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Thoughts and wedge shoes?

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    Thoughts and wedge shoes?

    Farrier brought up wedge shoes as a possible benefit to one of my horses. Asked my thoughts, but I don't have any experience with them, so looking for feedback/information on them.
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

    Wedge shoes can be useful when used for a short period of time WITH frog support. Keep them on too long and they can crush the heels. Use them without frog support and the frogs can drop between the heels of the shoe, creating a whole 'nother problem.
    Patience pays.


      Some horses need them or wedge pads to cope with intra hoof changes.Not navicular disease but soft tissue injuries.

      And they work well.
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


        Depends on why the horse may need them.

        If the issue is needing heel support, especially long term,, a custom rocker shoe is a better choice. No worries about crushed heels, which is the biggest problem with wedges.
        Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.


          Originally posted by CHT View Post
          Farrier brought up wedge shoes as a possible benefit to one of my horses. Asked my thoughts, but I don't have any experience with them, so looking for feedback/information on them.
          It is a nice way to fix a problem without the use and hassles of pads. There are Olympic jumpers living in them. I have never seen a "problem" from using them just benifits for a horse that needs them.
          I just cringe when some barefoot advocate starts in on the "frog needs to touch the ground"
          Please believe your farrier who understands how hoof movement assists in blood flow and what and where hoof expansion is and how the frog assists in it.


            Original Poster

            Originally posted by Melissa.Van Doren View Post
            Wedge shoes can be useful when used for a short period of time WITH frog support. Keep them on too long and they can crush the heels. Use them without frog support and the frogs can drop between the heels of the shoe, creating a whole 'nother problem.
            This is a concern. When I got her she had regular shoes and cut-away wedge pads...and her frog/heel had grown to contact the ground. This meant that with regular shoes only her toe, frog and heel bulb touched the ground and resulted in about 6 months of hoof rehab (we had her in half shoes for a while).

            Current issue is her RH heel was starting to get crushed again before her last reset. Farrier brought her heel back more which made horse slightly NQH. We are thinking it is just her tendons adjusting, so I am not worried about that, but he thought a steeper angle might help her movement.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


              Agree with MVD. I don't really like wedge pads for extended use. Even corks/studs can crush heels over time, so be careful. Make sure the horse really needs them.
              "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".


                I've used wedge shoes and wedge pads on different horses for different reasons, and would again, if there was a need. Sometimes it was a short term thing, sometimes long term, and always at the suggestion of my vet or farrier for a specific problem. I've not had any problems that could be blamed on the wedges specifically, but I have a good farrier and I'm not one to try to push a shoeing cycle out too long (where I think a lot of problems with feet comes from is those who go too long between shoeings and things get out of hand).


                  I agree with horsepoor. And will say that my GP jumper has been in wedge pads for the last 4 or 5 years with minimal (if any) adverse effects and lots of benefits. A good farrier understands when and why to use wedge pads and can manage the potential drawbacks.
                  Flying F Sport Horses
                  Horses in the NW


                    Original Poster

                    So PWN and Horsepoor, when have you used them, and to what benefits?

                    I am having some trouble wrapping my head around the physics of the effect of the wedge shoe on her hoof/leg. I don't want to recreate her previous issues which were do in part from the cut out wedge pad she had previously.

                    The horse in question is getting her spring check up in a couple weeks, so will discuss with the vet too.
                    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      My QH has gone in aluminum wedge shoes on the front for the past 3 show seasons. He tends to grow a lot of toe and putting him in wedge shoes up front gives him the correct angle and maintains it as he grows out - it also maintains his break over speed which is useful for reining stops. Never had any issues with his frogs or the transition back to flat steel shoes in the winter (with appropriate changes in the pre-shoe trim).

                      I had another gelding with hind suspensory issues that went in aluminum wedged egg bar shoes in the back while a tear was healing.
                      Last edited by UrbanHennery; Jan. 19, 2015, 11:35 AM.


                        I think wedge shoes are fine IF there is frog support and the farrier keeps up with the trim. My horse was in wedge shoes for a while but the farrier got sloppy with the trim, let the heels run forward, and was better off having the shoes pulled and us trimming him again.

                        My experience with wedges was not good, but then again, the farrier (a different one) did not do a good job with trimming the horse. Plus it looked like the wedges got crushed long before each shoe setting.


                          Originally posted by CHT View Post
                          So PWN and Horsepoor, when have you used them, and to what benefits?
                          Horse with prior tendon injuries (he's an overachiever, so he bowed both front tendons at once) and some history of heel and coffin joint pain wore wedge pads with equi-pak underneath while in training/showing. He's semi-retired now and just goes in regular shoes when working and barefoot otherwise, and as long as I keep him on a fairly short (6 week) cycle, he's fine (plus he isn't doing the work he was back when competing).

                          Another horse had good old long toe low heel and while we worked on those angles, he wore wedges (I think in his case, we used wedge shoes). He was also one that we did some wall build up with equi-build and regular shoes, and eventually he did go back to plain regular shoes.

                          There was another (not mine) where the vet prescribed wedges for the hinds -- he had locking stifles, I think (something stifle related, I remember that) and the wedges were intended to help that.

