Groundbreaking milestone in the history of horseshoe development.

Master Farrier, Steve Costin, has written a remarkable new chapter in the history of horseshoes with the creation of his breakthrough plastic horseshoes – Costin Horseshoes.

Costin Horseshoes represents 15 years of development and persistence, borne from Steve Costin’s unwavering commitment to aid a mare suffering from laminitis. A wonderful mare, on her last legs and whose owner couldn’t afford a veterinarian.

While the Costin Horseshoe is not designed for laminitic horses and is not an orthopaedic shoe, it was Steve’s original work with this horse that led to his discovery of the benefits of polyurethane horseshoes as a replacement for steel and aluminium shoes. READ THE FULL STORY.

Strides Through History

Horseshoes date back to 2000 BC when horses’ hooves were covered with leather and plants. Evidence shows the Romans used metal and leather horseshoes during the first century BC and by the 6th and 7th centuries BC, European horsemen nailed metal horseshoes to horses’ hooves.

Fast forward 1000 AD and cast bronze horseshoes with nail holes were being used in Europe and by the latter part of the Middle Ages, the manufacture of iron horseshoes was common practice.

Plastic Emerges in Disneyland

Plastic horseshoes first emerged on the scene in the early 1900s with the Chicago USA based Fruin Drop Forge Company making horseshoes coated in rubber to absorb concussion. This was in the days of cobbled stone streets, so as far back as then, the negative effect and impact of metal horseshoes on stone and hard surfaces was obviously being realised. These shoes established a reputation for stopping horses from going lame and when the company was bought out by Walt Disney’s Disney Corp in 1955, the rubber coated shoes were made for Disneyland’s 125 draft horses and mules.

Recent Developments

Variations in plastic horseshoes have continued to appear over the past 60 years to mixed responses.

Steve Costin recognised the many advantages of plastic horseshoes while identifying the shortfalls with the existing design philosophy.

He addressed the issues in creating Costin Horseshoes, which have redefined plastic horseshoes and are poised to revolutionise horse shoeing and many other aspects of the equine industry.

The Costin Horseshoe is not a shoe to fix problems even though we have many testimonials and experiences from reputable trainers and owners of the wonderful results they are achieving. This is a shoe designed to make your horse more comfortable which gives you better results whether it is racing, trotting or competing. When you see the difference in a horse after shoeing with the Costin Horseshoe you will wonder what the horse must have been going through with steel or aluminium shoes.

The Costin horseshoe is designed to make a good horse even better. . It is not designed for laminitic horses. It is not an orthopaedic shoe. It is a shoe designed to replace steel and aluminium shoes.

The damage that a horse suffers from vibration and jarring particularly in the early stages of work must shorten its racing or competing life.

“When I started using my shoe I had no idea of its potential. Some of the things it has done are hard to believe. If it only happened on one horse I would say it was just lucky. But I’m hearing it over and over again. On different horses and in different disciplines the horses start winning immediately. I can’t promise this will happen with every horse but the Costin Horseshoe will certainly allow a horse to race or compete to its ability.” – Steve Costin
Watch Steve's video


In addition to the information below, we recommend you watch Steve's video blogs which address a number of additional specific issues and our many testimonials from vets, trainers, owners, riders, breeders and others relating their first hand experience of using Costin Horseshoes

Steel horseshoes inhibit natural growth of horses’ hooves

The Costin Horseshoe allows natural growth because it does not restrict the natural movement of the hoof. It is because of this that the feet grow naturally. As proof, Steve shod a horse with two metal shoes on the back feet and Costin shoes on the front feet. In four shoeing cycles (approximately 20 weeks) the plastic-shod hooves grew from size 6 to size 8 while the metal-shod hooves were unchanged.

Steel horseshoes can cause sole punctures. When a horse pulls a steel shoe, he sometimes steps onto the steel toe clip which causes a sole puncture, can be dangerous and potential career and life-ending

The Costin Horseshoe prevents sole punctures because the toe clip is made of plastic and less likely to cause any injury.

Steel horseshoes do not feature shock absorbing properties which can lead to concussion to the hooves, soreness and impact on joints.

The Costin Horseshoe dramatically reduces the impact and concussion on the horse’s hoof because is it made from polyurethane which provides a cushioning effect. Steve’s own experience is supported by a study published by the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, “The Polyurethane Horseshoe and its Positive Effects on Joints and Supplements” which compared the effect on horses’ joints of plastic and steel horseshoes.

Steel horseshoes work as a cast on a horse’s hoof, which prevents the hoof moving in front of the last nail hole.

The Costin Horseshoe has been shown to lessen and in some cases dramatically improve shin soreness. Shin soreness happens to nearly all two year olds and first time starters. When you buy a horse at the sales most owners want to get them ready for two year old races, but what stops most horses getting to the early races is shin soreness.

