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Leather rim pads versus Full leather pads: Has anyone made the switch with success?

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  • Leather rim pads versus Full leather pads: Has anyone made the switch with success?

    To make a long story short my horse has been shod with full pads for a number of years now on all fours. He is in his early 20's, has thin soles that have been verified by radiograph a couple years back and he is ouchy on rocks or rough terrain without pads. We pack the leather pads with magic cushion and that combo has worked very well for him for 3-4 years now.

    I am dealing with a bad case of thrush right now due to full winter snow ball pads that I am treating with Tomorrow dry based on others recommendations on this board. The farrier is coming out today to put on the winter rim pads so I can effectively treat the issue.
    Due to the thrush issue, and likely a muddy spring ahead, I am thinking I would like to keep on top of the thrush and maybe try to toughen/thicken the sole more using durasole than the full pads at least up until the ground dries up come April/ May. However, I do think he needs the support the pads provide and I am wondering if leather rim pads would work? Has anyone switched from full leather pads to leather rim pads and used durasole on the exposed sole and the frog area with success?

    Any help/insight would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    It would be helpful to me if you gave a definition of your understanding of the word "support" in regards to the context you have used it here.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
      It would be helpful to me if you gave a definition of your understanding of the word "support" in regards to the context you have used it here.
      Perhaps I am using the wrong word but the pads are needed to protect his sole from rocks, rough terrain etc.. and also my vet thought the leather pads in the hind feet would help with support of existing hock arthritis. I am not sure if switching to leather rim pads ( or any leather pad that only partially covers the sole) and using durasole would eliminate those benefits.


      • #4
        This isn't really an answer to your question - but I thought I'd offer this anyway. I pad my field hunters in the fall, (fronts) but instead of magic cushion my farrier uses copper sulphate crystals mixed in with the - I can't remember the name of it - equithane? It's on the tip of my tongue. Anyway - we've done this for years and not once have the horses ever had any problems with thrush. The crystals are dirt cheap.
        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
        -Rudyard Kipling


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by JSwan View Post
          This isn't really an answer to your question - but I thought I'd offer this anyway. I pad my field hunters in the fall, (fronts) but instead of magic cushion my farrier uses copper sulphate crystals mixed in with the - I can't remember the name of it - equithane? It's on the tip of my tongue. Anyway - we've done this for years and not once have the horses ever had any problems with thrush. The crystals are dirt cheap.
          Thanks for the info! That is definitely another option I can consider.


          • #6
            Some leather pads conform to the sole once the hoof packing is displaced and provide a layer of protection.

            I use a compressed leather pad that is very hard and remains rigid which keeps the foot from sinking in deep footing and also provides some additional load sharing with the frog and sole assuming the hoof packing stays under the pad.

            But there are problems when the hoof packing is sucked out the back of the foot when the horse walks through water and the pad flexes like an bellows.

            Due to the tendency to lose hoof packing out the back of the foot and subsequently having mud and manure sucked into the back of the foot due to the bellows effect when a horse walks through water, I no longer use leather pads with open heel shoes - only bar shoes.

            A rim pad provides additional ground clearance for the foot and also some cushion for the area of the sole covered by the shoe. It also provides less frog engagement with the ground because it pad elevates the hoof without covering the frog with the same amount of material. IMO a rim pad is the antithesis of "support." because it elevates the entire hoof and prevents the sole and frog from sharing weight distribution on hard ground. The only time I use a leather rim pad is when I have to fix a horse that was crippled by a previous farrier trimming the foot too short and making the horse lame.

            Full pads protect the sole and can also provide some additional weight sharing (passive support) in hard ground by engaging the frog and sole, and active support in soft ground by increasing weight distribution surface area in the heel - thus preventing the heels from sinking into the footing and locking the foot to the ground so that it cannot twist under a load. Altering the loading phase of the stride so the foot is not firmly locked to the ground by sinking into deep footing may have significant benefit to the hocks and stifles.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks Tom for the insight. Great explanation of the difference between the function of the rim pad and the full leather. We took off all pads today because of the bad thrush in his LF, cleaned it out really good and I am treating it with Tomorrow dry cow and keeping the foot as clean as possible. We are going to leave the pads off during mud season and I am going to use durasole in hopes of thickening/hardening the soles in the meantime.

              We initially started using leather pads on this horse's fronts about 5 years ago because he would become foot sore in the late summer with the hard ground. Pads eliminated that problem 100%. As he has become older the vet suggested full leather pads and MC packing all around for protection of his thin soles and also to provide support of the hocks in the back. It seems to have done the trick. I think at this point the rim pads will not really be any help for my horses needs and I am better off doing a few shoeing cycles w/o pads and using durasole and then putting the pads back on come summer.

              Thanks again for the help