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  • Writer's pictureEditorial Team

The great SHOE debate

*NO toe grabs, caulks, stickers, turndowns, inserts, trailers or heel extensions will be

allowed on the front or hind shoes. Note: The insert on the toe of the Queen’s Plate is

considered a “wear plate,” not a toe grab. Block heels on the hind shoes (not to

exceed ¼ inch) are permissible.

Outer rim shoes are prohibited.


Equivalent shoes by the manufacturer are as follows:


Legacy Queen's Plate Flat, Silver Queen Flat, Queen's Plate Flat, Queen's Wedge, Light Training Steel Flat, Heavy Training Steel Flat, Halverson Egg Bar


Sport Queens, EC Queens Wedge, RX, EC Steel Training Plate, Elite Egg Bar

St. Croix Forge by Delton Mustad

Turf Plates, Concorde Turf, Blurton Steel Bar Shoes; Heart, Straight, Egg


{Explination of the research: written by Don Yovanovich}

At the last Task Force meeting in December, there were questions regarding what

are the best shoes to recommend for the horses to use for safety to themselves and

to other horses in the race and to have consideration for the turf. Don Yovanovich

and Gus Brown were asked to investigate the possibilities and propose a proper and



1. Assigned ourselves to visually inspect the variety of shoes, front and hind

a.) Types of shoes as a Queens Plate, steel flat and compare to shoes with grabs

and heels

b.) manufacturers of these shoes and/or their equivalent shoes

2. Have conversations with farriers and veterinarians

a.) Most farriers prefer flat shoes, issue is what trainers request

b.) Veterinarians see studies and the injuries caused by shoes


1. The science of how to shoe and prevent injuries is abundant, many articles going

back decades

a.) Round table discussion hosted by Bob Casner; “Welfare and Safety of

Racehorse Summit Shoeing Committee”

b.) Dr. Sue Stover has led the way with good articles, brilliant studies and


c.) BHA, conducted a very large study at their point to points and reported the


2. Snow Plow Effect;

Normal hoof approach to the ground is toe first, the hoof and leg slides forward

then the ankle and foot load to the ground. To leave the ground, the toe holds its

position and the heel rises upward, the toe breaks over and the hoof leaves the


a.) caused by the toe grabs and also by heels

toe grab acts as a wall compacting surface material in front of it, this impedes

the slide and at the same time the hoof naturally is compacting surface

material below it and the distal leg continues forward momentum with increased

stresses on the limbs. Toe grabs have also been associated to add stress to the limbs

by raising the toe relative to the heel

b.) effect on musculoskeletal injuries (MSI), 1.8 x higher at 2mm, 3.5 x higher


Suspensory Apparatus Injury (SAI) 6.5 higher at 2mm, 15.6 x higher


Canon Bone Condylar Fractures (CAF) 7 x higher 2mm, 17.1 x higher


c.) MSI injuries has $1 Billion economic effect, 83 % of TB deaths attributed to


injuries show that toe grabs are the contributing factor.


a.) Most tracks, turf, Queen’s Plate Flat or Queen’s Plate XT

b.) Keeneland, Flat plate, Queen’s Plate Flat or Queen’s Plate XT or equivalent

c.) BHA, Flat shoes only, no protrusions of any kind

Summary of Findings:

There is plenty of studies indicating the detrimental effects of toe grabs. Stover goes

into great details of the higher incidence of injuries and explains the additional

stress toe grabs have on foot function, under run heels and hyperextension of the

fetlock joint to name a few. Percentages of injuries increase significantly from no toe

grabs to 2mm to 4mm and higher.


There are more than enough studies to prove there are high injury rates in horses

that wear shoes with protrusions (grabs, heels, blocks, stickers, caulks etc.). Shoes

are being designed today by several shoe manufacturers to help protect the health

of the hoof and sole of the feet and to diminish the occurrence of injury. The groove

in flat shoes provides enough of a mechanism to prevent lateral slippage yet allows

the feet to naturally slide on contact to the ground and to break over properly when

leaving the ground. As the BHA suggests that shoes should not have any protrusions

assigned to them and there are strong convictions that horses should be shod

similarly behind as in front

We recommend that the only shoes to use are; On front and hind Queen’s Plate Flat

Queen’s Plate Wedge (for horses that run down or have under run heels)

Steel training Plate OR any manufacturer’s equivalent.

Wish to thank Wayne Van Sant for all his shoe catalogs and a wealth of his practical


Source material:

Information about preventing injuries here:

Information on toe grabs:

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