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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2009

    Default When Do You Use Hoof Pads?

    My 16 year old dressage horse, who gets his coffin joints injected yearly due to mild coffin joint arthritis, is not at all lame, but we suspect some soreness in front. He is shod on all four hooves, without any special work. Apparently a lot of the horses in this barn (I'm new here, coming from a facility with infinitely better footing) get leather pads in the winter because the footing turns to cement with so many people pounding on it. However, I'd really like to avoid complicating his shoeing unnecessarily.
    Once you put pads on, how easy is it to remove them? There should be new footing coming in, but in the meantime, do you think it would be a good idea to add leather pads to my horses' regime, when he has decent hoof conformation? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2002
    the far side


    IMHO, if you're going to do anything, do pour-in pads. I know (peripherally) lots of horses whose footsoreness improved with them, although they are a bit pricey. If your horse doesn't like them (I know of one horse who did better in the winter w/o pour-ins because they got harder/stiffer in cold weather), I saw pour-in pads removed with pliers without taking the shoe off by just grabbing and pulling.

    More to the point, though, if he has coffin joint arthritis, I would be very cautious about working him on hard footing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Columbus, OH


    Quote Originally Posted by GatoGordo View Post
    If your horse doesn't like them (I know of one horse who did better in the winter w/o pour-ins because they got harder/stiffer in cold weather)
    My farrier said the same thing about cold weather and pour-ins. He is a big fan of Equipak anytime of the year besides deep winter. I assume he really feels this way because I requested the Equipak, and he could have made 4x as much money off Equipak instead of using the Magic Cushion that I already owned + leather pads.

    More to the point, though, if he has coffin joint arthritis, I would be very cautious about working him on hard footing.
    Agreed, although I suspect the OP knows this if she's asking the question. I would not screw with bad/thin footing on a horse with ringbone. My horse is healthy and young, and even so I'm nervous about the thin footing in our indoor (a temporary situation, our BO has already ordered the sand and it will be delivered as soon as weather permits).
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog

  4. #4


    Personally, I don't do anything until there is a problem. If he is reacting to the hard footing then you need to do something. If you are only training in the arena then pour ins are ok, out on terrain they can get slick. The one issue I have had is that hooves can get thrushy under them, I have had frogs get crushed and when you take them out your horse will have a temporary tenderness. I prefer to use rim pads instead.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2000
    Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?


    I use pour ins during the rock hard (GA baked clay=concrete) months of the summer, thank heavens we rarely have frozen ground so it isn't an issue in winter!
    Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2007


    I've used pads before. We packed magic cushion underneath (which I would HIGHLY advise for you as well). Kept them on for two shoeing cycles and then removed them easily. Horse's soles were in perfect condition afterwards and his soreness was totally resolved from the instant the pads went on and stayed that way even after they were removed. I think it would be a good option for your horse.
    I also like and have used Equipak, it's just more expensive. I do think the Equipak has more vibration-dampening qualities though, which might really help with your guy's coffin bone issues.
    OK, so to sum it all up if I were in your shoes I would throw some pads or pour-ins on for the winter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2009


    Pads are used for a lot of different reasons.I rarely use pads just for cushioning because a healthy foot should be able to cushion impact nicely, if trimmed or shod correctly. If a horse has an arthritic issue that hard ground exacerbates, then I would consider using a poly shoe such as Equiflex Polysteel, Epona or similar.
    Also, if the OP's horse is needing routine joint injections , then perhaps there is some hoof imbalance going on that needs to be addressed better. If the coffin joint is misaligned, a wedge pad may be in order instead of a flat pad. If the frog tends to be flattened or prolapse through the shoe , indicating the foot is generally weak then perhaps a pad with frog support may be most beneficial.
    There is no reason a horse should get overly moist or thrushy under a pad because there are several good medicated hoof packings available that can be placed under pads to keep the frog and sole healthy.
    Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
    Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.

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