"After the first adjustment phase, the gait pattern changed, she took up space and came out of the shoulder well."
Hello dear ones,
I'm Ines, I'm from near Hamburg and I've been riding for 25 years. I would like to share my experiences with Goodsmith hoof protection with you. My 19-year-old Lusitano mare Sureña has been wearing the Goodsmith since January 19, 2018. Sureña is 154cm at the withers and weighs 540kg. We are currently in advanced training. Our everyday life is very varied. Sureña is worked in dressage – from the saddle and in hand. We work on long reins, love free work and like to go off-road. Working with the Garrocha is also one of our lessons. Sureña lives in a box strewn with straw and enjoys her free time in the pasture or paddock during the day.
Initial hoof situation: Sureña has very thin walls, a thin sole and a relatively fragile hoof horn. A few years ago I tried to take the irons off, but gave up the attempt after almost a year. The horn growth was too low compared to the abrasion (despite the use of hoof boots) and it became more and more flat, especially in the area of the heels, and ran sensitively. She walked barefoot on the back for many years and that worked well, but it didn't work on the front. Over the years we have tried different irons (plastic and aluminum). Especially in the last year the horn quality (certainly also due to the weather) suffered a lot. In addition, there was very poor growth and a few lost irons (of course including a broken horn), which meant that there was hardly any opportunity to attach conventional horseshoes. Originally my idea (also based on previous experience from a few years ago) was to leave the Goodsmith on the hoof for 24 hours in order to have constant hoof protection. In the meantime, I only use it as a temporary hoof protection, since Sureña can largely get by without it (on the paddock and in the box she stands barefoot, in training she walks with the Goodsmith).
Assembly: The first assembly was done by my blacksmith together with the guys from Goodsmith. Since then, new adjustments, changes, etc. have been carried out by my blacksmith alone. One point that many are skeptical about is the effects of the glue on the hoof horn, because the Velcro pads remain permanently on the hoof. We've changed the Velcro pads a few times now. The longest period the Velcro pads were on my mare's hoof was 6 weeks. The surface structure of the horn has not changed due to the pads. I haven't noticed any negative effects so far.
Dressing and undressing takes a little longer at first until you use the handles to put them on correctly. In my view, however, this is purely routine. With a few extra tricks and tweaks you can get faster. It now takes a few minutes to put on and take off.
On gait behavior: During the first training sessions, it was clearly noticeable that Sureña had to get used to the Goodsmith; she stumbled more often because she 'let her toe stand' and she repeatedly grabbed the Goodsmith with her hindquarters. Exactly what was supposed to happen happened: the rear Velcro straps of the Goodsmith separated from the Velcro on the hoof, but the hoof remained intact. A huge advantage compared to breaking out the walls when an iron is otherwise trodden away. We got the problem of reaching in under control by using bell boots.
Despite the first difficulties, I was generally impressed by her walking behavior, because she liked kicking and even coarse gravel, which we have on some of the paths at the stable, didn't bother her. After the first adjustment phase, the gait pattern changed, she took up space and came off the shoulder well.
That was something that made me stick with the Goodsmith even during the initial difficulties during the test phase: my mare liked to walk with it. Technical difficulties can be overcome (with the right support and a little persistence) and in my opinion it was worthwhile to keep trying.
Over the months that I've been testing the Goodsmith, quite a few things have changed in the product. In the first version, the velcros partially detached from the straps. This was completely fixed in the next version. In the latest version, which we have had for a few weeks, the rear lugs are significantly wider and the connection of the lugs to the base plate has been changed again. The rear straps in particular bear a major part of the load during movement. From my point of view, this new change brings a massive improvement in terms of stability and flexibility at the same time.
For cleaning: Like many others, I was quite skeptical about cleaning the Velcro. In my experience, the Goodsmith is extremely easy to keep clean. For me, two different approaches to cleaning have proven their worth: If the Velcro pads are soiled with hay/straw or dried dirt, I use a Velcro brush. This means that the pads can be cleaned in just a few simple steps. Tip: Use a Velcro brush that is as small as possible, e.g. from dog supplies, so that you can get to all areas. If the mud is still damp, a jet of water is enough to wash out the pads; I use a hard water jet and don't even need an additional root brush.
My conclusion: From my point of view, Sureña's hooves have never looked so good. The hoof shape has changed positively and growth has improved significantly. A big advantage of the Velcro system is that you always have access to the hoof, which makes hoof care much easier. In addition to these positive effects on the hoof itself, Sureña walks very well with the Goodsmith, no matter what the surface. I want the team I would like to take this opportunity to once again offer a big compliment. They have understood how to incorporate criticism and suggestions (both from my blacksmith and from me) into their work and thus to further advance and improve the Goodsmith. Every problem was taken seriously and I always had feedback within a short time if questions or difficulties arose.