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Equine Health Resource

Wound or Laceration from Overreach Injury

When at speed, a horse over reaches with a hind foot and contacts the skin of the pastern or heel bulb on a front limb, a wound may result. These wounds are usually mild to moderate, but can be severe.

These injuries often involve the skin of the heel bulb and usually are “U” shaped skin flaps. Horses may be “stung” for a period after sustaining one of these, showing sudden lameness that usually resolves quickly depending on the severity of the injury.

Certainly, hooves that are overgrown contribute to over reaching injury. Whether a horse has a tendency to over reach is in large part a question of conformation. Horses with relatively long hind legs and short backs tend to do this, and those that track far forward with the hind limbs.


  • Can shoeing or trimming alter the way my horse's limb moves and make this less likely?

    A horse's tendency to over reach is to a great extent conformational, but shoeing and trimming does have an effect on the arc of flight of the hooves. The heels and coronet bands can be protected from interference and over reaching with bell boots.

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    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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