What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Newborn Foal, Soft, Feathery Tissue on Feet


Soft, rubbery tissue on the bottom of a newborn's hooves is normal. During late gestation, a soft cushion of deciduous (transient) hoof capsule develops. This padding is thought to protect the mare's uterus from damage during late-term pregnancy and foaling. After a foal is born and begins walking, this tissue wears off quickly on the ground.

Various names have been given to this tissue including fairy slippers, golden hooves, foal slipper, leaves, gills, and fingers.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • For a routine post-partum examination of foal, mare and placentae.

your role


What To Do

Assess the foal's general attitude, appetite and the appearance of the limbs and feet otherwise, as you would with any normal newborn. As long as the foal seems normal otherwise, you need not do anything.

However, if you have other concerns about a newborn foal, always contact your vet immediately. I recommend a veterinary newborn foal exam for every new foal. Your vet sees things you might not. That exam is an opportunity to catch things early.

your vet's role

Your vet will examine the newborn foal, mare and placenta and be sure that all is as it should be.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Will a veterinarian perform a post-partum exam on mare, foal, placenta?
  • Does the foal appear bright, alert and responsive?
  • When do you think the foal was born?

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP