by Todd Allen
Certified Journeyman Farrier
Seal out moisture and debris
Timed event horses can perform at their greatest potential when their feet don’t hurt. Some injuries may be career limiting, while others may be painful, but preventable.
When a horse’s performance is hindered, it may be difficult to identify the source, even when a strong team is involved in the horse’s care. The list of considerations is vast. For timed event horses, in particular, there are specific top line issues to acknowledge.
Pain may be a result of anything ranging from a simple bruise to navicular issues. A treatment alternative that can be beneficial for many equine hoof issues, especially for timed event horses, is the application of a custom pour-in arch support like Vettec’s Equi-Pak
is a liquid urethane adhesive that sets quickly and produces soft, resilient supportive pad materials. This pour-in pad material can be easily applied to any horse in a variety of ways and provides an immediate bond to the sole, sealing out moisture and debris.
How and Why Does a Pour-in Pad Help?
If a horse has a bruised arch, lack of support will allow the arch to move each time the horse bears weight on the foot. If positive pressure is applied to that damaged and inflamed area, it will cause pain. The best way to provide comfort is using a custom arch support. This type of support will minimize movement within that area and allow for a speedy recovery.
Optimal arch support is achieved by having a healthy frog and sole on a hoof. When a shoe is applied, the frog and sole move away from the ground, so it’s crucial to assure that there is arch support. When there is proper arch support and protection for the hoof, there will be minimal internal hoof damage and maximum healing ability.
On a higher heeled horse, the frog can be more recessed in the hoof. By utilizing pour-in pads, horses gain stimulation and engage the frog, making it healthy and functioning. High-heeled horses, like Quarter Horses, are prone to develop navicular disease, largely a result of lack of support to the hoof’s internal structures, which can cause damage over time. Pour-in pads will help to support even weight distribution throughout the hoof. This minimizes compression on the heel on a low angled hoof and on the toe of a high--heeled hoof, thereby allowing more even growth.
Some believe that pour-in pads will cause less traction for timed event horses. The irony is, most of the time, there’s more traction with a pour-in pad than without one. Rob Pine, a longtime farrier, uses pour-in pads when he feels it is beneficial, whether it be for his wife’s barrel horses or his team roping horses. His wife won the IPRA last year with Vettec’s Equi-Pak applied on her horse.
Here are a few scenarios where pour-in pads can benefit timed event horses:
– When a horse has poured pads, the hoof is healthier and the environmental effect is minimized (i.e. collecting debris). This allows for a more exposed shoe on the ground surface than a non-poured horse.
– Pour-in pads can mitigate sore front or hind feet so that the horse does not compensate or change its stride, which can cause a trip, stumble or slip. Subtle discomfort on any part of a horse’s body will cause compensatory problems.
– Directing a horse to turn or flex in any direction while in pain will result in less precision than otherwise possible. Pour-in pads can help ease the pain.
Although pour-in pads may not fix every issue, with proper application, sound trimming and shoeing principals incorporated, it will address many common lameness injuries. The pour-in pad technique can contribute to the wellness of an equine athlete.
Applying a pour-in pad is easy and fast. Products like Equi-Pak
set within 30 seconds. Ask your farrier if it is right for your horse.