In those early races it’s not the fastest horse that wins but the soundest horse. So far the Costin Horseshoe has had amazing results in getting babies to the racing track.

Generally shin soreness results in a long time out spelling for a horse before it is brought back into work. In dollars and sense it costs a lot of money, not to mention the disappointment and frustration for owners and trainers.

Steve Costin reports that he has even had horses that didn’t want to move forward and exhibited behavioural problems. He deduced that they obviously had sore feet or sore legs from jarring which improved immediately after he shod them with the Costin Horseshoe. This was something that neither Steve nor the owners could believe, but he watched it actually happen time and time again. The damage that a horse suffers from vibration and jarring particularly in the early stages of work must shorten its racing or competing life.

Steel horseshoes are durable

The Costin Horseshoe’s durability is comparable to a conventional steel shoe where a typical shoeing cycle is 4-6 weeks.

Steel horseshoes are heavy compared with plastic.

The Costin Horseshoe is lighter than conventional shoes, which is of particular appeal for thoroughbred racing, harness racing, endurance racing and competition horses as it makes it easier for the horse to stride. Steel shoes weigh three times more than the Costin shoe which weighs about the same as aluminium shoes. And remember, “An ounce off the hoof is equal to a pound off the back”

Note that while trainers use aluminium shoes for horse-racing they usually don’t use aluminium shoes outside of racing because they don’t wear as well as steel shoes so are too expensive for normal use. It is also generally regarded that aluminium shoes don’t absorb as much shock as steel shoes.

Steel horseshoes do not provide adequate traction, especially on hard surfaces. Without traction, the risk of injury to both horse and rider is increased.

The Costin Horseshoe provides increased traction due to the unique design. There is less skidding, the horse moves more easily and the rider is instilled with greater confidence.

Farriers don’t like fitting conventional plastic horseshoes because they are difficult to fit, too time consuming, which means more labour costs.

The Costin Horseshoe is easy to fit, leading to time and labour cost savings. Prior to developing his own design, Steve used many different types of plastic shoes and he agreed with other farriers, they were time consuming and difficult to fit! In designing the Costin Horseshoe, Steve paid especially close attention to the ease of fitting. The unique design includes side clips and a toe clip and fitting clips at the heal. These clips assist with slipping the shoe on, holding it in position for nailing and then are cut off when the shoeing is complete. Watch our web video and see for yourself just how easy it is!

The Costin Horseshoe can reduce shoeing by at least half the time!

Steel shoes require time consuming adjustments at the anvil

The Costin Horseshoe does not even require an anvil. They are available in a range of sizes and you only have to ensure the width of the shoe fits the horse. Any excess plastic is simply filed off after fitting and nailing.

Some conventional plastic horseshoes are glued not nailed on. A process which is expensive, the glue does not last long and presents potential for harm to the horse’s hoof. The strength of the hoof wall will often show signs of breaking down when the glue goes up the wall of the hoof.

The Costin Horseshoe is nailed with the option of gluing. An advantage of the Costin Horseshoe is that people have the choice of nailing or gluing them. Steve Costin is not a great fan of using glues and prefers to nail the shoes on but some people prefer using glue so this option is available.

Many plastic horseshoes have flawed design – they include a bar at the rear of the shoe which defeats the purpose of having a plastic shoe as the bar restricts the movement of the shoe.

The Costin Horseshoe is designed without this bar, thus allowing the movement and overcoming this flaw.

Plastic horseshoes are considerably more expensive than steel shoes.

The Costin Horseshoe offers excellent value for money and is competitively priced to encourage use, not only for special occasions, but all the time. By controlling the entire chain of delivery from design through manufacture, marketing and selling direct, Costin Horseshoes can contain pricing by reducing unnecessary overheads. Please refer to our price list in our online store and take advantage of our special offers.

The final consideration – decide which sizes of Costin Horseshoes you require and place your order now! Connect with us via email, phone, facebook and we will answer your specific considerations.

Watch our video testimonials to find out more of what the industry think of Costin Horseshoes.

“Steve has used his plastic horseshoes on two of my horses so far.

The first was a laminitic mare, Country Mare, which was so bad the vet said we should consider putting her down. But it was a good mare and even though it had excelled as a racehorse herself, she’s thrown two outstanding horses. One has won 6 races to date and the other was a champion polo horse that sold overseas for over $100,000.

Steve used his plastic horseshoes on her and the mare hasn’t looked back. The improvement in the mare is simply stunning.

The other horse, Obnoxious, is a good racehorse but is extremely laminitic. We were told that Obnoxious couldn’t race any more but after using Steve’s shoes for the last 12 months she is racing again.”

Tye Findlay, Foreman, Racing Queensland