Your Horse is Foot Sore. Now What?

Bumps, bruises and other trauma to your horse’s feet can leave him feeling “ouchy” and foot sore. If you’ve narrowed the source of pain down to his sole, there are a couple things you can do to help him feel better.

What is the sole?

One of the hardest structures in your horse’s foot is the sole, which protects the bottom of the foot. Ideally, the sole will be about a quarter of an inch thick with a smooth, firm but flexible texture. The thickness of a horse’s sole can vary from more than an inch to less than a sixteenth.

What are some of the common problems that can affect my horse’s sole?
There are several common problems that can affect your horse’s soles.

Stone bruises – Oftentimes, by the time a hoof bruise is visible on the sole, weeks or months have passed since trauma of some sort—from rocky ground, a sharp stone or the like—ruptured a small blood vessel in the foot, leading to a pocket of bleeding within its soft tissues. The most common cause of hoof bruises is traveling at speed over hard, rocky terrain.

Abscess – A pocket of pus trapped within hoof tissues is called an abscess, which can be a sequel to an injury that also causes bruising. It’s important to note that abscesses are a separate physiological process than bruises that require a different approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Thin soles – Thin, sensitive soles can put your horse’s feet at risk for bruising and abscesses. Thin soles can be caused by over-trimming and/or wet environments, while some horses are simply genetically predisposed to thin soles. Horses who bruise or abscess frequently, or who are “ouchy” on rocky footing, may have thin soles. Your farrier can recommend strategies that will help thicken or thin the sole as necessary.

Travel/trailer rides Traveling can be hard on a horse’s feet, and oftentimes horses shipped far distances reach their final destination with tender soles.

How can you combat foot soreness?

There are several different options you may choose when treating a horse with sore soles. It is always best to consult with your vet or farrier before making changes as they may be able to help you narrow down the cause of your horse’s soreness and help you choose the most effective treatment for your horse. Some of the solutions they may suggest are:

  • Adding hoof boots, shoes or pads to give your horse’s soles additional protection
  • Removing your horse from wet or muddy conditions so his sole can dry and toughen
  • Add a quality hoof supplement to help with his overall hoof health
  • Pack his feet with a quality packing proven to ease symptoms associated with hoof concussion and trauma

A quality hoof packing can be key when handling sore soles as well as proactively preventing them. Fast acting and long lasting, Magic Cushion Hoof Packing is proven to provide fast, soothing relief for overworked, overheated hooves. Perfect for use after long rides, during travel or anytime your horse has sore soles, it helps support hoof health in severals ways, working to reduce hoof heat within one hour, while calming sole and frog inflammation and soreness. Magic Cushion is trusted by top farriers, and uses natural ingredients. It can be used as needed, or packed under a shoe and pad and left in place through the shoeing cycle.

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