Thin soles causing brusing, is there anything I can do? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 02-10-2012, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thin soles causing brusing, is there anything I can do?

My boy has recently been getting bruises on his hooves. The farrier told me a while ago that he had thin soles, but he shouldn't need shoes. I'm starting to question that. I've only had him for 4 months, and he's never worn shoes in his life. He doesn't go lame, but he's not the most sound horse either.

I'm going to give other things a try before I resort to shoes, which I don't have the money for right now.
Are there any supplements I could try?
I know most are for hoof walls, which we don't have any problems with.

Anything else you guys would recommend?
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post #2 of 24 Old 02-10-2012, 12:47 PM
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Is he in muddy ground? That can soften a horse's soles and make them more tenderfooted. since you have only owned him 4 months, think about what has changed in his circumstances from his former life.
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post #3 of 24 Old 02-10-2012, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Is he in muddy ground? That can soften a horse's soles and make them more tenderfooted. since you have only owned him 4 months, think about what has changed in his circumstances from his former life.
Thank you for the reply. Right now it's kind of muddy/mainly snowy. Could snow do that?

I bought him from a summer camp I worked at for years. So I've known him for quite a while. The only thing I see that had changed is that there's a little more gravel when I keep him. The rounds are pretty rough, and he limps on them. However, he's only on them maybe twice a week, for 1-minute intravals walking to the arena
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post #4 of 24 Old 02-10-2012, 04:59 PM
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Thank you for the reply. Right now it's kind of muddy/mainly snowy. Could snow do that?
Yes indeed. Any wetness that a horse stands in will soften the sole, and soft soles are more easily bruised. In very wet times, us old folks brush iodine (betadine) on their soles/frogs everyday. Iodine helps dry/harden the sole as well as protecting against thrush. You can buy betadine is a large bottle and it's cheap.

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post #5 of 24 Old 02-10-2012, 07:27 PM
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Hi,

Yes, protect his feet on hard/rough ground. Conventional metal rims don't protect horse's feet anyway - except from 'protecting' the wall from wearing. I'd opt for hoof boots if possible.

As people have mentioned, environment is important & I'd strive to provide him at least a dry hangout area if his paddock's generally wet. Diet is also vital to healthy feet & low starch is a big factor, as is well balanced nutrition.

If you could post hoof pics & as much info about management etc, we could give you some more specific opinions on what changes you may want to consider. Check out the link in my signature for info on pics.
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post #6 of 24 Old 02-10-2012, 09:22 PM
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Nothing beats a proper trim. Thin soles can cause problems, but flares cause many more. Maybe purchase a used pair of hoof boots to give him some relief during the wetter days so his feet stay dry. Venice turpentine, Durasole, and Farrier's Fix hoof oil all seem to help with sole soreness.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #7 of 24 Old 02-10-2012, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your advice!! I only have one picture of his hoof (and it's not the one that's bruised. But it does show what his hooves look like after it being muddy.) Would you guys like to see it?

He has a trim scheduled for Sunday. So I will ask the farrier for advice. If I remember correctly, it was his hind that is bruised.

Could you guys explain boots a bit more to me? Like how they work and where to purchase them.

I will defiantly try the iodine!

Anything to make him feel better and avoid shoes


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post #8 of 24 Old 02-10-2012, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
As people have mentioned, environment is important & I'd strive to provide him at least a dry hangout area if his paddock's generally wet. Diet is also vital to healthy feet & low starch is a big factor, as is well balanced nutrition.

If you could post hoof pics & as much info about management etc, we could give you some more specific opinions on what changes you may want to consider. Check out the link in my signature for info on pics.
I will post pictures when I get out there (Sunday) as I only have one right now. And it's not the bruised one.

He lives outside with a run in shelter (which they love to poop/piss in)
He has access to free choice on a round bale. And gets 2lbs of strategy a day. He has access to a mineral and salt block, as well as heated waterer. He lives with one other horse in roughly a half acre. I only ride him when it's nice out.. and that's been a few weeks.

