Frog support pads can help turn around sore-footed horses quickly by engaging the frog and promoting foot growth.

Hoof Pads Offer Versatile Sole Protection

Application can promote hoof growth, but improper use can cause problems

Pads are a versatile and beneficial tool in a farrier’s arsenal. Although they are primarily used for protecting the bottom of the foot, pads can also provide concussion relief and enhance movement

The resourcefulness of pads can be seen in the everyday work of farriers. According to the 2020 American Farriers Journal Farrier Business Practices Survey, 20% of horses are shod with pads, while pour-in pads are applied weekly by 61% of farriers.

Bob Smith of Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif., led a discussion with attendees on the use of pads during a How-To Hoof-Care Product Knowledge Clinic, sponsored by Castle Plastics, at the 2022 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Is Something Wrong?

While hoof pads are common today, they weren’t always a welcome application in some corners. They were seen as a tool of a substandard farrier.

Farrier Takeaways

  • Engaging the frog with support pads can help a tender-footed horse under the right circumstances.
  • Padded horses in sand arenas should be on shorter shoeing schedules to avoid collecting debris.
  • Placing a frog support pad too far in front of the frog can create too much pressure and cause problems for the horse.
  • Soak and nail on leather pads while wet to help preserve your clinches and avoid lost shoes.

“Early on in my career, it seemed like farriers would say there’s something wrong with your horses if you were using pads,” an attendee recalls. “I fell into that trap for a long time and found that…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the editor of American Farriers Journal.

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