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TOPIC: Leather or plastic?

Leather or plastic? 12 Jul 2008 20:15 #1

  • HOSSBOSS's Avatar
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When it comes to shoeing with pads i alway's seem to use castle plastic pads. To this day, no one has asked me to shoe their horses with leather pads. They are still as popular right?
I have some leathers in my truck, but haven't found a need for them yet.
Do any of you farriers put on leather pads frequently? Or do you find plastic is more a common thing? Not many shoers round here use leather that much as far as i know. Do you prefere one over the other?
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RE:Leather or plastic? 12 Jul 2008 21:06 #2

Frog support and wedge pads I use plastic. Flat pads and rim pads I only use leather or Ray Steel's plastic/leather (pleather:)) pads. Occasionally I use leather wedge pads, full and bar wedges. It depends. Leather breaths and molds to the bottom of the foot real nice.
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:Leather or plastic? 12 Jul 2008 21:15 #3

  • Rick Burten
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I always prefer leather next to the foot.
Rick Burten PF

In the immortal words of Ron White: "But let me tell you something, folks: You can't fix S-tupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. S-tupid is forever."

Je pense donc je suis
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RE:Leather or plastic? 12 Jul 2008 21:43 #4

I Use Leather Or Plastic Depends On The Horse And What It Does
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RE:Leather or plastic? 12 Jul 2008 23:03 #5

  • calshoer
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The primary reason I use pads is for adding frog support and/or changing bone alignment , so I don't often find much use for flat pads unless it is for adding frog supprt without changing angles. In that case, I will use a frog support pad, which is always plastic.
I have not used a leather pad in about 20 years. I find that leather crushes, deforms and is therefore not very functional for the support purposes I need after a few weeks. Nor it is as protective on sharp Colorado rocks as good quality plastic. Plastic holds it's form and supportiveness.
I pack under most of my pads with sole pack and oakum, so the feet stay very healthy without leather pads.
Patty Stiller CNBF,CLS
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RE:Leather or plastic? 13 Jul 2008 01:46 #6

  • solidrockshoer
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I agree with Patty completely, plus a rock is a rock, so no matter where it's located if a horse steps on one the plastic protects best. ;) The popularity of leather has dwindled over the course of my career and I rarely come across them set by others, leading me to believe that leather isn't used as much as it once was. Always pack under the pads with a good hoof pack or oakum for health of hoof and prevention of debris collecting under the pad.
Now if I could only get some clients to accept that "pads for life" is not a good thing. :eek:
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RE:Leather or plastic? 13 Jul 2008 15:34 #7

  • vthorseshoe
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I use a leather pad for normal use, but my first question is ALWAYS what type of terrain do you have or ride on ? (we grow rocks in Vermont)

I use plastic pads when applying scotchbottoms, but in most other situations I use leather.
But don't forget the leather I use is much thicker than what you use on riding horses.

I agree with Patty and John on their views.

my 2 cents worth ;)
"you may not like what I say" !
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006

I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
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RE:Leather or plastic? 13 Jul 2008 17:54 #8

  • Bill Adams
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vthorseshoe wrote:

I agree with Patty and John on their views.

my 2 cents worth ;)

I agree with Bruce.

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:Leather or plastic? 13 Jul 2008 21:01 #9

  • ray steele
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I started out almost always using leather pads next to the hoof. In winter ,because of the usual New England weather conditions I would switch to plastic, either flat or sno bubble.

For economy sake some years ago for a few years I went complete was by my observations that I switched back to leather. What I observed was that whenever I removed a plastic pad, no mater what I used for packing, Forschners, pine tar and oakum,silicone, etc., there was always moisture on the hoof side of the pad and the hoof was slimy, it may have been the same with a leather pad,but the leather may have absorbed the moisture so that I did not see it. I have presumed that this water issue was condensation. This was my observation on hoofs that were stalled,in deep bedding or horses in the field,and usually had a highly aromatic stench to them.The stench I began to attribute to the hoof just being closed up without air circulation.

the other and what i consider important observation that I made was that plastic appeared to be abrasive to the hoof. by this I mean that the heels seem to be worn away or non existant on many of the horses that I put plastic next to the hoof, something that I didn/t remember seeing when leather was used.

I wedged my own leather pads when i thought they were needed, they worked great for a horse on the crossties ,1st trip to the wash rack or thru a puddle and the set up was quickly becoming a flat pad.
Plastic wedges and degree pads always seemed to give me less natural heel than when I started.Again what I attribute to the abrasiveness of plastic. Hearing folks talk about their use of plastic pads in rough terrian seems to bear this observation out in my mind.

Now i use leather or a leather plastic with the leather next to the hoof almost exclusively, in winter,often times I go straight plastic,but just as often times I slide a leather pad or rim in and cover it with a bubble pad or a urethane(a type of plastic )rim pad. The leather seems to let the hoof transpire thru it but again I don't feel that it is as abrasive. The leather/plastic pads give me the best of both worlds and the ability to have built in prostetics when needed.I prefer leather next to the hoof but believe that each farrier/horseshoer,iron hanger should experiment and use what best meets the needs of his clients and area.


Ray Steele
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