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


Sprung, Twisted or Bent Shoe


When a shoe is sprung, it is bent away from the hoof at the heel. A sprung or bent shoe usually is caused by being stepped on by a shoe of another hoof, or rarely from the heel of the shoe being caught in a fence or under a rock. In some cases, a bent shoe can simply be the result of poor farriery.

Whatever the cause, a bent or sprung shoe needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Continuing to ride or exercise a horse with a sprung shoe increases the risk of hoof bruising and further injury.

A horse that has sprung a shoe also needs to be assessed for lameness. In some cases, the hoof might be bruised. In others, the torque from the impact of being stepped on by another horse might have injured other structures.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If the horse is lame after springing a shoe.

your role


What To Do

Visually assess the hoof wall for injury. Feel for digital pulse and heat. Assess the horse for lameness at the walk. If the horse is not lame and you do not notice injury, then get your farrier to reset the shoe, and discuss why the problem developed and what might be done to prevent it from happening again. Consider whether the horse is over-reaching or interfering.

If you are on the trail, and the shoe is badly bent, you will need to pull the shoe yourself. This is why it is important to carry a shoe pull-off or nail puller with you on the trail. Once the shoe has been removed and replaced, assess the horse for lameness at the walk and trot. If there is lameness or evidence of other injury, then have your vet examine the horse.

What Not To Do

In most cases, it is unwise to attempt to bend a shoe (that is still nailed onto the foot) back into shape.

your vet's role

Your vet is familiar with the common injuries caused by a sprung shoe and can help identify and treat them. This starts with a lameness exam and assessment of the affected foot.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Do you notice any lameness?
  • Do you notice a digital pulse or heat in the foot?
  • Do you notice any swelling or abnormality in the limb?
  • Will the horse walk freely in hand or do they resist?
  • Is the lameness noticeable to you at the walk?
  • Have you picked the hoof up and examined the walking surface of the hoof?
  • Does the horse show any signs of lameness or resistance to move?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP