Farriers' Roundtable

Q: When is it right to use wedge pads?

A: I might use a wedge pad if it is necessary to get the horse’s heel to a natural level. But you have to be careful not to raise the heel past its natural angle, so you don’t cause crushing by putting excessive pressure on the heel when he lands. Don’t raise it too high; it’s just to keep the foot at a natural angle and level.

The horse’s foot will tell you how much lift it needs by its look and the way the horse stands. If he’s straight in the shoulder, he can stand a little more heel. If he’s got more slope to his shoulder, than he doesn’t need more lift in the heels. If you raise him up, you’ll be putting too much pressure on the heels.

I’ve used both wedge pads and wedge shoes, depending on the shoeing interval. The wedge pad works better if you’re going to shoe in shorter intervals because it gives a little more cushion than a steel shoe.

But I’ll use a wedge shoe if the shoeing interval is longer because it doesn’t wear as quickly. A wedge pad will mash down and take away from what you’re trying to accomplish if you don’t change it often enough. You want to keep the heel at the correct angle.

—Don Richardson, Urbana, Ohio

A: I don’t like wedge pads; I’d rather use wedge shoes. Wedge pads allow too much movement. You lose…

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