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dressage horses in eponas

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  • dressage horses in eponas

    I've put my 17h 1450# dressage horse into Eponas. After $9k of vet bills to repair joint inflammation that most likely was caused by less than ideal hoof conformation and blood circulation treated with isoxoprine daily and every supplement and feeding regiment documented to assist joint/bone/hoof health and confirmed by blood levels to therapeutic levels and xrays and ultrasound to visualize the corrections I decided to take the next big step and treat those underrun heels and thin flat soles.

    He allways presented with "sensitive" soles and during the summer his hoof wall would break apart putting us at 3 week shoeings. The final breaking point was a sprained collateral ligament on a misstep on a grass warmup last summer suspicious of his unbalanced hooves. My latest attempt for pads and the vettec pink bottle sole cushion gave us 2 good shoeings and then lameness after shoeing lasting 1 week...after 2 attempts gave up on the conventional and went to eponas. I have a sound horse now and want to keep him that way.

    Looking for feedback on folks who USE EPONAS for their competition horses. Likes/dislikes and observations are welcome.

    Thanks in advance for sharing

  • #2
    I have used Eponas on several CLIENT'S competing and training dressage horses over the years. So far, it always is the same pattern. They want Eponas, we try them. Things are great. Then eventually the expense and logistics bring us back to steel shoes and all seems well.
    Scott Gregory
    (513) 678-9877


    • Original Poster

      I was paying 280 for 4 steels with pads up front. This first epona shoeing was 230 with eponas up front and equicast behind.....trying to trans to barefoot behind as horse moves much better behind now with sig increased range of motion. Stifles were iraped as well as front coffins and vet suggested to remove hind shoes to give the boy a rest and see how he looked...looks much better. Will add eponas if I have to. 4 eponas will be about 300 if I can't reset which I'm hoping we can at least once. Cost is not a player in this decision.

      How did those horses move in the eponas? The theory for my horse is he should free up his shoulder once he feels more confidence in a better breakover....


      • #4
        Originally posted by alveoli View Post
        IHow did those horses move in the eponas? The theory for my horse is he should free up his shoulder once he feels more confidence in a better breakover....
        Why do you think eponas would increase breakover? I can put breakover where ever I want with steel.

        As to using eponas I personally wouldn't use any of the synthetics on a horse over 1200lbs way to flexible in my experiance. Great for concussion not so great for support with the bigger horses.


        • #5
          I have used them in front with my 2nd level mare, and I love them for her. She's about 15.3h, 1100lb or so (she's a TANK). They really improve her movement since she's built a hair downhill, and the thickness of the Eponas help that out a ton. I use Vibram pads for a hair more height.

          I shoe her myself, and she used the same pair of shoes for 2.5 years until she lost one of them on the road. They just never really wore on her past the very slight rounding of the toe.

          However, she was never lame at all. Even at 21, she's very very sound. She gets 1/3 dose of Grand HA and that's it.

          However, I have been trying to use them on my Arab gelding for 6 months now, and they just don't cut it for him. He's quite short-backed, and he steps them off so easily. He broke one last week, leaving the front half of the shoe firmly attacked to the hoof. No clue where the back half ended up. The shoes are just plain too long for him, and they cannot be shortened enough without hitting that gel pad. So he's going into Equiflex NB shoes very soon. He's always been sound too though.

          To me the advantage of Eponas or other plastic shoes is that I can apply them myself. I don't have a forge, and I'm a wimp, so shaping metal shoes is just out. The other plus is that they give a slightly downhill horse a height boost in the front, which can make collection easier for them. Of course this only works if they are barefoot or in a plain metal shoe behind.


          • #6
            I do. My horse is a 15.2h TB, 1100# (he's got BONE) 18yrs old schooling 3rd level. I trim him and apply the eponas myself on a 4.5 week schedule.
            My horse is sound barefoot, and I fork out the $60 of COST (no labor cost since I apply myself) because the amount of his confidence in his feet for extended gaits and his sit factor drastically increases. As in gait scores increase by 1-2 points!
            They get great traction on all surfaces, and hold up for 2 resets. In addition to dressage (our main focus) we also road hack, jump, field gallop on turf, and trot gravel roads.

            some will come on here and grumble that you don't need them.... so what. your goal is to have a sound and happy horse. Keep that in mind Eponas could be your answer.
            chaque pas est fait ensemble


            • #7
              I used them on my 17.2hh, 1600# Hano gelding. He's a former GP dressage horse and is now an eventer and jumper.

              I liked the shoes overall but I could NOT keep them on him. His hoof is more oval than round and it wasn't possible to shape the shoe enough to keep him from grabbing them off even though 2 pairs of bell boots. he ended up pulling them so much that he really trashed his front feet. He wasn't lame before I put them on him but he was NQR for a bit after so much trauma to the feet.

              I think they're a great idea and if I could find a shoe that will fit his feet better, I would go back to them.


              • #8
                Great in theory, not so much in practice.


                • #9
                  I have my gelding in front eponas with the hoof packing after being diagnosed with Navicular syndrome. he's done well with them although I am going to try to take him back barefoot and see if he can handle it.


