Using Epona Shoes Therapeutically



I use Epona's on the rare horses that aren't good candidates for boots or casts because of environment or the need to check and clean boots on a daily basis. Most on my transitions and hoof protection needs are better served using cushy pads and boots, but when I feel I need to use Epona's? They are a fantastic tool to have available.

I use them for

  • For sole protection on thin soled horses with good walls; sole accumulates fast under them.
  • Extreme wall separation, to grow out the wall
  • Protect transitioning feet that have weak wall and sole


  • Glue & nails for horses with thin soles and good walls
  • Glue, casting hooks & casts for horses with poor wall integrity and / or attachment,

I like to apply Epona’s ┬átherapeutically with casts. I Initially tried gluing them on and reinforcing with nails, but the feet I use these shoes on typically have so casting over casting hooks is much more effective than mailing to a failing wall.

For sole protection on thin soled horses with good walls, some people have had luck nailing Epona's on with or without glue, but my experience is that the glue alone doesn't always secure them. I've used it on several horses with


Epona's have good traction and horses move well in them, as well as in a properly fit boot on a well trimmed hoof. If the trim isn't correct, the shoe will be little better than a metal keg shoe, but when used in conjunction with a tight trim, they are not as good as barefoot, but up there with boots on pathological feet.

Epona's last a full shoeing cycle (5 to 6 weeks); they stay on until you remove them no matter where and how you ride, even for horses with a history of losing shoes. I've reset them, but it wasn't worth the extra effort to clean the shoe up..


Epona's are relatively expensive to apply (between $75 & $100/hoof depending on location) because of the experience, time and extensive list of materials needed to apply correctly. They take 30 to 45 minutes each to apply including removal & hoof prep.

If people want to shoe, I definitely prefer these shoes to metal because they eliminate concussion and provide an environment that encourages heels to expand -- IF THE UNDERLYING TRIM IS CORRECT. I have seen MANY bad trims on feet shod in Epona's, and those feet ended up distorted and pathological looking. Bad shoeing is bad shoeing, not matter what shoe you use.

"Casting on" Epona Shoes

Please refer to the Epona site for good pictures and video!

To cast on, the hoof is trimmed, prepped and cleaned with a wire brush, and the Epona is glued on. Epona "casting hooks are hooked into the nail holes and extend up the hoof wall to provide purchase for the reinforcing cast. There are several great pictures on the Epona web site here


I trim and prep the hoof for Epona’s, using my same "barefoot" trim, and I glue the Epona’s to the hoof as they instruct on their site. The thick glue layer equalizes the space between the beveled hoof wall and the flat shoe.


To remove casted Epona's, use nippers to cut the cast between the heel bulbs and pull the casting towards the front of the hoof. I use a large screwdriver to lever the Epona off because it can be salvaged (cleaned up) and used to glue on the exterior of casted feet on rehab horses.

To remove a glued on Epona, break the clinches and remove as you would a regular nailed on shoe.