Q: I have a 14 year old
quarter horse who is typical in that he has a large body and small feet. A
little over a year ago he was diagnosed with a suspensory tendon tear. Well, it
has been a very long process but he seems to finally be back to somewhat normal.
He seems most comfortable and sound with a wedge pad. I have been hearing
conflicting stories on the wedge pads; my vet recommended them but I have heard
that they can be bad for the horse's tendons. What are your feelings?
Thanks so much.
veterinarians, leading equine educators and highly respected farriers throughout
the world oftentimes prescribe wedge pads, my feelings on their use are
My attitude against wedge pads is based on seeing the results of them in my 48
years of shoeing. Those results have been pretty consistent for as long as I can
remember. There were a few horses that benefited from them. In the long run,
however, most of the horses that appeared to benefit from wedge pads either
broke down tendon-wise or totally eliminated nearly all heel they may have
possessed before wearing the wedge pads.
I have found that the most successful way for me to shoe for a number of
tendon/ligament injuries, including suspensory tears, is the dropped down egg
bar shoe which is pictured on my Q&A entitled Bowed
Tendon on Hind Leg. When elevating the heel is called for, I have found it
best to do so with iron, or steel if you will, horseshoes. It is not my intent
to slam those companies making wedge pads, or for that matter those companies
making wedged aluminum shoes of which I am also not a fan. I have other Q&As
addressing the wearing of pads, and you should be sure to read them. If there is
any way that I can avoid putting on pads, I do so. There are times when I must
put on pads, but never wedge pads. I have also addressed the reasons for using
egg bar shoes in other Q&As. If you have more questions after reading these,
please e-mail me again about what you do not understand and I will attempt to
explain these things to you more fully.
I hope my suggestions assist you.
The American Blacksmith