Description: Plastic horseshoes? The same high-tech plastics that go into human sports equipment are used in these state-of-the-art horse hoof protectors. Nail holes are "slotted" so that your farrier can pitch the nails at the correct angle on thin-walled or thick-walled horse hooves.
Options: The EasyWalker comes in a "summer" model that's open in the center, and a "winter" one-piece pad and shoe with a self-cleaning, anti-snow rim. Three optional clips and screw-in studs are designed for custom fit and traction.
The test: Horse Hoofcare & Lameness Journal publisher Fran Jurga had the horseshoes farrier-tested on work horses on Long Island, New York, and in New York City that pound hard ground daily. Farrier Gary Werner of Smithtown, New York, found the shoes of particular benefit on horses with low-grade lameness or foot problems, such as ringbone (a degenerative foot condition). Werner found the horses responded to the plastic's shock-absorption capability. The wear was about the same as a conventional steel shoe, but testers reported that the horses seemed more comfortable and free-moving.
On the trail: This horseshoe - newly introduced in the United States - still needs rigorous trail testing. However, its shock-absorption features appear to be well-suited for trail terrain, especially on hard-packed ground. The winter model, with its anti-snow rim, would be especially suited for riding on snow and ice.
Cost: $22 to $25 per pair, depending on model, in five sizes to fit most horses.
Contact: EasyWalker USA, LLC; (866) WALK-EASY; www.easywalkerhorseshoes.com.