Hoof Lameness: Readers Share Common Complaints

More than 910 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What type of hoof lameness have you experienced with your horse?"

results of poll on hoof lameness

Results were as follows: 

  • Abscess: 74.45% (679)
  • Sole bruise: 54.06% (493)
  • Laminitis: 38.49% (351)
  • Other: 23.03% (210)
  • Navicular: 19.96% (182)
  • Sheared/Contracted Heels: 15.35% (140)

Readers shared their experiences with hoof lameness in the comments below.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

Look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!


  • Lyme disease almost killed my horse with Laminitis complications-took 2 years for him to recover
  • The most important thing I did first was pull his shoes 8 yr. ago. Then seeking natural hoof rehab.
  • knock on wood not a one of the above for 20 years.
  • Trimmed way too short by a barefoot trim. Cost me over $500 so she could walk.
  • all horses with problems developed prior to acquisition, successfully managed with non-traditional m
  • White Line
  • He used to be navicular. Removed shoes and he was fine after about a year. However, his sole is thin
  • broken splint bone.. you name it and i've probably had it happen to me.
  • white line disease
  • abscessed, got seedy, broke up, need to keep up trimming to reduce stress, leading to break up.
  • thrush
  • lyme disease
  • given a horse, lame duck, vet said 'no' i accepted horse and farrier fixed / high abscess./ took 6m
  • chipping of the hooves
  • Hoof wall transection
  • Squamous cell carcinoma - not the white line or keratoma initially suspected - was in a white hoof
  • unclear issue; and rope burn
  • i have (regretfuly) had to dealwith all of these issues with a number of horses I have owned.I am ve
  • hocks injected
  • Being a natural barefoot trimmer and running a small rescue, I have seen it all.
  • trim short on back
  • white line
  • we are a rescue and have seen most lameness types
  • severe stone bruise from galloping on a road-dumb horse
  • thrush in an older horse only
  • thin soles
  • thin soles
  • club foot & white line
  • club foot with navicular, corns , thin soles requiring theraputic front shoeing in 27 yr. AQHA gelding
  • White line
  • mare is 26 years and sometimes plays too hard
  • Crack that ran up into the coronet band.
  • White Line Disease
  • sore front feet after a trim, separation of the white line from the hoof wall
  • thrush
  • thrush
  • White line disease
  • a dime size hole cut into the sole of a hoof by a farrier when his knife slipped
  • Farrier took off way too much sole
  • heel thrush that "ate" into flesh and made the foot very tender - not your regular thrush
  • bad blacksmith (never again) beware of credentials
  • white line
  • both are bad to deal with. pain is the hardest issue to resolve.
  • distal descent
  • cracked hoofs
  • My mare has cronic foot abscesses. My farrier says its because her feet get wet and then dry inside.
  • rocks on dirt roads.
  • White Line Disease
  • ringbone
  • pedal osteitis
  • I have 4 horses and have experienced no hoof lameness. They are barefoot, turned out as much as pos
  • sore after too much spring grass, not quite laminitis
  • suspensory ligaments
  • white line disease
  • Broken coffin bone (Wing fracture), full recovery!
  • wall breakage - it happens a lot - keep trimmed short - and sometimes front shoes to help
  • torque injuries, simple soft tissue injuries
  • laminitis is the worst, with no good predictable outcome
  • Sidebone, Ringbone
  • horse will not put a lot of pressure on hing leg
  • enthesiophyte/bone chip in or nearimpar ligament
  • Sore feet for no apparent reason or cause. Vet and farrier unable to diagnois still after 3 years
  • Pedal Osteitis
  • Servere under run heels
  • club foot
  • Trimmer discovered a year-old abscess in my horse's hoof that I was never aware of!!
  • white line disease
