HONG KONG HORSES – IF THE SHOE FITS!
Lucky 8 Racing is primarily a tipping service for Hong Kong horse racing and therefore relies on the horses being presented in top class condition for racing - right down to their shoes!
When a horse hits the racing surface at speed, it is the thoroughbred’s hooves that bear the concussion. Travelling at 35kmh or more, the average racehorse in standard racing plates has one tonne of vertical force concentrated on its front foot. Correct shoeing plays a vital part in managing this load and reducing stress on the limbs.
Just like human feet, horses’ hooves differ in size as well as predisposition to injury. In places such as Hong Kong where races are frequently held on different surfaces, track conditions and in extreme heat, proper hoof management is vital and farriers play a crucial role in this regard. Farriers have a deep knowledge of shoeing, particularly what is suitable and comfortable for a horse and they can even make special shoes if so required.
Some of the shoes that are used for race horses are; Bar Plates, Egg Bar Shoes, Half Aluminium Bar Pads, Glue-On Shoes and Concussion Plates.
Bar Plates: These are regular racing shoes with a full bar forged between the back extensions of the shoes, creating a continuous surface. This shoe prevents hoof cracks and other foot related injuries.
Egg Bar Plates: Generally, these special shoes are used for horses with quarter cracks, fractured coffin bones and sore or under-run heels. Egg bar shoes distribute weight over a larger circumference and are useful whenever foot stability is an issue.
Half Aluminium Bar Pads: These shoes are used to relieve pressure from the heel. They aid horses with sore heels as well as those with navicular disease and bruised frogs.
Glue-On Shoes: There are two types; glue-on tabs stuck to the side of the hoof wall and full glue-ons adhered to the hoof using a very strong bonding agent such as Equilox. These are useful on horses with thin hoof walls and horses that are chronically sore in the soles of their feet.
Concussion Plates: These contain an additional rim pad that many believe absorbs shock. They can be useful since the rim pad acts as a spacer and cushion between descending body weight and upward ground forces, reducing concussion.
Proper fitting of shoes can greatly improve a horse’s balance and soundness. It can also reduce the risk of developing corns, canker and other problems. The expertise of farrier’s and vets in contributing to regular monitoring and successful maintenance of the hooves throughout a horse’s life will result in a happier, sturdier and longer lasting animal, to the benefit of all.
Lucky 8 Racing knows only too well that the right racing shoes can make the difference between winning and losing for all concerned. As the saying goes - If the shoe fits, wear it.