Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who is Kawell?
A. Kawell has been producing horse products throughout Latin America and Europe. Established in 1986 as a result of vested interest in applying copper’s intrinsic values to less common environments, Kawell set out to produce products which would improve the quality of life for horses. Working with the Center for Research, Development, and Innovation of Structures and Materials (IDIEM a branch of the University of Chile), Kawell’s intent was to find a metal which would reduce the repetitive impact of the ground on the hoof of the horse while increasing the durability of the metal. The Kawell horseshoe differentiates itself not only in its metallurgic properties, but in the benefits to the horse through its use of the copper alloy, both as a preventive measure as well as therapeutic application.
The final product is designed for horses used for recreational purposes, as well as those used in competition. Kawell’s research has shown that copper-based alloys are able to reduce the vibratory impact of the hoof impacting the ground and reducing the impact on the rest of the leg by an average of 8.53% more per step over traditional steel horseshoes. In addition, copper acts as a natural fungicide and bactericide preemptively inhibiting 99% of infections such as thrush. The copper alloy extends the life of the horseshoe by three times that of an all-copper horseshoe under normal usage conditions. Additionally, the shoe is 100% recyclable, which makes it the first “green” horseshoe on the market.
Q. What products does Kawell make?
A. Kawell now makes 7 different products, including the cooper-alloy horseshoes,copperbursh, copper thread leg wraps, copper thread saddle pad, a copper-based healing hoof paste, an herbal healing shampoo for horses with skin issues and a herbal healing spray for localized skin issues as well as bacterial issues of the mouth.
Q. What makes the copper-alloy horseshoe antimicrobial, and how does it work?
A. Copper is a well-known antimicrobial metal, commonly used in hospitals on door handles to minimize the spread of bacterial and fungal diseases. The process of a “galvanic reaction” between 2 dissimilar metals (the copper in the shoe (Cu+) and the steel nails) generates copper salts in the hoof area, creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria and fungi. It would be similar to a slow, constant infusion of copper sulfate (a known thrush inhibitor) into the foot area. It is now registered with the EPA as having 99% effectiveness against microbes. The effect can be seen when looking at the foot side of the shoe after a typical shoeing cycle. While the natural color of the shoe os a gold or brass color, the area around the nail holes will have a distinct copper color, which is evidence of the copper salts leaching into the foot.
Q. What kind of horse can benefit from the use of the copper-alloy horseshoes?
A. Any horse that has problems resulting from bacterial or fungal infections, such as thrush, white line disease and chronic abscesses, which can be especially prevalent in wet or humid climates, or in situations where the conditions in which the horse is kept make the horse susceptible to these problems. In addition, due to the shock absorption qualities of the shoes, any horse that can benefit from minimizing shock to the feet and legs, such as endurance horses and horses ridden on hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt pavement. Endurance horse that have used these shoes in events have been shown to have little to no leg swelling (stocking up) and soreness after the event, and their race times have shown considerable improvements when compared to wearing steel shoes.
Q. What sizes do the copper-alloy shoes come in?
A. The shoes are available in sizes 000 through size 4.
Q. How many different styles of shoes do you offer?
A. Currently we offer a “standard” style, similar to a St. Croix plain, with fullering in the quarters and punched for a size 5 standard or city head nail. We are currently evaluating other styles, such as full rim performance shoes, as well as sliders for reining horses and eggbars.
Q. Do the copper-alloy shoes require any special handling when shaping or modifying the shoes?
A. The shoes can be worked either cold or hot. When shaped cold, they should work like steel shoes, with a bit more “spring” when hit with the hammer. If used in hot shoeing, they should be treated like aluminum and not heated more than app. 900 degrees (half a heat) or they will fall apart. If not overheated, they will work fine.
Q. Copper is a soft metal, will these shoes hold up?
A. These shoes are a copper alloy, consisting of app. 84% copper along with 5 other metals resulting from quite a few years of development. This unique combination allows for the shoes to wear similarly to a steel shoe while retaining the antimicrobial properties of copper. In many cases, the shoes can be reset 1-2 times depending on the terrain.
Q. How does the hoof paste work?
A. Kawell has developed a hoof paste that is based on the same copper salts generated by the horseshoes, helping to moisturize, protect and regenerate the hoof of the horse through topical application. We have achieved this through years of design and product testing to help bring the best product possible to the consumer market. The product is most effective when used to treat some of the more common and harmful issues that arise in equine hoof care such as quarter cracks and toe cracks in the hooves and possible resulting infection (abscesses). This is a very effective and quick method for improving the quality of the horse’s hooves without the time-consuming and costly use of a supplement such as biotin. In many cases, the improvements can be seen in just weeks, versus months with a supplement.
Q. How does the herbal healing shampoo work?
A. The shampoo is infused with the Matico plant, more commonly known as the soldier’s herb (scientific name: Buddleja globosa, or orange-ball-tree), for its medicinal properties. You can actually see the small plant particles in the shampoo. According to legends, the plant was discovered by a wounded Spanish soldier named Matico. He learned, presumably from the local tribes, that applying the leaves to his wounds stopped bleeding, and it began to be called “Matico” or “soldier’s herb”. It was introduced into the profession of medicine in the United States and Europe by a Liverpool physician in 1839 as a styptic and astringent for wounds. Throughout the Amazon, many of the Indian tribes use matico leaves as an antiseptic wound healer to stop bleeding, prevent infections and to speed healing. Matico has demonstrated broad spectrum antimicrobial actions which help to explain its long history of use for various infections and infectious diseases. In various laboratory studies over the years, matico leaves and the essential oil from the leaves or fruits have demonstrated antibacterial actions against various gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It has also been reported with actions against fungi and yeast.
Q. What kind of problems can be treated with the shampoo?
A. The shampoo can be used to treat a number of skin problems, including skin irritations that result from such things as saddle sores, rain rot, fungal skin infections and ringworm. It can also be used to treat wounds to assist in both healing and new hair growth. It can be used as a spot treatment or as a general use shampoo for horses with sensitive skin. As the shampoo does not contain the many different oils typical in medicated herbal or natural shampoos, there is very little risk for adverse reactions due to allergy issues.