  • crack
  • Horse is Insulin Resistant - did not know-until Laminitis
  • My horse is sound and healthy, but I am always concerned about her feet due to an old injury.
  • I have two horses that get sore feet if I feed them even a little alfalfa hay
  • Horse came with thrush- tea tree icthmal,soaks abcess mild,Farir,absec return much blood farr,shod
  • bars grew into frog
  • Shod incorrectly for so many years that I had to train to walk correctly after pulling shoes
  • It can easily be miss diagnosed as navicular
  • low heel, long toe
  • deep digital flexor tendon
  • Founder
  • Abscess keeps coming back - toe of left hind
  • coronet band laceration resulting in hoof malformation
  • ringbone
  • Limited grazing--no laminitis in six years.Keep hooves dry during wet season helps control abscesses
  • Spring too soft feet sore after long haul
  • degenerative joint disease in one horse, spavin in another older horse
  • Work with a horse rescue -- we see pretty much everything!
  • tendon/ligament injury and back related problems
  • One horse stepped on something sharp and developed an infection, the other had thrush in his hoof
  • Sheared heel,toes in,had a knee fracture at one time
  • Nail in mid foot 2.25 inches deep. punctured naviculer bursa and DDFT
  • Most all of these problems with different horses
  • White Line Disease -- It took 1 year to cure & grow out the resected hoof wall.
  • no bruise seen, just tender feet without shoes
  • lots of abscesses
  • Corns from badly-fitted shoes
  • Never with my horses. But I have experience with other horses with these conditions.
  • Sore after a routine trim
  • Beware the "easy keeper"
  • Hoof was trimed too short on the outside and caused puled tendon.
  • Half Haflinger pony with PPID; even with dry lot, Pergolide, we fight laminities every spring.
  • soft soles
  • Broken Coffin bone
  • Thrush that entered deep in collateral groove, so it went deep and wasn't visible on surfa
  • hocks fusing
  • thrush. It gets deep into the colleral grooves and buries itself under the frog.
  • FRACTURED COFIN BONES
  • fixed the navicular (lollipops..the whole shebang) using gallium nitrate.
  • Thrush
  • white line disease and thrush
  • I have a donkey who is always going to have these problems till she dies.
  • Both horses on barefoot trim, but had 1 with sole bruise after he galloped thru gravel (on his own).
  • 37 years of horse ownership and currently two C/IR minis
  • Welsh pony that began with Cushing.IR symptoms at age 6. She is now 12. Dr. Kellon's diet, she's
  • quarter cracks, punctures
  • Usually in the spring, due to the wet/cold then dry weather.
  • Quarter crack. Horse not lame. Tried patch and bar shoe. Now normal shoe, regular trim, light work
  • soreness after trims
  • 32 year old mare had a stone bruise with an abscess, epsom salt soak, drawing salve, and then draine
  • seedy toe, also got new horse with neglected feet
  • side bones
  • changing from shoes to barefoot brought problems but now strong hooves
  • Wire scars
  • over-trimmed sole
  • none...good ol arabian feet
  • OMGosh an abcess that lasted for over 2 years!! Cushing's related )-:
  • I'm tired of people giving horses to youth programs that aren't rideable!
  • Fractured wing tip of the coffin bone
  • I have one horse that got a 'puncture' to her sole from a farrier who cut out to much-i never return
  • never had a lame horse in over 30 years
  • wet,muddy winter-gelding eventually popped abscesses in all four feet.
  • stepped on a nail
  • pedal osteitis in a show pony
  • Farrier sole trim
  • Unfortunately I have had horses' feet hurt by bad farrier work9WHY DIDN'T YOU HAVE A CATEGORY FOR TH
  • none
  • a mule walking on a total broken fetlock!
  • quarter crack
  • Osteitis
  • tender feet, sound on soft ground, not on stoney paths
  • I'm a farrier, in 30 year business , absess is the most common that I have seen, second is sole bruise
