Copper has long been hailed by humans due to its electric conductivity, malleable nature and perceived health benefits, and science has proven that the soft metal has antibacterial properties, as it can kill bacteria and other microbes on contact.
Recently this has led some blacksmiths in Australia to begin testing the benefits of using copper nails to shoe horses. Brian Hampson, PhD of Sunshine Coast Podiatry Services and John Wilson set out to see if using copper nails to shoe horses could cut down on the type of bacterial infections that can be common in the nail holes of horses' feet.
The farriers used 11 sport horses, trimming and shoeing each horse twice, six weeks apart with copper-coated nails in the left front hoof and regular nails in the right front hoof. They then gave six of the horses a 12-week layoff before reversing the control, using copper-coated nails in the right front and steel nails in the left front. Before each reset, the farriers photographed and visually-inspected the bottom of each hoof using a 10-point pathology scale.
Where the steel nails were used, the horses had higher pathology scores and where the copper-coated nails were used, the hooves were noticeably healthier.
Read more at Practical Horseman.
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