Ethylene-vinyl acetate — better known as memory foam — is noted for its softness and flexibility. Manufacturers use it for mattresses, pillows and shoe liners to provide comfort and support for human consumers. Lake Elmo, Minn., farrier Scott Lampert uses them for the same reasons with horses.
When a horse has a need for a removable orthotic, Lampert places the lightweight memory foam pad under a shod foot (Figure 1) and picks up the opposite foot so the shoe imprints on the pad. After the horse loads the pad, the imprint of the shoe is clear.
Employing his hoof knife, Lampert cuts out the inner section of imprint (Figure 2). This oval section can be used as a temporary orthotic. Lampert uses these memory foam pads, which are approximately an inch thick, for show horses with sore, weak or fatigued feet after a hard day of training or showing.
“These pads are also extremely valuable for laminitic emergencies and can be used on unshod feet, as well,” he says. “It’s easy to grind mechanics into the pad to offer the horse the greatest relief.”
Once the orthotic is cut out, Lampert picks up the foot and fits it over the sole, in between the branches of the shoe, and presses the memory foam into the void (Figure 3). The pad is kept in place by a flexible bandage (Figure 4). He watches the horse walk after applying the pad to ensure that the horse is comfortable.
Read more hoof-care tips from Lampert by reading about how he balances a horse’s foot using the golden ratio, exclusively in December’s issue of American Farriers Journal.
Do you have a helpful tip you would like to share with other farriers? Send them to Jeff Cota at firstname.lastname@example.org.