The Horse Whisperers

Metal Horseshoes a Thing of the Past: ContiTech and turfcord Develop Innovative Elastomer Hoof Protection.

For many, the greatest happiness on earth can be found on horseback. However, for the animals, regular shoeing is often extremely stressful. The classic horseshoes made of metal, which have been used for more than 1,000 years, not only alter the gait of the horse as the hoof can no longer perform its cushioning function, but they also reduce a horse’s stride length by around ten percent. In addition, the metal is nailed to the hoof with special nails, which damages the horny layer and prevents the hoof from growing healthily for up to eight weeks, the length of time that the shoe is worn. ContiTech and turfcord GmbH have now created an animal-friendly alternative and brought an innovative new development in elastomer hoof protection to the market: “turfcord”.

18-02-16_fruehauf-(1).jpg Kai Frühauf has been in charge of the ContiTech Vibration Control business unit since November 2003:

“With our expertise in production and elastomers, we have been able to carry out further optimizations on turfcord to make it ready for production.”


Improved Hoof Health with “turfcord“

The Horse Whisperers

In particular, the new permanent horseshoe ensures elasticity to suit the hoof, provides horses with greater wearing comfort and relieves the strain on their joints. Moreover, as riders know, a healthy and protected hoof ensures a secure footing on any surface and, therefore, more carefree riding enjoyment.

With constant support from the Continental training workshop in Korbach, developer Erich Buschmann from turfcord has put some ten years of work into the product. The contact came about as the result of a personal connection. The qualified engineer, who expanded his development team with farrier Joachim Küster and tool maker Martin Lang, used to work at Continental. His previous employer helped bring the product to production maturity. As they attach great importance to the “Made in Germany” label, the developers of “turfcord” now have the product manufactured at the Hanover-Stöcken location.

Like Running “Bare Hoof”

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Erich Buschmann (left), Martin Lang and Joachim Küster receive the Innovation Pferd product award at the Pferd & Jagd exhibition.

Unlike other elastomer hoof protectors, “turfcord” remains affixed to the hoof for up to eight weeks and even expands with the hoof during this time. It is currently available in two designs for the front and rear hooves, each in twelve sizes. Farriers can apply it to hooves using a special adhesive during regular hoof-trimming sessions, remove it again painlessly with pliers and a rasp and then renew it. The material is lightweight and shock-absorbing, relieves strain on the horse’s joints and makes it feel as though it is not wearing horseshoes at all.

To ensure the product is handled professionally, turfcord is initially selling its product only via officially recognized farriers and also providing them with training. In future, however, sales will also extend beyond Germany as we envisage a lot of potential for turfcord internationally.

18-02-16_buschmann-(1).jpg Erich Buschmann from turfcord, the qualified engineer, who previously worked at Continental AG, developed the hoof protection together with Joachim Küster and Martin Lang.

“It was important to us to create an alternative to horseshoes that would provide lasting protection for hooves without the drawbacks”.


From Hoof Buffer to “turfcord”

With “turfcord”, ContiTech is returning to its roots. It is no coincidence that the company has a horse in its emblem. Shortly after it was founded in 1871, Continental – today a global corporation – was focused on horse hooves instead of horsepower. Sales of “horse buffers” – rubber inserts for horseshoes, which were intended to stop horses slipping on snow and ice – were extremely successful. The anti-slip soles for horses were hugely successful and a permanent fixture of the product range for 40 years. Thanks to the inclusion of “turfcord” in its range, the link to horses is no longer just of a symbolic nature for Continental.

“turfcord” has won the equine “Innovation Pferd” product award at the Pferd & Jagd trade fair for the equestrian and hunting industries.

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