Should I have pads put on my horse's feet?

I just moved with my horse across the state, and the ground here is much harder, and way rockier than where we came from, and I noticed pretty quickly that my horse was struggling with it. If it were just the trails, I wouldn't be *quite* so worried, but the arena's on our new ranch obviously weren't... show more I just moved with my horse across the state, and the ground here is much harder, and way rockier than where we came from, and I noticed pretty quickly that my horse was struggling with it. If it were just the trails, I wouldn't be *quite* so worried, but the arena's on our new ranch obviously weren't made very well, and aren't maintained any better. They just have a very shallow (no more than an inch or 2 thick) layer of very course sand mixed with river gravel, sitting on top of hard ground, and have a bunch of fist-sized rocks mixed in. I noticed the other day when I was doing my arena work that my horse was moving like his feet were bothering him, even when we avoided the especially rocky corners.

Realistically, the best solution would be to move to a new ranch with better facilities, I just can't afford it for at least another couple months. In the mean time, I can't not exercise my horse, so I've been looking into ways to help him cope with the rough footing. I spoke to the ranch ferrier today, and he recommended just a simple pad with my next set of shoes (we're due in about another 2-3 weeks).

I don't know much at all about shoe and hoof work, so I was just looking for some other opinions. I've heard of pads being used on horses with navicular issues, but that's about it.

Any and all input as far as horses and tough ground and pads is greatly appreciated.
7 answers 7