Q: I have a 5 year old
French Thoroughbred with very thin soles. This horse is always running something
into his sole. I currently live in Kuwait and the farrier services are a bit
primitive. I would like to put pads on him to protect his feet but I don't know
whether leather or plastic is better. Also, do I need to pack the hoof with
something so dirt and other debris doesn't get inside. If so, what do I use? We
don't have access to a good horse supply store here, so if packing is required I
will either have to make it or find some other way. I have tried to toughen his
feet up using a product called Tuff Stuff from the U.S. but it didn't seem to do
A: First you should attempt to
toughen your horse's soles by painting them with Durasole or 7% strength iodine.
Durasole is better. If after 2 or 3 weeks you do not see any improvement, then I
suspect you will have to go to pads. In this case I always prefer leather rather
than plastic pads.
A horse needing pads has to have the bottom of the foot thoroughly cleaned with
hydrogen peroxide and medicated. I use Durasole for this. If you are unable to
get Durasole, your farrier could use iodine. It is not nearly as good but will
On the average horse I normally use a #3 Heavy leather pad. Before the pad is
placed on the foot, I burn 3 holes in it with a round punch. The holes are
placed in the part of the pad which will cover the area of the foot called the
bridge. Next I fit the shoe and copper rivet the leather pad to the shoe. Before
the shoe is applied I fill the cup of the horse's foot from the apex of the frog
forward with Forshner's Hoof Packing. I then nail on the shoe and fill the
remainder of the foot with silicone by injecting it into the commissures of the
frog. I keep injecting it until it oozes out the 3 holes I have burned in the
pad and oozes out the heel. I duct tape the back closed for 3 or 4 hours or over
night to keep it in place until the silicone sets up. The silicone filling the
holes burned in the pad will act as anchors to keep the mass of it from sliding
about in the foot once it has set up.
The products and supplies I mention can be obtained in this country and shipped
anywhere in the world. One good supplier is Centaur Forge Ltd. Their phone
number is 1-414-763-9175. Their address is 117 N Spring St., PO Box 340,
Burlington, WI 53105-0340.
Hope this helps.
The American Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon, USA