Hope that's enough info


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post #9 of 24 Old 02-11-2012, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mselizabeth View Post
Anything to make him feel better and avoid shoes
Owning one thin soled horse myself who has been barefoot for 8+ years, these are my tips (some mentioned before)...

- Keep a good trim on the horse. Talk to your farrier before he starts. Many farriers love to go nuts with the hoof knife, but a thin soled horse needs all the sole it can get. Unless there is a medical reason (e.g. thrush), I would not remove any sole during a trim. If you are considering boots, have your farrier measure while he is out. Boots are great, but can be hard to fit depending on the shape of the hoof.
- As mentioned, wetness is your enemy. Not only does it soften the sole, but on very soft/muddy ground, your horse's sole will come down on all those rocks that are buried in the top few inches of the ground. If possible, find a dry area for your horse and use one of the sole hardeners (Iodine/venice turpentine). You would be amazed that a horse with a bad bruise will be perfectly sound when it's dry, and terribly lame after being in the mud for a day....it makes that much difference.
- A good, well balanced diet (of course).
- Hoof boots will protect the sole and help keep it drier. They also keep mud from packing up under the sole adding to the pressure, especially if you have a lot of terrible red clay like we do. Many boots can be used for both rehab and riding and you can read all about them at EasyCare Inc. | The Leader in Hoof Boots and Natural Hoof Care (a popular brand). For a horse recovering from a sole bruise in pasture situations (non-riding) when it's very wet, I'll wrap the hoof with a diaper and duct tape (similar to treating an abscess) to keep it dry and provide some padding. It's cheap and you don't have to worry about losing expensive boots in the pasture or potential chaffing, but you do have to re-do it every couple days when the horse wears through the duct tape (typically at the heel).

...and finally, be patient, don't give up, and give your horse time to recover. It can easily take 1-2 months to recover from bad sole bruises, but with hardened soles and good care, many thin soled horses can do very well without shoes or even boots (we rarely put boots on our thin soled mare, even on rocky ground).

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post #10 of 24 Old 02-11-2012, 09:54 AM
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We ride in solid rocks in the Arbuckle Mountains in Southern Oklahoma. Out ranch, however, is located 5 miles north of the Arbuckle and is all clay. Our horses also drink from ponds, so their feet are oftentimes softer than they would be if they did not get into the ponds. But, it is what it is.

If I had my choice, my horses would live on the same rocky canyons we ride in -- but they don't. So, we have to keep most of them shod. I have a few really tough footed horses that can go out barefoot for a while and then I use Easyboots on them until they grow out a little more.

Like PaintHorseMares said, do not let a farrier take out any sole. We instruct ours to only use a wire brush on our horses' soles and only cut out any over-grown frog that it ready to shed. Actually, they do not even need a knife when they do our horses, either to trim or shoe.

We have horses that are going over 100 miles a week in the summer -- almost all of it on sharp limestone rocks. Most of them not only need shoes, but wear a set of shoes out in 6 to 8 weeks. We can seldom reset most of them in the spring, summer or fall.

I disagree that a shoe only covers up the wall. Shoes also cover the white line and the sole where it joins the white line. These are the most sensitive parts of the hoof. I have seen many, many horses that could only tippy-toe over a gravel driveway when barefoot and could go out and ride all day in the rocks with simple shoes. A few very thin soled horses may require a shoe with a slightly wider web, but I have not had any that needed pads. They only serve to trap moisture and should be avoided at all costs.

Many (if not most) horses that live on dirt, will not ride on rocks without boots or shoes. If you do leave your horse barefoot, be sure your farrier not only leaves all the sole, but he should also leave the walls a little longer (not trim to the level of the sole like he would if he were putting on a shoe) and 'roll' the wall from the bottom. That is a lot different than rounding them up from the top. The rolled bottom keeps them from chipping and pealing up and helps the horse 'break over' like they should.
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