Groundbreaking milestone in the history of the development of horseshoes. A remarkable new chapter in the history of horseshoes has been written by Master Australian Farrier, Steve Costin, with the creation of this groundbreaking plastic horseshoe – the Costin Horseshoe.
As you may have read on our About Us webpage, the Costin Horseshoe is the result of 15 years of dogged Aussie determination and persistence by Master Farrier, Steve Costin and his unwavering commitment to assist a good mare, suffering from laminitis, whose owner was unable to afford veterinarian treatment.
While Steve’s work all those years ago led to amazing outcomes for that laminitic mare, Costin Horseshoes emphasis that their horseshoe is not designed for laminitic horses and that it is not an orthopaedic horseshoe. However, Steve’s work has led to the discovery of the many benefits realised by polyurethane horseshoes as a replacement for steel and aluminium shoes.
Let’s take a brief look at horseshoes throughout history to give Steve Costin’s work its due accolades.
Horses’ hooves were covered with leather and plants as far back as 2000 BC and there is also evidence that the Romans were using metal and leather horseshoes as early as the first century BC. In the 6th and 7th centuries BC, evidence shows horsemen in Europe nailing metal horseshoes to their horses’ hooves.
A little closer to ‘now’ and in 1000 AD, cast bronze horseshoes with nail holes were in use in Europe and the manufacture of iron horseshoes had become commonplace by the latter part of the Middle Ages.
First Signs of Non-Metal Emerge
It was the Chicago-based Fruin Drop Forge Company which are noted as emerging with ‘plastic’ horseshoes early in the 1900s when they made horseshoes coated in rubber. This was most likely in response to the cobbled stone streets and a measure to absorb concussion, indicating that the negative impact and effect of the combination of metal horseshoes and stone/hard surfaces was realised well before Steve Costin was even born.
These rubber-coated shoes apparently established a reputation for preventing horses from going lame and they achieved greater status when the Walt Disney Corporation bought the company in 1955 and the rubber-coated horseshoes were used for the 125 draft horses and mules at Disneyland.
Developments in the Modern Era
Proving that rubber horseshoes was no fairytale, for the past 60 years, different variations of plastic horseshoes have emerged onto the market to fairly mixed responses.
Being a Master Farrier, Steve Costin appreciated the advantages of plastic horseshoes but also identified the drawbacks in their design philosophy. He took action, addressed the issues to the point where we now have the revolutionary Costin Horseshoes. A horseshoe which has redefined the concept of plastic horseshoes with unique features and which is in a leading position to revolutionise both the process of shoeing horses in addition to other aspects within the equine industry.
The Costin Effect
Horseshoes have now entered the Costin era and the effects are reaching far beyond Steve’s home base in Australia. As mentioned several times throughout this website, Costin Horseshoes is not a horseshoe to fix problems. However, having stressed that fact, Costin has many testimonials and reports from highly reputed owners and trainers on the impressive results they are achieving with the Costin Horseshoe.
The Costin Horseshoe is designed to make the horse more comfortable which then delivers improved results across many applications including racing, trotting, competing or general recreational riding.
The difference can be seen after shoeing with the Costin Horseshoe and as Steve Costin himself has noted, it will make you contemplate what the horse was actually going through when previously using the steel or aluminium shoes.
Not designed for laminitic horses, not an orthopaedic shoe.
In regards to particularly shin soreness, consider what damage a horse suffers as a result of vibration and jarring in the early stages of work and how this damage must surely reduce their competing or racing life. Costin Horseshoes are designed to replace steel and aluminium shoes and to make a good horse even better.
“My development of the Costin Horseshoe started 15 years ago wheWhen I started using my shoe, I had no idea of its true potential. Some of the things it has done are hard to believe. If it only happened on one horse, I would say it was just luck. But I’m hearing it over and over again. On different horses and in different disciplines, the horses start winning immediately. I cannot promise that this will happen with every horse, but the Costin Horseshoe will certainly allow a horse to race or compete to its ability.”
View Steve’s video where he discusses how the Costin Horseshoe can benefit your horse. (VIDEOS)
The natural growth of a horse’s hoof is inhibited by steel horseshoes
Because it doesn’t restrict the natural movement of the hoof, the Costin Horseshoe allows natural growth, allowing the feel to grow naturally. As proof of this aspect, Steve Costin shod a horse with Costin Horseshoes on the front hooves and metal shoes on the rear hooves. In approximately 20 weeks which equated to four shoeing cycles, the metal-shod hooves did not change in size while the plastic-shod hooves increased in size from size 6 to size 8.
Steel horseshoes can cause sole punctures. A sole puncture can be caused when a horse pulls a steel shoe and steps onto the toe clip. This can be both not only dangerous but can signal the end of the horse’s career or even life.
Costin Horseshoes prevent this cause of sole punctures as the toe clip is made of polyurethane and as such, is far less likely to cause injury.
Steel horseshoes lack shock absorbing properties, and as such, their use can lead to concussion of the hoof, soreness and negative impact on joints.
