Farrier's Corner

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Farrier's Corner

Kawell USA began as a project to develop products based on copper to take advantage of its antimicrobial properties and its benefits in providing solutions to diseases associated with bacteria and fungi.

Through research and several case studies, Kawell USA has developed proven copper alloy horseshoe and inserts to help improve hoof health and the overall quality of a horse's hoof.

Below you can find the research, results, and examples of our work. Our horseshoes and inserts are a patent design and are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The institutions involved in this research were the Center for the Investigation, Development and Innovation of Structures and Materials (IDIEM) and the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), both under the authority of the University of Chile and University Santiago of Chile, Center of the Investigation of Materials. The department of Farriership of the Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences of the University of Chile supported and consulted the whole investigation.

Environmental Protection Agency

In order for a copper alloy company to make any claims about antibacterial properties, they must undergo testing and registration with the EPA.

To date, Kawell USA is the only horseshoe company registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. (EPA) # 82012-3

Patent # US 9 107 398 B2

Copper Development Association UNS Alloy
No. C6915

How Does Copper Kill Bacteria?

Copper is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, and can kill bacteria by direct contact. EPA approved horseshoes have a 99.9% effectiveness against killing bacteria that comes into contact with the shoe.

Secondly, bacteria is killed through a process of a galvanic reaction between two dissimilar metals, the copper horseshoe and steel nails. The galvanic reaction generates copper salts that are leached out into the sole of the hoof. Copper salts make an inhospitable environment for bacteria and fungus to live in.

Because of the galvanic reaction between copper and steel, this is why you don't want to use copper nails with a copper shoe.



Shock Absorption

Studies at the University of Santiago Chile (USACH) show that by using Kawell USA copper alloy horseshoes, the reaction force decreases by 8.56%. This transmits less force and power up through the horse limb, decreasing shock to the the bones, ligaments, joints, and tendons compared to steel horseshoes.


Kawell USA Copper Alloy Horseshoes can be worked in hot or cold, and requires less time and temperature in the forage (maximum temp 840°F o 450°C). They also last longer than regular steel shoes, and can be used for multiple sets.

Applying Kawell USA Copper Alloy Shoes

Kawell USA at Yoder Blacksmith Supplies

Copper Alloy Inserts

The Kawell USA Copper Alloy Inserts are made specifically for the frog of the hoof and crafted from the finest copper alloy. Just like Kawell USA Copper Alloy Horseshoes, the inserts kill bacteria and fungi on contact and prevents the proliferation of these microorganisms in the frog. The same patent and Environmental Protection Agency assurances that apply to our horseshoes also apply to the inserts.

Research Behind Our Work

We are constantly testing our designs and concepts through real world trials and research studies in order to keep providing you with products that you can rely on to do the job.

Copper Alloy

Iron Alloy

Above we can see two mediums containing our copper allow on the left and another of a more traditional iron allow on the right. These are take after two weeks in a BP medium to testing to Staphylococcus and other bacteria.

The same antimicrobial properties have been preserved and carried over to our line of hoof pastes.

Using copper helps protect against 99% of disease-causing bacteria.

Copper helps reduce impact-shock by up to 8.53% per step. Kawell USA Copper Alloy is 100% recyclable. 

Common Questions

What makes copper-alloy horseshoe antimicrobial, and how does it work?
Copper is a well-known antimicrobial metal, commonly used in hospitals on door handles to minimize the spread of bacterial 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 is 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.

What kind of horse can benefit from the use of copper-alloy horseshoes?
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 legs, such as endurance horses and horses ridden on hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt pavement. Endurance horses 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.

Do the copper-alloy shoes require any special handling when shaping or modifying?
The shoes can be worked either cold or hot. When shaped cold, they should work like steel shoes, which 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.

Copper is a soft metal, will these shoes hold up?
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 in copper. In many cases, the shoes can be reset 1-2 times.

What type of nails do you use the Kawell USA horseshoe with?
Regular steel nails because that is what causes the copper alloy to oxidize.

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