Hoof Wall is Pulling Away from Sole

Q: My Thoroughbred was slightly lame for 3 weeks. He seemed fine out in the pasture, but was definitely sore when worked in the arena. I’m not sure if it was because he just had his shoes pulled or because the ground recently froze and his feet needed time to adjust without shoes.

I pulled his shoes because his feet seem to become healthier when they haven’t been on for a while. Since it’s winter, I don’t ride as often and the shoes don’t get worn down.

When his shoes are on, he often pulls them and some of his hoof off because he has weak hoof walls. His hoof wall splits away from the rest of his hoof, resulting in something that looks like thrush, but doesn’t have the smell.

Is there something that I can do to prevent his hoof wall from pulling away from his sole? Should I put shoes back on his feet or leave him barefoot and let his feet adjust and heal? 

He was last trimmed in early December and although he is no longer lame, he doesn’t extend quite like he used to. 

— Nicole Smith

A: Thanks for taking the time to send me some pictures. Your horse has fairly flat feet, which is why he probably had some issues with soundness when the shoes were removed.

The extension issue may have to do with the feet still being sore if the foot is loaded in the usual manner or due to…

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