Remove false sole or no?


Both of my riding horses (they both get about 30 minutes of dressage training a day) have developed false soles this summer for the first time. It's been hot and dry for the last 2 months.  They  both have  been on jiaogulan for about a year now. One is PPID, the other was diagnosed with navicular last year. They are both sound now. They live on a track so they are moving all the time and they get about 1-2 hours of grass a day.

At first I thought I was seeing some separation of the white line and a very flat sole. But today the hoof pick went under the sole at the point of the frog and I was able to peel the sole off of the PPID horse in one piece. The other horse has had some smaller pieces break off, but not all of it. In general, should a false sole be removed and what is the theory behind the decision? On the "leave it alone" side it seems like it would provide a bit of extra cushion. But in favor of removing it, it seems like thrush could get started under it and removing it has given the hoof  more concavity.

I saw him standing stretch out of times in the last week, so I cut back his grass. Is it possible that he was looking for relief from the bulge caused by the false sole. He showed no signs of lameness while being ridden or moving around the track. After I removed the false sole from the PPID horse he walked away  sound, but it's only been a few hours. I'll know better tomorrow when I ride him if he shows any signs of sensitivity. Should I remove the remaining false sole on the other horse?
Susan in BC 2020
Copper and Ella's Case Histories
Ella's Photos

Lavinia Fiscaletti

Hi Susan,

I wouldn't call that false sole - it's exfoliating sole that was wearing off. This can also happen if there was a sub-solar abscess that separated the layers of sole. Sometimes it comes off in bigger pieces, sometimes it continually wears away. The amount of sole a barefoot horse builds depends on the terrain, the climate and the horse itself and changes all the time. When there is a rapid change from conditions that required more sole (or less concavity) to ones the need less (more concavity), the shedding can become quite obvious.

I tend toward the "leave it in place" school, as it is still protecting sole underneath that may not be quite ready to be exposed. It will usually peel off on its own fairly quickly. If the horse seems to uncomfortable, I'll take it off. If you remove too soon and the horse seems uncomfortable, boot/pad or apply Hoof Armor for a short time until the new sole has had enough time to harden up.

Jan 2005, RI

Moderator/ECIR Support