A: The first question I ask is “Why?” Why affix a pad to the horse’s hoof? Is it necessary? What is my objective? Is it beneficial to the horse during the shoeing cycle? Will it aid in protection and relief? Is it needed for environmental reasons, such as rocky terrain? Or is there a therapeutic need for it — sole protection, pathology, ligament/tendon issues?
Is the owner jumping on the bandwagon and being influenced by other horse owners? Will the pad hinder the horse’s stability during locomotion? Are the hooves suitable for wearing pads? Are they free of fungal and bacterial infections? These are just a few considerations to think about, with “Why?” being the top one.
Once we departmentalize the why and needs, we can move forward to pad selection. This is easier since all pad manufacturers are very descriptive with their products. Familiarize yourself with various pads, their merits and limitations. These will correlate to the horse’s hooves you are considering placing pads on. Ask other farriers and suppliers for their input. Visualize the application — does it go smoothly or cumbersome? Pad application is not rocket science, but selection and adhering is the difference between failure and success.
Finally, what is your filler or packing under the pad? Revert back to “Why?” and…