Penny-wise, Pound-foolish? Why non-approved products should be avoided When Aiming For FormaHoof Applications, for your horse’s sake.
‘What the fool does in the end, the wise do at the beginning”
...is a proverb that we believe in. Quite simply, when it comes to your horse’s well-being and long-term soundness, it’s important to get things right from the start. And this means using authentic, tried, tested and trusted FormaHoof products, to get the perfect FormaHoof application.
Our CEO, Alexander Papantonio, explains why…
The writing of this article has been prompted by the observed rise in damage suffered by FormaHoof customers and horse owners as a result of the use of non-approved 3rd party products to perform FormaHoof applications. The horse owner often does not notice that 3rd party products are used during an application, so we believe it is important to explain why FormaHoof products are part of a process, rather than a single interchangeable product.
Traditional horseshoeing is saturated with options when it comes to which horseshoe to use, and often the differentiator between brands comes down to the quality of material and personal preference of the professional. It is therefore easy to jump from brand to brand based on price and what is easily available which fits the purpose.
FormaHoof, on the other hand, has been designed and manufactured from the ground up to work as a system rather than a set of single interchangeable products. This means that each component is specifically designed to serve a particular function, and therefore is not interchangeable, because the final result will not be as anticipated.
During our 2-year incubation period prior to the launch of the product we went through hundreds of iterations on the design of FormaHoof moulds and of the correct formulation of the AP polymer material to best fit with the moulds. The AP polymer needed not be too adhesivewhilst also needing to flex and move whilst on the hoof, much in the same way as a natural hoof would.
The engineered “flexing” of the FormaHoof AP polymer to mimic a natural hoof structure is extremely important to the overall rehabilitation process of the hoof. A material that is too rigid, or that resembles a cast, magnifies the strain on fractures or damaged structures of the hoof, as the weight of the horse is directed to these “weak” areas, instead of the application spreading the weight evenly and outwards over the 3D structure that the FormaHoof application is designed to perform.
Additionally, one of the key benefits of FormaHoof applications is that they allow the horse to go back into active work, almost immediately after the application has been applied. If discomfort results from the wrong material being used, this unique benefit of FormaHoof will no longer apply, leading to a reduction in the positive returns that are possible by the investment in a FormaHoof system, and so creating a further false economy.
Therefore, FormaHoof is a system, or process, and has been designed to work as one. Changing one of the components of this process often has highly unpredictable results. This is similar to if you were to drastically change one of the ingredients in a cooking recipe, you would be unsure of the result until you tested it. This type of swap when affecting the wellbeing of the horse should not be taken lightly. There are cases where owners have had to seek legal remedies from applicators that have negligently damaged the hooves of their horses by essentially experimenting on the horse.
During the rehab process for complex hoof damage cases such as the presence of Laminitis, White Line Disease, or hoof cracks, where FormaHoof is most beneficial to the horse – the use of the correct materials becomes even more important. The FormaHoof AP polymer is specifically designed not to be too adhesive, because if this were the case, the damaged portion of the hoof would be at risk of further extensive damage during the removal process. Some polymers on the market that are designed to work with glue-ons are especially adhesive for this purpose. In contrast, the FormaHoof application relies on the bell-shape of the 3D application to remain attached to the hoof.
Imagine, if you will, the situation where the applicator detaches part of the hoof capsule on a horse with Laminitis during the removal process. We have seen this happen, and it led to extreme discomfort and pain for the horse and a complete breakdown of the relationship between applicator and owner. All for the sake of 10 USD per foot. The ensuing bill for correction was in the thousands of USD, meaning that the use of the non-tested product was a complete false economy, not to mention the pain and suffering caused to the poor horse! A bad result often leads owners to stop using the FormaHoof product, missing out on all the benefits it offers and returning the horse to stage one of its rehab or recovery journey.
Another observable disadvantage of using untested polymers is the application duration. Some products will wear out faster than the FormaHoof AP, meaning that owners need to change applications more frequently. Some products may be too rigid and not flex enough, leading to lameness and discomfort for the horse. It is impossible to judge the results of untested materials, and often dangerous to perform a live test on a horse.
We are continuously investing in R&D for all the products in the FormaHoof range, but we have strict quality control protocols in place that ensure once a product is released, it is both safe and beneficial to the horse. Because we understand the engineering behind our products, it is easy for us to evaluate the results and give such assurances.
In conclusion, we implore our customers to ensure they ask before an application if original FormaHoof products will be used. If cost is an issue, we recommend that owners purchase their own supply of polymer to ensure the quality of result and that you are always receiving the maximum benefit our of the system. By keeping your own polymer on hand, you can avoid professionals from charging a markup on FormaHoof supplies, and simply instead pay for the time taken to trim the hoof and apply the FormaHoof.
The FormaHoof team is always happy to assist in cases where owners may suspect that applications have not been performed, based on our approved guidelines. The correct application process is described in detail in the FormaHoof Academy, which we highly recommend for applicators that would like to be certified as official FormaHoof applicators.
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Learn FormaHoof insights here
The FCA course in the FormaHoof Academy is set to give equine podiatry professionals the option of adding certified high-quality FormaHoof services to their business. Nevertheless, the course is open to everyone and owners can gain helpful insights in the usage of FormaHoof and learn with their trusted farrier, trimmer or vet, how to get started.