Curtis Burns inventor of the NoAnvil Shoe
Innovative design offers shoeing option when going barefoot doesn’t work, may aid some hoof disorders...
After a hoof injury forced a racing filly to go barefoot to recuperate, her training eventually resumed. As she progressed in training barefoot, this flat-footed filly was wearing down hoof wall rapidly and could potentially become footsore. She needed to be shod. After a couple of days with shoes she was sore again; it looked like the crack from the old injury was trying to split open. I removed the shoes and she was sound immediately.
After several attempts of different therapeutic types of shoes (bar shoe, three-quartered shoe) and patching the crack, the only time the filly was 100% sound was in between shoeings when she was barefoot.
I made a custom pair of shoes for her by shaping aluminum shoes for her front feet, then used the shoes to make two molds into which I poured Polyurethane with hardness and flexibility estimated to compare to the composition of the hoof. I glued the shoes on, which was the only possible method of attachment for this horse.
The filly responded extremely well to the prototype and continued to train soundly without heel soreness from the old injury. I monitored the filly’s progress and was intrigued to find the shoe was wearing down more in the area of her right inside quarter, where the original injury had occurred.
The previous trauma to the heel area must have been stimulating the extra growth (nature’s way of healing, increased circulation, therefore exaggerated growth). The shoe had the effect of “self leveling.”
This shoe was the answer to the condition of “jammed up” heels which, in many cases, could lead to quarter cracks. With its likeness to the composition of the hoof, it could also substantially reduce concussion. The shoe has to be glued on; with the elimination of nails, further benefits of stronger and healthier horn regeneration are achieved.
The filly of the case study was able to continue her racing campaign without further setbacks and went on to win after the second shoeing with the prototype.
Presently these shoes (dubbed Polyflex shoes) have proven successful with:
• contracted heels
• club feet
• horses with brittle, shelly hoof walls
• large horses with small feet
Horses who have slow hoof growth benefit as the Polyflex shoes maintain their integrity over extended periods giving the hoof a chance to grow. I have achieved improvement with two Navicular cases; however, I have not had the opportunity to work on more case studies to determine a pattern.
My specialty lies in the horse racing business which is where I have concentrated the use and development of the shoe. To date, horses wearing the Polyflex shoes have won at 24 different racetracks across America over dirt – fast and sloppy conditions, all weather track and turf.
The Polyflex shoes have helped some foot issues I was not expecting it to help. It is not designed to improve all foot ailments and should be used only in the appropriate circumstances.
Curtis J. Burns has been shoeing race horses in 8 states for 13 years. He began his career in the racing industry 28 years ago in the Midwest where he rode Quarter horse and Thoroughbred races. Prior to shoeing full time he trained race horses on the East Coast, including stakes winner Phantom Finn. He shod the horses under his care, preceded by Polo ponies during winters at Aiken, SC. For more info about his no-anvil Polyflex shoe, visit www.noanvil.com