What is your preferred method for using a wedge?
Here are a few examples of the different methods for using a wedge, we will use a wedge without frog support periodically but usually if the hoof needs a wedge, there is a good reason why!
Just adding a open heeled wedge shoe can immediately help the palmar angle and it can work for a while, but you can have more problems down the road. Example: putting more pressure on an already stressed heel. Usually when you need to apply a wedge is because of there is something wrong with the heels, digital cushion and/or the entire hoof. By adding frog/ heel support you now have the ability to float and load the heels which will help and promote healthier heel growth.
Where things get tricky is when the horse is a performance horse in a speed event such as barrel racing, team roping, etc. Some packages can become too bulky and riders will complain about their horses becoming slow footed/heavy in their front end, or losing shoes can also be an issue as well on those horses.
For example the shoe in the center of the collage. This is a PRCA head horse that was lame with sore heels when we first met, it was wearing an open heeled aluminum wedge shoe. We applied a full wedge pad with frog support and floated the heels. The horse went pretty much instantly sound and did well for several months. When the horse went back to rodeoing they were of course going fast and pulling shoes became an issue. So we modified a St. Croix Advantage Aluminum Wedge shoe into a heart bar by welding in a frog plate which still allowed us to float the heels and transfer the load to the frog/rest of the hoof. The horse did outstanding in that package! Shoe lose pretty much stopped and they went on later to win the average at the National Finals Rodeo!
That was just one instance, as for the rest of the packages there is a story and a reason for every shoe. Every horse, every situation, is a little bit different. We believe that if you want to be able to help every horse that you meet, you need to be able to adapt to that individual situation.
“Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods”
Lee Olsen CJF