                  • Original Poster

                    thanks for the feedback keep it coming

                    so encouraging!! thanks for the replies.

                    Dune can you elaborate?

                    I've had the issue too with my guy that in the lengthenings and medium trot he looked like he was just holding back a bit....the physical therapist indicates this is because he lacked confidence in his balance due to his front feet being NQR. Canter never seemed to be a issue though. He got these Friday, had the weekend to get used to them and today I will lunge(no side reins) and ride long and low just to see how he feels US in them. Wednesday we get back to work and I'll have a better idea. Does anyone have opinions on how long it should take a horse to get comfortable in these? am I overanalyzing?


                    • #11
                      My 16.3 Perch/ASB gelding has been wearing synthetics for almost 4 months. He has histories of a coffin fracture (RH) and a torn DDFT (LH) when in steel shoes.

                      We began using Equiflex shoes in size 5, but after 6 weeks, the hooves had expanded too much to use again (and they don't make a larger size). We just switched to Easywalkers (150mm) 2 weeks ago. So far, they seem good--supportive and allow the hoof to flex naturally over uneven terrain. I also like the adjustable side clips for lateral stability. So far, both of these brands worked well on both grass and in the arena.

                      My farrier and I considered the Eponas too, but they don't have clips (without using casting tape), and my guy's crappy hoof walls need the shear forces distributed on both nails and clips.

                      Good luck!


                      • #12
                        I just applied my horse's first set of the season and he just spent the last 20 minutes romping and playing with some seriously gorgeous movement. He hasn't had them on all winter, so I'd say the results are pretty instantaneous.
                        chaque pas est fait ensemble


                        • #13
                          I always gave the mare a day to get used to them when I would put them back on after a few days off, but more for my mental well-being than hers.

                          Action 42, try the Equiflex. They look like they can be shortened and shaped a bit more than the Eponas allow. They let you drill the nail holes anywhere, and there itn't anything sticking out behind the hoof. They also have different patterns for different shapes of hooves.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
                            Action 42, try the Equiflex. They look like they can be shortened and shaped a bit more than the Eponas allow. They let you drill the nail holes anywhere, and there itn't anything sticking out behind the hoof. They also have different patterns for different shapes of hooves.
                            I absolutely LOVED the flexibility and fitting options of the Equiflex, and would not have changed if their size 5's were as big as a standard size 4. Christoph and Dian are great to work with.


                            • #15
                              I thought you can shorten Eponas with your nipper.
                              My horse is 1500# wearing the largest epona 5w. I started with glue and casting and he is plain old nailed all around after 4th set.
                              They have stayed on in the snow and he started feeling good in eponas day one.
                              I did notice some exploration with balance and transitions. Years of muscle compensation can't be undone in a week.
                              But his legs and joints look fabulous. Vet had previously said he was "getting that age" but he got a second chance in Eponas I dare say!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by 17Rider View Post
                                I thought you can shorten Eponas with your nipper.
                                to a point, yes. but if you have to shorten them so much that you cut into the gel pad, not so much. so if the horse has wide hooves relative to the length, and tends to overtrack quite a bit, then the Eponas sometimes can't be made to work. if they made them a bit less long, because I've yet to see a horse that needs all that length, they would probably work for more horses. Even my mare with a more oval hoof takes 0W and they are a hair too long for her. the gelding in question has pretty normal round hooves, it's not like he's a freak of nature. given how far back they want you to set them to get the breakover right, the shoes are just plain too long for a horse with truly round hooves.


                                • #17
                                  Wasnt it Ravel that used to wear eponas or something similar? Or one of Steffen Peters other horses?


                                  • #18
                                    I had a client that had a blacksmith that is the only thing she'd put on a horse. Her horse was a nice sized animal but had great foot in quality and size...he didn't need them at all. He was in work but only as a Intro Dressage for Part-Arabs. It was a serious not needed expense. Have I seen them help horses with chronic problems, absolutely YES. But that blacksmith was NOT a Certified Farrier, never took any Farrier Courses other than attending an EPONA clinic. And in my opinion was praying on inexperienced, uneducated horse owners. Like most products in the Horse World they are quite effective when used for the correct purpose. Yes Ravel and a few other horses of Steffen's are in them but those FEI GP Horses are in serious training & competitions and those legs take a lot of work.


                                    • #19
                                      Inexperienced and uneducated ?
                                      does not describe the research behind and design of the Epona shoe....by 15 miles.

                                      Horse owners Aren't blind either... How ridiculously silly and I spilled my coffee.


                                      • #20
                                        I just finished putting the Equiflex NB shoes on my gelding, and they are a ton easier to put on than the Eponas. I left the clips on, but for some horses they clips might have to come off to get the shoe to fit. The front half of the shoe doesn't really adjust too much with the different bridges. However, I really like the nail channels They are so much better than the Ground Controls or the Eponas. You drill a small pilot hole where you want to put the nail, and it's perfectly placed. They also fit a good bit shorter than the Eponas, even though I have them set pretty far back. They are much more normal in shape.

                                        They could be used without packing too.

                                        I think I'm going to keep the mare in Eponas for now though, since she's done so well in them.