Chapel Forge Farriers has been the trailblazer for the use of copper coated shoes and nails. The group practice based in Lambourn has 20 farriers working almost exclusively on racehorses and for breeding studs, and is considered to be the largest practice in Europe.
2017 proved to be a big success for Chapel Forge with the copper shoes, used with yearlings at the annual October Tattersalls sales, Group 1 winners and a Breeders Cup contender in the USA. The shoes were a custom order via Stromsholm retail store in Lambourn, Berkshire.
One story concerns the 2017 Breeders Cup contender Decorated Knight trained by Roger Charlton at Beckhampton, the first horse to race in the meeting with the new copper plated shoes. ‘A new and interesting innovation’ reported Fran.
The horse, a son of Galileo, was ahead of his time by wearing these shoes, and headed to California and the Breeders Cup Turf after winning the Group 1 Quipco Champion Stakes. The horse had no problems to overcome and did not need any special treatment, but these shoes are more about helping the condition of the feet.
The Incas first used these shoes for the invading Spanish Conquistadors horses as they had no iron. Under Chapel Forge’s management they were used to enhance performance and protect the feet from the type of ground at the Breeders Cup, ie - ‘dirt’. The copper coating known as ‘CU shield’ also helps to protect the foot surface from the aluminium which can oxidize and eat into the hoof wall, causing infections and white line disease.
Now the shoes are more commonly used and have been seen in Dubai and Chapel Forge also shod Battaash last year when winning the Prix De L’Abbaye at Longchamps. Chapel Forge also has received many requests to use the shoes at this years Tattersalls 2018 sales, mainly for the ‘bling factor’!!
Expect to see more of the ‘flashing copper’ as the horses race by at future meetings all over the world!!
Extracts from the Forge magazine including reports by Fran Jurga – from the ‘Hoof Blog’