Hoof boots are akin to sneakers for
humans. They protect, support and absorb shock, without compromising the foot itself. However, boots alone do not stimulate
the sole as well as a naked hoof on dirt, and pads can create that effect. Every boot realy should have some pad insert for
that reason. Boots are still better than metal shoes in that they don't impede natural function, but they are not perfect.
Actually, there is nothing a person can add to the foot to improve on nature, but we can protect from the unnatural problems
we create with the horse's unatural jobs such as jumping with a rider.
Back to pads. Most manufacturers make pads that will fit their particular boot. These are
easily cut to fit to the size you need. There's nothing saying you have to use their pads, though.
Get creative, use materials available or interchange from one brand to the other. The only thing that matters is that you
cater to your horse's needs.
In general, most horses only need a thin, flat pad to meed the sole stimulation and maintain healthy sole. If your horse
is recovering from laminitis or an abscess, his needs may be different. Navicular horses may need more stimulation in the
back of the foot, and a flat pad may not work as well as a pad with extra material under the frog.
Whichever pad you decide to use, make sure they fit the boot. Too small and they slide around inside and don't do their job,
too big and they make the boot fit too tight and aren't comfortable for your horse. If you need help deciding which pad style
you need, consult your hoof care provider.