Pets

Clip-on shoes let horses clip-clop in comfort

The shock-absorbing Megasus Horserunner weighs less than half a pound
The shock-absorbing Megasus Horserunner weighs less than half a pound
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The shock-absorbing Megasus Horserunner weighs less than half a pound
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The shock-absorbing Megasus Horserunner weighs less than half a pound
The number of flaps and size of the Megasus Horserunner can be customized depending on the hoof size
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The number of flaps and size of the Megasus Horserunner can be customized depending on the hoof size
The key argument the Megasus team makes against your traditional iron horseshoe is based on the way that a hoof responds to the terrain underfoot
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The key argument the Megasus team makes against your traditional iron horseshoe is based on the way that a hoof responds to the terrain underfoot

Having iron plates slapped on the bottom of your feet would make walking and running pretty uncomfortable, and one Austrian startup believes it doesn't do horses much good either. The team behind Megasus Horserunners has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a horseshoe alternative it says will allow for more natural hoof movements, and can be easily clipped on and taken off as required.

The key argument the Megasus team makes against your traditional iron horseshoe is based on the way that a hoof responds to the terrain underfoot. It says that a common misconception about hooves is that they only move on a horizontal plane, when its own research into the matter has shown that the hoof can actually move vertically to compensate for uneven ground.

The key argument the Megasus team makes against your traditional iron horseshoe is based on the way that a hoof responds to the terrain underfoot
The key argument the Megasus team makes against your traditional iron horseshoe is based on the way that a hoof responds to the terrain underfoot

And bounding about on a stiff, uncompromising plate means that some tendons and ligaments go unused, the team says, in the same way a plaster limits movement in humans. So it set about designing footwear for horses with a little more give.

The system begins with a velcro-like tape that wraps around the hoof. The shock-absorbing shoe, which weighs less than half a pound (226 g) and is made of both soft and hard components, is then bound to the hoof with a row of flaps that fold inwards and grab onto the tape with a "bulletproof hold."

The number of flaps and size of the shoe can be customized depending on the hoof size. The team says the ability to remove them easily (well, more easily than ripping nails out of a tough horse hoof, anyway) means that the horse can walk barefoot to strengthen its hooves and give its tendons and ligaments a good workout when the opportunity arises.

Currently raising funds on Kickstarter, the Megasus team has just passed its €100,000 (US$110,000) goal with 23 days left to run. Early pledges of €75 (USD$82) will have a set of two Megasus Horserunners headed your way in July 2017, if all goes to plan.

You can check out the pitch video below.

Source: Megasus Horserunners

Megasus Horserunners - For Horses and Horse Lovers.

4 comments
Buellrider
If the horses hooves do move vertically then we humans have been torturing these regal animals for a 1000 years. Can you imagine wearing shoes that didn't bend, it would be pure hell to walk.
highlandboy
Buellrider, the Dutch wore clogs with little concern. Welsh and Yorkshire coal miners also wore clogs to ensure they could be readily slipped from the foot in a cave in. Neither considered them uncomfotable. While horse shoes may be less flexible they protect from split hooves - which a horse finds truly painful.
rpark
...nice video, but having owned a Belgian- I don't see how this plastic shoe will last more than a day.
JohnE
First off, this clip-on thing doesn't look like a good option because it's too likely to fall off. I wouldn't want to lose a $100 shoe after one gallop. And most importantly, neither the Kickstarter campaign nor the author of this article mention that this type of horsewear actually does not come out of the blue like a revolutionary idea. Hoof boots for instance have been around for a while and seem much sturdier (I doubt these will last one or two years), and that's just one of the available alternatives to traditional horse shoes.
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