                          I could never do the cutout type pads as they just end up getting crap under them and causing more issues. I've done the wedge shoes as needed, or if doing pads, they were full (no cutout) and with equi-pak under to prevent infiltration of gravel/dirt. Even if not wedge pads, just a flat pad, that's what I do as we have pea gravel paddocks and sand arena footing, and it works its way under the pads too much without the equi-pak filler.


                            My guy was started in wedge pads after we x-rayed his feet (many years ago). We discovered that his toes needed to be brought back further than any farrier has ever been comfortable doing (without referring to the x-rays) and that he needed the wedges to help his angles. For the first few years we had a 2 degree wedge on his LF and a 3 degree wedge on his RF. That helped with a lot of issues we had in lateral crookedness and allowed the horse to start developing equally on both sides of his body.

                            Eventually we moved to equal pads on L and R, though did x-rays before making the change. This horse competes at the top of his athletic range, and everything we've done with him has been in the name of allowing him to utilize everything he's got.

                            I will say that my guy has very stereotypical TB feet - very flat footed with toes that like to run out and heels that would love to run under given the tiniest chance. Starting down the wedge pad path was unnerving at first because the fear for both the farrier and me was that we would crush his [almost non-existent] heels. My old (brilliant, but sadly moved away) farrier was fond of saying he was one of the few horses he worked on who would likely never be able to transition to a barefoot lifestyle. But we made it through 3 years with no negative changes in his heels. The first winter we transitioned to rim pads to give his feet a chance to "breathe" without pads and packing, but we kept that going through the first show of the season, and as many of you here may be smart enough to predict, he bruised the crap out of his heels by basically "punching through" the lack of frog support when landing off of very big fences. That was the last time he went without full pads.

                            I also learned that packing material was very important. We tried silicon pour-in pads under the pads and it turns out he distorts too much as he grows to be able to handle the silicon packing after about 3 weeks in his shoes. I relearned that lesson with my new farrier the summer before last when he bruised his feet horribly by jumping on rock hard grass in August with silicon pads in again. So now, following what horsepoor said, we have to pack with something that stays in well enough to keep gravel out (my arena is coarse sand with lots of tiny pebbles) but stays soft enough to adapt to the foot as it grows.

                            But my biggest "hard learned lesson" came when my really great farrier moved to AZ and I went through 2 other farriers who absolutely destroyed my guys' feet in the 8 or 9 months that they worked on him. The first guy was an extremely unbalanced trimmer and wouldn't listen to anything I had to say, complete with the charming response of, "listen here honey, I've got this." I fired him after one round of shoes. The second guy refused to bring the toe back to where it needed to be and refused to take the x-rays into account. I brought my vet out to work with him on the second and third shoeing jobs he did and he argued with her the entire time. After a total of 4 rounds of shoes (and feet that resembled duck feet complete with heels at about the midpoint of his foot) I fired him (which I should have done after the second shoeing job) and finally found a really great farrier again who is, first and foremost, a GREAT trimmer and is totally willing to work with my vet. He also listens to what I have to say about the horse (I'm no foot expert, but I am halfway decent at explaining how a horse feels undersaddle and how I think that reflects on the feet).

                            Under his guidance we've got my guy's heels back where they're supposed to be, his toes as short as they should be, and as a result his heels are back to growing normally.

                            The wedge pads don't seem to have an impact on heel growth (negative or positive) as long as the rest of the trim is done right. But boy is that a tough thing to find, so you have my sympathies if you have any doubts about your farrier. And if not, then I would simply say that wedge pads have not contributed anything negative to my princess-and-the-pea super-sensitive Thoroughbred.
                            Flying F Sport Horses
                            Horses in the NW


                              PNW, thanks for sharing, I am dealing with a similarly built TB.


                                Originally posted by 2enduraceriders View Post
                                . . . Please believe your farrier who understands how hoof movement assists in blood flow and what and where hoof expansion is and how the frog assists in it.
                                How do you know that farriers know these things? From which experiments on circulation and expansion should we draw conclusions when the findings from one experiment contradict the next?


                                  Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                                  How do you know that farriers know these things? From which experiments on circulation and expansion should we draw conclusions when the findings from one experiment contradict the next?
                                  Because facts are facts and properly conducted scientific experiments DO NOT contradict each other. Like old wives tails when something sounds good or looks good on paper the misconception is spread far and wide. With the internet there are so much wrong or dangerous or hurtful or even deadly misinformation out there that it is hard to find what is correct with anything.
                                  The Principles of Horseshoeing: A Manual for Horseshoeing by Doug Butler, Published 1974 Has been added to but not replaced. To say certified farrier's do not understand the working principles behind blood flow is like saying a cardiologist doesn't understand the causes of low or high blood pressure.
                                  If you feel you know enough to evaluate how well a corrective shoeing will help please attempt to pass the written past of the AFA certification test.
                                  If you want to find "experiments on circulation and expansion" that have a proven basis in fact with provable consistent results then look at the studies the veterinarians learn from. Learn from someone who knows the anatomy and physiology and inner mechanics of the hoof and leg and not just the gross outer structures.


                                    I have AFA certification and Guild certification. Butler's text books are mostly accumulations of material coped from other older (no longer in print an no subject to copyright disputes) references. They identify the location of the circulatory system in the foot. However, the exact mechanism by which the foot "pumps" blood remains a topic of some supposition and dispute between various researchers . . . Bowker, Pollitt, et. al.