  • chronic thrush
  • has a crack in rear foot and bacteria got in and caused an abscess. it came out through the crack
  • I switched farriers & my horse got them for the first time
  • After learning how to reverse Laminitis, I have saved 6 other horses w/the signs...
  • my horse has had chronic abcesses in his right front hoof for over a year. no matter what has been t
  • abcess same area twice about 8 mmonths apart
  • pedal osteitis
  • over zellous trimming by professionals and others
  • Stepped on nail
  • none that I know of
  • fx coffin bone
  • sore toe on barefoot horse with club foot. (putting her shoes back on took care of it)
  • keratoma, pedal bone fractures, pedal osteoitis,
  • infected frog
  • From a bruise in the frog,
  • low heel confirmation and coffin bone inflamation
  • flat feet lameness due to hard ground , use a boot for protection
  • Farrier taking off abit too much, switched to 'natural foot' and no sore !
  • I am now my own trimmer and horses have fewer problems than before
  • Arthritis lameness and puncture wound
  • Laminitis in drafty mustang mare, related to ferrier work-trimmed too short!
  • TB mare. Not much heel. Gave Biotin 20 mg per day & farrier prevented rotated coffin bones.
  • new farrier trimmed my mare's hooves too short,
  • trimmed to short by a natural hoof care person
  • quarter crack
  • No problems with current horse...all from past experiences
  • Bruised from going barefoot on trails; use hoof boots now so no problems since.
  • Icelandic had Laminitis before in 2001
  • I have dealt with abscesses and founder in 2 different horses.
  • Nail prick from farrier.
  • My horse is just healing from a sole bruise and also has navicular syndrome
  • Knock on wood, None! I have never had to deal with lameness,. Been riding for 48 years.
  • Owning numerous horses results in different issues.
  • Also, "gravel" and puncture wounds.
  • None after I quit with the 'natural' farrier.
  • torn right portion from toe to heel
  • My palomino has thin walls and cracks easily
  • Hidden thrush
  • Not all with the same horse!
  • narrowing of joint capsules in pastern to fetlock area, calcification of ligaments,rotated coffin bn
  • thrush
  • My donkey--dropped soles on both fronts due to a high fever/nearly impossible to trim/no hoof wall.
  • Founder
  • founder then contra founder; euthanized after 6 months of care
  • poor shoeing led to Nav and contracted heels, H now barefoot and improving and being ridden again
  • Quarter crack, underrun heel. dropped sole.
  • Had a wet winter - 3 abscesses!
  • excessive hoof growth
  • I bought a mare with navicular to save her
  • Put down an incredible trail horse just 2 wks ago with unresolvable ringbone
  • farrier lack of knowledge
  • Retired thoroughbred racehorse with weak hooves.
  • Vet and farrierworked together and the horse became perfectly sound and competed successfully
  • Thin soles
  • botched trim from farrier - trimmed sole and horse very sore
  • hot nail
  • Fungus
  • Nail up frog through digital cushion. Previous landowner dumped trash on property! :(
  • punctures
  • avulsed quarter
  • Laminitis leaves hooves more susceptible to abcesses.
  • deep infected frog causing heel tenderness
  • White Line
  • Only 1 abscess in 15+ years. But my horses are barefoot and turned out 24/7, which is a huge factor
  • Farrier trimmed too short, and my horse has flat feet.
  • Very occasional abcesses; some horses more prone to them. Laminitis in 30+ year old Cushings horse.
  • from a rock that got lodged
  • White line seperation
  • underrun heels
  • White line disease/resected hooves
  • High nail
  • sidebone
  • torn heel
  • Abscess caused by too short a trim. Sole bruises on rescued TB who had racing plates pulled.
  • Sole bruise from over zealous trim--ouch!
  • shoer trimmed to much
  • broken coffin bone in rear foot
  • nail puncture wound
