At times, there are good reasons for using a plate to cover the sole area of a horse’s foot. It may be to protect a bruised sole or frog or for keeping medication in the proper place.
While a plastic or leather pad will often do the same job, a pad can’t be removed and then replaced. The only way to remove it would be to cut it out with a knife, which means that it can’t be replaced.
An alternative is to use a peekaboo plate or a hospital plate, both of which are easily removable and replaceable. While both kinds of protective plates will do the same job, they do it in different ways. Your choice should depend on the particular hoof conditions.
A hospital plate is an aluminum plate, shaped to fit a horseshoe that is bolted onto the ground surface of the horseshoe. While any kind of shoe can be used, an aluminum shoe is the usual choice because its extra thickness allows more threads to be tapped in the shoe for the bolts that will hold the shoe and plate together. Since the entire plate comes off the shoe, the entire bottom of the foot is exposed for doctoring.
However, the downside of using a hospital plate is that since the plate is bolted to the ground side of the horseshoe, the plate is in direct contact with the ground. That may not be to important for a horse confined to a stall…