhesives such as Equilox or Hoof Life for use with Flexx® shoes as they are particularly ‘friendly’ to this type of glue. The shoes can also be drilled and tapped for studs, or can be fitted with drive-in studs.
The Sport Flexx® are available in sizes 00 – 3 (Kerckhaert sizing), the Training Plate in sizes 0 – 5 (racing plate sizing), and the Therapy shoes in sizes 4-7.
Flexx® are distributed by Atlantic Equine Ltd on 01327 314880 or www.atlantic-equine.co.uk. Price per pair for all versions is £24.95 + VAT.

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