  • no hoof problems at all just rope burns on pasterns once none of my horses have ever worn shoes .
  • ringbone
  • Ringbone
  • An abscess which started at the toe and went the heal. Had to cut out to heal.
  • Abscess and Navic when shod YRS ago. No lameness since barefoot - many YRS
  • . We encountered most of the ones on the list and “White Line Diseaseâ€ï¿½.
  • feet trimmed too short
  • sore feet from worn down hooves - concrete and sand. We put shoes on him to solve the problem
  • result of high fever - vet doesn't know why - vet rec put down, but didn't - working w/ barefoot far
  • septic pedal bone
  • Being a farrier I have seen a lot of bad feet and with this bad economy it is getting worse.
  • Problems with clubed hooves
  • stick in hoof adjacent to coffin bone
  • Horse cut too short by vet, then trainer rode and bruised it, abcess took a month to sort out.
  • deep thrush causing heel pain
  • Pre-founder reaction to spring grasses and over-eating.
  • sole bruise led to abscess. abscess led to laminitis. horse recovered in three months.
  • thrush induced
  • she must have found something to step on and had the largest abcess the vet had seen all week.
  • thrush
  • Nail puncture
  • white line disease
  • We had to put our 15 yo paint mare down last year laminitus rotation 19 degrees
  • I have a 4 year old quarter horse. One day he acted lame. Vet check came back with Navicular.
  • Cut bulb of heel on a bent metal tab on a closed gate.
  • stocking up
  • one abcess after severe mud season - that's 1 in 4 horses & years of equine ownership.
  • White Line Disease, resulting in lamness
  • With six horses of varying ages and conformations, hoof stuff happens
  • white line disease that cause hoof wall seperation
  • quicked by farrier
  • Have had part of hoof torn off
  • Thrush
  • nail in sole
  • Thrush
  • crack in flared hoof
  • Quarter crack in my Arab froma coronet injury
  • thin soles, no heel
  • My horse once found a stray roofing nail and stepped squarely on it.
  • dealing with thrush right now due to damp weather all winter and mud
  • Torn DDFT below P3 bone. Diagnosed with MRI.
  • She was just diagnosed this week. Meds and corrective shoes was recommended
  • Ringbone
  • puncture
  • Inexperienced Farrier
  • thrush, white line disease
  • Soft soles, new purchases with crumbling feet
  • all of the above and more but have had GREAT turn arounds w/barefoot performance trim
  • puncture wound on sole
  • Ferrier trimming
  • quarter cracks
  • pedialostioitis(spelling?)/flat feet
  • gravel
  • We have 2 older mares, abcesses/laminitis frequently
  • fractured sole
  • road founder
  • club foot
  • Coffin/Navicular fractures, Mesquite Thorn Abcesses
  • thrush
  • nails when shod,low copper, infrequent trimming when barefoot. Barefoot trims4-5 wks.stopped them.
  • Founder, sinking. Too fat horses, too many rocks in NE.
  • Abscess at the coronary band. Trimmed toes short to take the stress off. No problems since. Barefoot
  • Sole bruises developed at the end of winter, responded well to bute and soaking in epsom salts.
  • Tender sole due to wet
  • thrush
  • Chronic soft tissue soreness in heel area. No navicular changes in bone. Using heart bar shoes.
  • quarter crack
  • Thrush
  • none!
  • Abscesses in a horse that paws was cured by shoeing her.
  • coffin joint abnormalty
  • Inflamed coffin bones in both fronts from too long toe/thin, flat soles. Pads/rocker shoes helped.
  • Absolutely none of that. I trim my own horses.
  • false sole
  • 3 conditions with 3 separate horses
  • High Ringbone with Sesmoidean ligament torn off bone.
  • One's been little lame for years, shoulder injury is best guess.
  • I have used maggots for foot abscesses.
  • FRACTURE OF P-3
  • deep digital flexor tendon injury
  • my horse's frog (hind leg) had a 5 cm long nail puncture wound. Took 6 weeks to heal. He's ok now!

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners