Heavy Duty Horseshoes (HDS) — Draft Horse and Working Horseshoe — Improved Abrasion Resistance

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Heavy Duty Shoes – Horseshoes for Draft Horses and Those in Need of Improved Abrasion Resistance

Cold-blooded horses, carriage horses, pack horses, horses in police service, draft horses in forestry and agriculture, or even in the show industry; they all have one thing in common: they need a solid and above all durable horseshoe either due to their own body weight or the demands of their daily work.

The Requirements for Horseshoes for Draft Horses are Diverse:

  • The horseshoe should primarily protect the hoof.
  • The horseshoe should provide enough traction for the draft horse to be largely protected from slipping. Especially in a carriage team, the consequences can be devastating if a draft horse, for example, slips on cobblestone pavement in the city.
  • The risk of injury within the herd should be kept as low as possible.
  • Especially when the draft horse's musculoskeletal system is subjected to significant stress, the right balance of stability and shock absorption is crucial to protect tendons and ligaments.

For these requirements, we have developed particularly solid and abrasion resistant horseshoes, called 'Heavy Duty Shoes'. By the way, the Heavy Duty Shoes are not only intended for draft horses and working horses - they can also be a good alternative for anyone in need of improved abrasion resistance. If you're unsure whether the Heavy Duty Shoes would be an alternative for your individual situation, reach out to our team; we're happy to assist you.

Heavy Duty Shoe for draft horses in female hands

Special Features of our Heavy Duty Horseshoes:

  • In comparison to other horseshoes, the plastic coating on the bottom side of the Heavy Duty Shoes is approximately 0.5cm thicker. As a result, these horseshoes tend to be more durable even with extensive use. Therefore, they can also be a good alternative for other horses in need of especially abrasion resistant horseshoes.
  • With the hoof size, the draft horse's weight usually increases, thus adding stress to the horseshoe. For this reason, the metal core becomes increasingly sturdy with larger hoof sizes.
  • Cold-blooded horses typically have larger hooves, to ensure that also draft horses can benefit from the positive qualities of a urethane shoe with a metal core, the Heavy Duty Shoes are available in sizes up to 198mm.

The Particularly Solid Hoof Protection was Developed for the Following Horse Breeds or Equine Disciplines:

  1. Labor-intensive disciplines, such as:
    • Timber hauling, i.e., draft horses used in forestry for sustainable forest management.
    • Draft horses in agricultural work.
    • Draft horses for teams, for example, at folk festivals, parades, or tournaments.
    • Draft horses for carriages in urban transportation, such as the Fiaker in Vienna, or excursion carriages.
    • Police horses or horses of the mounted army, military cavalry.
    • Pack horses, for example, in Alpine crossings and long-distance trail rides.
    • and many more...
  2. The horse breeds predominantly used as draft horses, carriage horses, workhorses, in carriage driving (show), for agricultural tasks, or forestry work (as mentioned above) include breeds such as Gelderlander, Groninger, Hackney, Haflinger, Norfolk Trotter, Oldenburg, Irish Draught Horse, Suffolk Punch, and Trait du Nord.
  3. Cold-blooded horses, due to their weight or hoof size, pose specific requirements for hoof protection. Examples of such breeds include Ardennes, Auxois, Boulonnais, Brabant, Clydesdale, Freiberger, Jutland, Murgese, Dutch Draft, Noriker, Percheron, Belgian Ardennes, Posavina Horse, Black Forest Horse, Shire Horse, among others.
  4. In many areas, including horseshoes, the potential applications often become apparent later on. Heavy Duty Shoes are also commonly used outside of the cold-blooded, draft horse or working horse category when an exceptionally abrasion resistant horseshoe is needed.
A couple is driving a horse-drawn carriage across a bridge, and alongside them, an donkey is walking.

Our Product Line of Exceptionally Solid Horseshoes with Improved Abrasion Resistance

You can currently buy three different particularly solid horseshoe with improved abrasion resistance.
The horseshoes are available in sizes ranging from 118mm up to draft horse sizes. The largest size currently available is 198mm. Up to size 178mm, the difference between two consecutive sizes is 4mm, from size 182mm, it increases to 8mm.

Heavy Duty Shoes - This Product Line Includes 3 Models:

  • Clipped and profiled
  • Clipped, slighlty profiled with threaded inserts for the permanent use of smaller anti-skid cleats
  • Clipped Straight Bar Shoe, slighlty profiled with four stable threaded inserts, suitable for regular stud change a.k.a. Heavy Duty Shoe 'Traction'
Heavy Duty urethane horseshoe with and without threaded inserts and a heavy duty straight bar shoe with threaded inserts for cleats
synthetic draft horse shoe in different degrees of hardness

Standard vs. Extra – The Correct Shore Hardness is Crucial

Like all our other regular Standard composite horseshoes, the Standard Heavy Duty Shoes are comparable to an all-season car tire.

The slightly softer synthetic material of the Standard models is generally suitable for year-round use. However, during the summer and at higher temperatures, it is not as abrasion resistant as the Extra material.

Especially when looking for an exceptionally abrasion resistant shoe for your strong or heavily working horse, and if you spend a lot of time on tar and asphalt, it is advisable to use an Extra horseshoe during the summer.

We have observed that, especially in the draft horse sizes, the Extra version is outselling the Standard version.

Cold-blooded or working horse shoe with and without threads for cleats.

Un-Threaded or Threaded - Adding Traction Using Cleats

The Heavy Duty Shoes all come with a certain profile. If you require additional traction to prevent your horse from slipping, we offer a horseshoe with threaded holes for the permanent use of cleats. This model is not suitable for regularly screwing in and out the cleats. Naturally, the size of the threaded hole grows with the size of the shoe. Please consider this when placing your order.

Please note: All models with threaded holes should be used with cleats or an appropriate closing plug to protect the threaded hole from excessive dirt. This helps maintain the stability of the shoe in the threaded area, preventing unwanted pressure on the hoof.

For the Best Possible Grip - The Heavy Duty Shoe 'Traction'

The 'Traction' is a straight bar shoe with four threaded holes, integrated within the metal core. This model can be used with higher cleats and is suitable for multiple cleat changes.

Due to its metal bar providing exceptional stability and the option to screw in and out the cleats as needed, the 'Traction' is ideal for draft and carriage horses. Since the 'Traction' is typically used with cleats, it is currently only available in the Standard version. The cleats not only enhance the grip of the horseshoe, but also provide a certain protection against abrasion.

Threaded Straight Bar Horseshoe for Draft Horses

Especially Solid and Durable Hoof Protection for Strong Horses – Fotos

different hardness levels of plastic horseshoes for cold-blooded and working horses

Except for the Heavy Duty Shoe'Traction', all particularly solid models of our Heavy Duty Shoe range are available in a Standard and Extra version.

side by side, a small and large particularly solid synthetic horseshoe stand in front of a wooden wall

Since the Heavy Duty Shoes are not only designed for draft horses with larger hooves, they are available starting from size 118mm.

particularly solid and shock-absorbing horseshoes in round and oval shapes stand in front of a stone wall.

Even though some draft horses have unique hoof shapes, in most cases, you still need a round shoe for the front hooves and a more oval shape for the hind hooves.

a regular plastic horseshoe with a metal core compared to the version designed for cold-blooded and working horses

The frontal view highlights the difference between the regular model and the particularly solid version - the model from the Heavy Duty series.

threaded draft horse shoe

For additional traction, there is a clipped and threaded version available, for permanent use of cleats.

particularly solid Straight Bar Heavy Duty Horseshoe for regular stud changes

The 'Traction' is our solution when you require not only an extremely solid shoe but also have high demands for stability and improved grip.

a farrier is nailing draft horse shoe onto a hind hoof resting on the hoof stand

Preparing the hoof and the horseshoe and the shoeing process must be done in the same manner as with our regular models.

a Percheron with alternative horseshoes for cold-blooded horses pulls a white carriage

One application area for our Heavy Duty Horse Shoes includes teams of any kind.

log hauling – a horse equipped with an alternative shock-absorbing cold-blooded horseshoe for forestry work

Even in forestry work, our particularly solid Heavy Duty Horse Shoes are used.

Application and safety instructions for your Heavy Duty Shoe – Video

For every plastic shoe, whether with or without a metal core, and thus also for our Heavy Duty Horse Shoes, certain Safety Instructions. These are intended for both the hoof care specialist and riders as well as carriage drivers or horse owners.

Shoeing Instruction Draft Horseshoes

In our video, Stephan Becker explains the use of our composite shoe as a nailed hoof protection. What applies to our regular models also holds true for the draft horse shoes.

What Is Actually a Composite Shoe?

It is the combination of two types of hoof protection:
The steel shoe provides stability where needed, while the synthetic shoe offers shock absorption and an intergrated frog support. The combination of these two materials – iron and synthetic material – has various benefits for the hoof and indirectly also for the horse's musculoskeletal system.

Shoeing Instruction

modified, widened cold-blooded horseshoe in comparison to the original un-modified horseshoe

Especially when the horse has to endure significant stress due to its weight or daily work, it makes sense to use a shock-absorbing and if possible lighter shoe compared to the traditional steel draft horse shoes.

Another advantage of a composite shoe is its easy adaptability. Shoeing a draft horse is a special challenge for every farrier, which is why many hoof care professionals avoid taking on these gentle giants in their clientele altogether.

The extreme weight of the horse, varying hoof shapes depending on the breed, and the physical strain of forging large horseshoes are certainly some of the reasons. The latter is typically eliminated when using a composite shoe. The easy adaptability with an angle or belt grinder and the modification possibilities help preserve the strained tendons and ligaments of the farrier.

gluing a draft horse shoe

Glue-on Draft Horse Shoes

Our models in a particularly solid design are available in sizes ranging from 118mm to 198mm and can, of course, also be used as glued hoof protection.

Please refer to our general gluing instructions and the safety guidelines of the adhesive used. Additionally, you can find further information in the article description of the glue-on products.

Especially with the typically larger hooves of a cold-blooded horse, some 'creativity' may be required, depending on the hoof shape and size. For instance, it may be necessary to use two pairs of glue-on tabs to achieve the optimal ratio of glued surface to hoof size.

Since the Heavy Duty Horse Shoes in the largest sizes up to 198mm have not been in our product range for very long, we would appreciate any feedback or experiences. Particularly with draft and carriage horses, as well as cold-blooded breeds in general, horseshoes need to withstand extreme pressures. Therefore, we would greatly appreciate it if you would share your experiences with us and others at this point.

Draft Horse Shoes and Cleat Application

You can find further details on the proper use of cleats and the various shapes in the category 'anti-skid protection' on our online shop.

cleats inside a composite draft horse shoe

In general, the model with threaded holes, fixed in the synthetic material, is not suitable for the regular changing of cleats. Once screwed in, the cleats remain permanently in the horseshoe. Please be aware of the increased risk of injury in a herd situation.

On the other hand, the Heavy Duty Shoe 'Traction' is suitable for the regular screwing in and out of cleats as needed. The 'Traction' is a straight bar shoe, providing additional stability to the threaded inserts, which can be advantageous, especially for cold-blooded horses.

The threaded holes grow proportionally with the hoof size in our especially sturdy shoe. Therefore, please make sure to consider the thread size specified in the product title when placing your order.

Thread Sizes of our Heavy Duty Shoes

The following table provides an overview of the sizes of the threaded holes – of course, the size of the threaded hole is also specified in every product name.

Heavy Duty Shoe 'Traction' Clipped and Threaded Heavy Duty Shoe
Horseshoe Size Thread Size - Toe Area Thread Size - Heels Thread Size - Heels
118-138mm M8 M10 M8
142mm M10 M10 M8
146mm-150mm M10 M12 M8
154mm-174mm M10 M12 M10
178-198mm M12 M14 M12

Extensions for Draft Horse Sizes

Our extensions are commonly used to widen or extend a shoe laterally.

As the draft horse sizes of the heavy duty shoes have a thicker plastic coating than the regular shoes, there are specific extensions for them with a thickness of 21mm.

Please make sure to order the correct thickness for your shoe if you intend to modify your shoe.

modified draft horse shoe - widened laterally and extended in the heel area

Product Features

Model Series Heavy Duty Horse Shoes (HDS) – shock absorption, increased stability and improved abrasion resistance
Modelle Clipped and Profiled Heavy Duty Shoe
Clipped and Threaded Heavy Duty Shoe for anti-skid cleats
Heavy Duty Shoe 'Traction' – Clipped and Threaded Straight Bar Shoe - can be equipped with four cleats per horseshoe
Brand Duplo
Article Number 1140, 1141, 1150, 1151, 1200, 1201, 1430, 1431, 1440, 1441
Function alternative hoof protection, draft horse shoe, concussion absorption, particularly solid horseshoe, improved abrasion resistance, working horse shoe
Riding Styles and Disciplines a.o. trail rides, mounted police, draft horses in forestry (logging) and agriculture, carriage horses, draft horses (packhorses)
equine driving sports such as cross-country driving (also known as marathon), obstacle driving (cone driving), dressage driving, traditional team driving, recreational driving
Admission for Tournaments Our composite horseshoes are approved for various tournaments. For more information please contact the respective association (f.ex. DWA, DRFV, OEPS, SVPS, FN, FEI, VFD)
Therapy Shoe / Rehab The Heavy Duty Shoes are also suitable for supportive use in the orthopedic and therapeutic field. We expressly point out that our products do not diagnose or cure any diseases and advise for any use with a therapeutic or orthopedic background to work closely with the hoof specialist or veterinarian on site.
Horse Breeds a.o. Ardennes, Auxois, Boulonnais, Brabant, Clydesdale, Freiberger, Gelderland, Groningen, Haflinger, Irish Draught Horse, Jutland, Hackney, Murgese, Dutch Draft, Noriker, Norfolk Trotter, Oldenburg, Percheron, Posavina, Black Forest Horse, Shire Horse, Suffolk Punch, Trait du Nord
Shoeing can be applied with nails, glue, or casting hooks (depending on the size)
Shoeing Instruction can be found under FAQs → Instructions
Safety Advice can be found under FAQ → Safety Information
Made in Germany
Available Shapes round / oval
Sizes Round Shapes 118mm, 122mm, 126mm, 130mm, 134mm, 138mm, 142mm, 146mm, 150mm, 154mm, 158mm, 162mm, 166mm, 170mm, 174mm, 178mm, 182mm, 190mm, 198mm
Sizes Oval Shape 118mm, 122mm, 126mm, 130mm, 134mm, 138mm, 142mm, 146mm, 150mm, 154mm, 158mm, 162mm, 166mm, 170mm, 174mm, 178mm, 182mm, 190mm, 198mm
Size Interval in 4mm steps, from size 182mm in 8mm steps
Sizing Based on the shape of the hoof and the widest part of the hoof (after appropriate hoof treatment) or, in a pinch, also based on the horseshoe size that has fit so far. In the section FAQ → Sizes and Shapes, you will find a free template.
Hardness Standard / Extra
Season all year round
Temperature During the cold season we recommend the Standard horseshoes; at higher temperatures the Extra horseshoes have proven their worth.
Weight depending on the size and version from approx. 0,29 kg up to 1,65 kg
Length depending on the size - for details please visit FAQ → Sizes and Shapes
Width the respective size in mm
Thickness increases with the size of the horseshoe
Knob Arrays The knobs are impressed into the weight-bearing surface of the hoof wall and help the horseshoe keep its position on the hoof during the regular shoeing cycle.
Solid Metal Inlay The integrated metal inlay contributes to the durability of the horseshoe and helps to avoid unwanted pressure on the hoof.
Synthetic Cover Benefit from the concussion absorption powers of the synthetic cover.
Bar Depending on the model, the bar is made of either pure plastic or metal, similar to a straight bar shoe. The synthetic bar can improve the blood circulation of the hoof. The metal bar, on the other hand, provides additional stability, similar to a straight bar shoe.
Debris Guard The molded synthetic lip acts like a debris guard - similar to a snowgrip®- and reduces the amount of snow and debris balling up.
Nailing Slots Depending on the size, 6 to 8 nailing slots are integrated into the metal core.
Nail Size The ideal nail size varies depending on the hoof situation and size - you can find a general recommendation in our store at the hoof nails.
Quarter Clips The quarter clips facilitate the nailing process and help avoiding twists and displacements of the horseshoe during the regular shoeing period.
Thread Holes Depending on the model, with or without threaded holes for 2 or 4 cleats.
Open Sole The open sole design offers breathability to the hoof sole and the frog.
Toe Area normal
Profile Depending on the model, a light to reinforced profile.
Anti-Skid Protection For additional anti-skid protection you may use spikes; when riding, you always have to adapt the speed appropriately to the ground and ride with reduced speed on slippery ground.
Risk of Injuries in Herds Minimized risk of injuries in herd situations and in case of irregular movements in comparison to a metal horseshoe or the sharp-edged border of a bare hoof - please also read our safety information. The quarter clips must be monitored regularly.
Hoof Mechanism The flexible synthetic material encourages the mobility of the elastic hoof structures - the extent varies depending on which model is used.
Adjustment to the Hoof with an angle grinder, belt grinder, nippers or toeing knife
Modifications (at your own discretion) more or less wide, extend, convert into a model with closed sole area
Breakover you may bend or grind a toe rocker to adjust breakover
Accessories (depend on the size) a.o. Wolf Busch® Glue-on Tabs, Glue-on collars Pro and Easy, Extensions, grid plate, synthetic plate, wedges, colored stripes, cast hooks
Packaging Unit in pieces
Shipment within Canada - for worldwide shipments please contact the Duplo Team in Germany

Tipps and Tricks – shock absorbing hoof protection for cold-blooded and working horses

The surrounding synthetic cover provides shock absorption, relieving the heavily stressed musculoskeletal system of the cold-blooded or working horse in daily use.
In addition to shock absorption, the synthetic cover has other advantages to offer:

The Advantage of the Synthetic Cover for Draft Horses and Working Horses

Carriage horses, packhorses, police horses, as well as draft horses in forestry and agriculture, not only deal with daily strain but also navigate through challenging terrains.

Slippery Cobblestone Pavement

The old, heavily worn cobblestone pavement in cities can be very smooth and uneven. It can quickly become slippery, posing a danger for everyone involved, especially if a horse falls.

The synthetic cover not only provides a certain grip but also, when used without additional traction enhancing devices (cleats/spikes), simultaneously protects the partially historic pavement from intense wear caused by horse hooves.

carriage team on cobblestone pavement in the city
trail riding in Canada

Sparks and the Risk of Forest Fires

An aspect that is often overlooked is the potential for sparks and the associated risk of forest fires, especially when draft horses are used for forestry work such as log hauling. When a draft horse pulls extreme loads through challenging terrain, powerful forces are at play, increasing the risk of sparks.

Caro Lucas, our representative in Canada, sees this as another significant advantage of the synthetic cover - not only for draft horses.

From Users, For Users:
Alternative Hoof Protection for Carriage Horses

At this point, we'd like to share an inspiring firsthand account with you:

Angela and Karl Beismann, long-time customers with their two Moritzburg geldings, are still shod with the regular models instead of the Heavy Duty Shoes in the photos and videos. Nevertheless, we want to share their experience with you right here since it demonstrates how well they managed even with the regular version before the launch of our Heavy Duty Shoes.

Angela and Karl navigate their team through road traffic and, of course, across various terrains. Even a gallop through the water poses no problem. In 2019, they drove their team all the way to Brück, participating in the 'Titanen der Rennbahn' event.

a horse carriage in the city

The carriage team of Karl Beismann in road traffic.

two brown Moritzburg geldings pull a green carriage in the meadow, and the coachman is wearing a yellow shirt

Karl Beismann during an off-road journey with his carriage team.

two brown horses pull a carriage through a water trench at the Titans of the Racetrack event in Brück

In a fast gallop through the water trench at the Titans of the Racetrack event.

Shoeing Draft Horses - From Users, For Users:
If It Doesn't Fit, We'll Make It Fit

glue-on horseshoe for a Clydesdale horse

Over the years, Claus Häneke has consistently kept us informed about his efforts in crafting shoes for customer horses, such as the Clydesdale Bobby. He has been exploring ways to adapt the shoes for the unique hoof measurements.

At that time, Bobby stood in an open stable with a ban on steel shoes and had flat, highly asymmetric hooves without any arch. He was sensitive and stumbled.

Claus Häneke crafted a suitable synthetic shoe by combining a composite shoe with a trimmed Classic without a metal core. He used this as a glue-on shoe. Bobby was able to enjoy rides in various terrains, in all gaits, without stumbling.

This user experience paved the way for the development of the extensions.

From Users, For Users:
Experiences with Duplo by Jürgen Duddek

My name is Jürgen Duddek, and with my French Ardennes horse 'Ugo,' we work part-time in logging, offer (introductory) courses for interested individuals, and support others in the training of draft horses.

Ugo was previously shod with iron in the front, additionally with 'Hufgrip' in the winter, which made the shoeing process more complicated. When our hoof technician, Thomas Schaaf, mentioned last fall that the composites shoes are now available in Ugo's size (200cm), we decided to test them on him. Our second horse, 'Iquito,' a Comtois, already had composite shoes since he has a smaller hoof size. He is mainly used as a riding horse.
We were a bit skeptical about whether the shoes would hold up on a horse weighing 900kg and, above all, for how long. Thomas Schaaf has been shoeing our horses for a long time and always considers what can be improved and is willing to explore different approaches. So, last fall, Ugo received Duplos in the front, and he goes barefoot in the back. Winter is the main season for logging, and we were very curious to see if the shoes would withstand the challenges of forestry work. And look at that, the shoe held up for the 8 weeks until the next shoeing appointment. Although quite worn down, as he tends to shuffle, but still within acceptable limits. In the meantime, we've had the 3rd shoeing with Duplo, and it worked great even in the snow, without any issues of snowballing. We are often asked about the shoeing because it is still quite unusual for such large and heavy horses to have such a shoeing.

We are very satisfied and look forward to further collaboration with our hoof technician, Thomas Schaaf.

draft Horse during forestry work shod with composite horseshoes

Jürgen Duddek and Ugo during forestry work.

hoof of a draft horse shod with a clipped composite horseshoe

Detail of Ugo's front hoof.

Cold-blooded horse hauling a tree trunk through the forest

Jürgen Duddek and Ugo during log hauling.

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