Impact and concussion on horses’ hooves is significantly reduced by Costin Horseshoes as they are made from polyurethane which creates a cushioning effect. “The Polyurethane Horseshoe and its Positive Effects on Joints and Supplements” is a study published by the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, which supports Steve Costin’s own findings.
Steel horseshoes have a similar effect to a cast on a horse’s hoof, thus preventing the hoof from moving in front of the last nail hole.
Shin soreness has been seen to be dramatically lessened and improved with the Costin Horseshoe. Shin soreness is particularly prevalent in 2 year old horses and first time starters. Most owners are keen to get their horses prepared for the 2 year old races, but what holds many back is shin soreness. Steve Costin observes that many of those early races are won by the soundest not the fastest horse. His Costin Horseshoe is showing remarkable success in getting these young horses to the track to compete in the early races.
Horses generally spend a long time out spelling as a result of shin soreness, before they can be brought back into work. This is not only disappointing for the owners and trainers, it can also represent considerable expenditure.
Steve Costin has first-hand experience of horses that did not want to move forward and were showing behavioural problems, which he deduced was likely a result of sore feet or legs from jarring. When he shod them with Costin Horseshoes, they immediately improved. Initially, these results were quite unbelievable to both Steve and the horse owners. But after seeing it occur time after time, he knew it was a benefit of the Costin Horseshoe. As mentioned several times on this website, the damage a horse suffers as a result of vibration and jarring in the early stages of work and how this damage must surely reduce their competing or racing life.
Steel horseshoes are durable
Compared with conventional steel horseshoes, the Costin Horseshoe exhibits comparable durability, with a typical 4-6 week shoeing cycle.
Steel horseshoes are heavy in comparison to plastic horseshoes
The lighter weight of the Costin Horseshoe is an extremely appealing feature for many applications including thoroughbred, harness and endurance racing and competition. The lighter weight allows the horse to stride more easily. As Steve reminds his customers, “An ounce off the hoof is equal to a pound off the back.” The Costin Horseshoe weighs similarly to aluminium shoes while steel shoes weight three times greater.
Another point of note is that while racehorse trainers will use aluminium shoes for racing, as they don’t wear as well as steel shoes and hence are more expensive for normal use, they usually don’t use the aluminium outside racing. Also, it is considered that aluminium horseshoe do not absorb as much shock as steel horseshoes.
Steel horseshoes do not provide adequate traction and thus increase the risk of injury to rider and horse. This is particularly important on hard surfaces.
Increased traction is provided by Costin Horseshoes, thanks to their unique design. The design features result in less skidding, which allows the horse to move much more easily with the flow on effect of the rider enjoying greater confidence.
Farriers consider plastic horseshoes are too hard to fit, too time-consuming and increase labour costs
As a farrier with decades of experience, Steve Costin wholeheartedly agrees with farrier fraternity on this point in regard to conventional plastic horseshoes. Not surprisingly, this was a major priority throughout the design and development of the Costin Horseshoe, with the result being that this new horseshoe is easy to fit and actually saves time. The side clips and a toe clips along with fitting clips at the heal, facilitate the ease of fitting by holding the shoe in place for nailing. As they are plastic, the clips are then easily cut off when shoeing is finished. If you don’t believe what you’re reading, then view the fitting video to see Steve show you how east the process truly is. Shoeing with Costin Horseshoes can actually reduce the time by half!
Fitting steel shoes, making adjustments at the anvil is time-consuming
Fitting Costin Horseshoes does not require an anvil. As they are made from polyurethane, any excess is simply filed off when the nailing process is complete. There is a wide size range and you select the correct size by the width. View the video on how to measure the hoof to select the correct Costin Horseshoe size for your horse.
In developing the Costin Horseshoe, Steve Costin also addressed the expensive issue of conventional plastic shoes having to be glued rather than nailed. In addition to the expense, the glue has been shown to not last very long and also has the potential to cause harm to the hoof when the glue goes up the wall of the hoof, impacting the strength of the hoof. The wall of the hoof often presents with signs of breaking down.
To overcome this issue, Steve designed the Costin Horseshoe to be nailed with an option to glue if that is the farrier’s personal preference. Steve himself is not in favour of using glues, his preference is to nail the shoes.
Plastic horseshoes have a flaw in the design. This is the case where conventional plastic shoes have a bar at the rear of the shoe. This effectively defeats one of the major purposes of fitting plastic shoes as the bar itself restricts the movement of the shoe, causing many of the issues mentioned previously.
The design of the Costin Horseshoe eliminates this flaw. There is no bar in the Costin design, thus enabling movement.
Steel shoes are less expensive than plastic horseshoes
Another very important consideration which Steve and his business partners directly addressed in their business plan. The Costin Horseshoe present great value for money with competitive pricing to encourage the industry to use the Costin all the time and not just on special occasions. The business can offer competitive pricing by controlling the complete cycle from design, development, through the manufacture and through to the sales process.
Have we covered all your issues and considerations? Then there is just one to consider – what size Costin Horseshoes do you require for your horses?
Refer to our sizing chart then contact Gerard Fahey your Costin Horseshoes NZ distributor to discuss details and place your order
Contact Gerard Fahey
PHONE: 0800 463 475