Love Them Or Hate Them, Wedge Pads Are Effective Tools

Correct application keeps tendons, ligaments and bones functioning properly

If you’re in the mood for a spirited discussion, ask a farrier a simple question: What’s your opinion of wedge pads? The odds are pretty good that you’ll find strong feelings about their use.

Some farriers have a sharp aversion to wedge pads for a simple reason — there is a greater probability that horseshoes can be pulled off due to increased length of the shoe and weight of the package. This in turn heightens the likelihood that the foot becomes damaged, making it even more difficult to keep the shoe on. Despite this concern, the use of wedge pads should be considered as one of the effective tools in a farrier’s hoof-care practice.

The Case Against Wedge Pads

Other common complaints against wedge pads include:

  • Can trap dirt and debris that can create pressure, which can cause soreness.
  • Add to shoeing expenses, making it difficult for some clients to pay.
  • Can seal the foot, encouraging anaerobic bacteria to grow if it is present.
  • Can contribute to further crushing of the heels.
  • Can reduce traction.
  • Can make nailing more difficult.

While all these things are valid concerns in general, they can be dealt with and overcome.

Why Do Wedge Pads Cause Problems?


The goal in trimming is to position the coffin bone wings parallel with the ground and 3 to 8 degrees higher than the toe.

Problems most often arise when wedge pads are not properly applied. The biggest mistakes in order of frequency include:

  • Failing to provide frog support…
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Red Renchin

Red Renchin is a long-time farrier who calls Mequon, Wis., and Wellington, Fla. home. A native of Minnesota and a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame, he serves as Technical Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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