- New development made from elastomer wins equine “Innovation Pferd” award
- Innovative material offers the elasticity needed to suit a horse’s hoof
- Excellent comfort promotes a natural gait and relieves strain on joints
Hanover, January 2018. From an elegant trot to a full speed gallop, equestrian enthusiasts love the movement associated with riding on horseback. The key element for helping riders to have fun is ensuring that the animal has a steady gait on any surface. To support horses’ hooves, ContiTech has worked with turfcord to get ready for production a new type of protection. Now, the innovative turfcord solution, available since mid-October 2017, has won the equine “Innovation Pferd” award at the Pferd & Jagd exhibition for the equestrian and hunting industries.
This new product is the result of in-depth development that will revolutionize the work of farriers. Unlike other elastomer-based hoof protectors, turfcord remains affixed to the hoof for up to eight weeks rather than being just a temporary solution. It is also different from standard horseshoes, which have been protecting horses’ hooves against excessive strain for more than 1,000 years. Due to the heavy material used, the conventional metal horseshoe changes the animal’s gait, and the rigid protection means that the hoof can no longer perform its cushioning function. At the same time, a horseshoe decreases stride length by roughly ten percent. Another disadvantage is that the metal is pinned directly to the hoof with special nails. That is not only a laborious procedure for the farrier, but also pure stress for the horse. Nailing on the shoe damages the horny layer of the hoof. This prevents the hoof from growing healthily during the six to eight weeks for which the shoe is worn.
“It was important to us to create an alternative to horseshoes that would provide lasting protection for hooves without all these drawbacks,” comments Erich Buschmann from turfcord. “Thanks to some hard work in development, we have now attained this objective. The whole team is proud of the fact that turfcord’s potential has been recognized and honored with this award.”
The Continental training workshop in Korbach has spent years assisting turfcord in development. The innovative hoof protection is manufactured by ContiTech at its location in the Stöcken area of Hanover. “With our expertise in production and elastomers, we have been able to carry out further optimizations to turfcord to make it ready for production,” explains Kai Frühauf, head of ContiTech Vibration Control.
Hoof protection from turfcord is available in two designs for front and rear hooves, each in twelve sizes. Farriers can apply it to hooves, using a special adhesive, during regular hoof-trimming sessions. While carrying out normal trimming work, they can remove it painlessly with pincers and a rasp and then replace it. The exhausting work of nailing on shoes, which is quite an ordeal, especially for sensitive animals, can be dispensed with entirely. The protection can be worn for six to eight weeks and will even expand with the hoof during this time. Because the material is lightweight and absorbs shocks, it relieves strain on the horse’s joints. “This means that we can make the horse feel as though it isn’t wearing shoes at all,” says Buschmann.
From an Idea to Award-Winning Product
Hoof protection from turfcord impressed the panel at the most recent Pferd & Jagd exhibition for the equestrian and hunting industries, taking home the equine “Innovation Pferd” product award. We interviewed Erich Buschmann from turfcord to find out how this new winning product came to be developed.
Mr. Buschmann, what was the idea behind your development?
With turfcord, we wanted to create an entirely new kind of hoof protection – one that would serve the same function as horseshoes but without the accompanying downsides for horses’ walking characteristics and hoof health. This gave my son-in-law Joachim Küster and me an opportunity to pool our separate areas of expertise. As a farrier, he has many years of practical experience in protecting the hooves of horses. I, meanwhile, have worked for many years in operational management for car tires at Continental. We found another backer in Martin Lang, who contributed his knowledge as a toolmaker. This line-up produced the idea for turfcord, which we have now made ready for production in collaboration with Continental.
Why was Continental the right partner for this assignment?
In Continental, we have found a strong partner that has spent years supporting us in pursuing our project. It was only the company’s expertise in elastomers in relation to the manufacture of molded products that enabled us to release turfcord as such a high-quality product in October 2017. Working with the ContiTech division in the Stöcken area of Hanover also meant that we could fulfill our aim of having turfcord produced exclusively in Germany. Of course, my personal link to the company played a part as well. That was why I knew about the historical connection between Continental and the subject of hoof protection, which accounted for one of the technology company’s very first products. Consequently, our turfcord product has its own links to industrial history, and is revitalizing it.
Who can use turfcord?
To ensure that our product is handled professionally, and therefore that customers are satisfied, we are initially selling our hoof protection only via officially accredited and licensed farriers. We offer them training and advanced courses in order to convey the necessary expertise.
What are your plans for this innovative hoof protection?
We are currently getting sales under way in Germany, working closely with our retail partner Ernst Niemerg in Münster. However, we envisage a lot of potential for turfcord internationally as well.