Valmoon feels comfortable everywhere – on open country, in arenas or on cobbles. He gallops with horse sharer Silvia Wille across the fields, follows her instructions in sand and rides on asphalt without problem. But it hasn’t always been like that. The stallion has brittle hooves. “Whenever he was shod with metal shoes, some of his dry horn would break off,” says owner Nicole Niggemeier. “The hoof got narrower from one shoeing to the next. So we urgently looked for an alternative.
Fortuitous encounter with a happy ending
As luck would have it, Nicole Niggemeier was walking across a supermarket car park in her home town of Paderborn, Germany when she saw an advert on a parked car for a hoof guard made of rubber: turfcord. She’d heard of it before. It was what she was looking for. She’s very familiar with the equine world. Her family has owned horses and ponies for 52 years. She currently has four horses on her farm. All of them had been shod with metal shoes up till now. Not an option for Valmoon. “Then I saw the picture on the car and thought, ‘That’s my chance!’
||Jens Schwinger, project manager at Continental:
“Every time the hoof strikes the ground, the elastomer adapts easily and flexibly to the hoof. This allows the hoof to extend naturally. That’s the particular feature of the material properties.”
First turfcord fitting in front of a large audience
She only had to wait a few minutes before Erich Buschmann from turfcord came around the corner. “Ms. Niggemeier outlined the problem to us and asked about the turfcord guard,” says Buschmann. “As soon as I had briefly explained the product and its features to her, she was determined to give it a trial.” Niggemeier traveled to Münster with her stallion to see Buschmann’s son-in-law, Joachim Küster. Here the farrier performs certification courses for the turfcord at the Niermg oHG. Valmoon was fitted with his first pair of turfcords on his fore hooves in front of 18 apprentices. “He was rather stressed,” says Niggemeier. “Initially because of the journey there, but also because there were so many farriers standing around him.” But the effort was all worthwhile. The owner looks at her horse and says: “His gait has completely changed. You can tell immediately that he feels comfortable.
Quick recovery thanks to rubber hoof guard
His hoof has now completely grown back. “Every time the hoof strikes the ground, the flexible elastomer stretches easily. This allows the hoof to extend naturally with every step,” declares Jens Schwinger, the project manager at Continental. Even when the rubber hoof guard is removed, the dry horn does not break off as it used to. “We’re just happy to have found a solution for Valmoon,” says Niggemeier. “Even jumping on uneven ground is no longer a problem.