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


Sole of Hoof, Red Discoloration Visible


A freshly pared and clean sole is translucent, like pale skin. Your farrier will often find bruises in the sole as they trim. If there has been injury that has bled into the tissue under the sole, it is visible as a red discoloration, a bruise. This can happen from an impact or pressure to the sole from a shoe or pad. It is more common in horses that have thin and flat soles. Bruising is often present along the white line in horse that have laminitis or mechanical tearing of the laminae. In many cases, despite obvious bruises on the sole, there is no lameness present.

There is value in your farrier identifying these bruises, trying to understand their cause and trying to minimize the factors that contributed to them. If lameness is present, your farrier may need to involve your vet. These bruises are not visible unless significant dry sole is pared away. For barefoot horses, this paring is not necessary. Leaving a significant hard, dry bridge of sole is often considered advantageous.
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your role


What To Do

your vet's role

Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Do you notice any lameness?
  • Do you notice a digital pulse or heat in the foot?
  • Does your horse have a history of lameness?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP