Monday, July 16, 2012

False Sole?

I was planning on riding Lilly today, but those plans were dashed when I started picking out her hooves. I haven't ridden her in a while, but I have been grooming her and I have been picking out her hooves, so when things change, I notice. It had been about three days since I spent any real time with her and it seems like her hooves have grown like crazy over the past couple days. When I last picked them out, I figured I'd need to trim them soon, but today I knew I needed to do it now!

So I got to work and now I know how my trimmer feels when it's hot as blue blazes outside and she's rasping like crazy. I had sweat dripping everywhere! It's time for a new rasp and a pair of nippers for real!

The first thing I noticed when I started in with my hoof knife was that Lilly's soles were very strange looking. I always lightly run my hoof knife over her sole to knock down the high spots and when I did, giant patches of sole fell off. I've never seen such a thing in real life and assumed this is the false sole I hear everyone talking about... were her soles exfoliating?

Unfortunately, since I wasn't planning on doing hoof care today, I didn't have my camera with me. Attempts with my iPhone camera turned out awful, so I gave up. I've seen some pictures of horses with false sole and there are huge cracks, but Lilly's looked more like thin layers laying over each other. Similar to this picture I stole from Progressive Horse:

Flaky, false sole.
It came off very easily, and the sole underneath it looked really nice, so I lightly scraped off as much of it as I could without digging into it. I started doing some research after I got home and some of the stuff I read said to leave the false sole alone.

So did I screw up by taking it off, or is it okay to remove the pieces that come off easily? She only had the false sole on her front hooves and not her hinds, so I'm curious as to why it was there. Is it a good thing, or something that indicates I'm not doing something right? We had a few straight weeks of nothing but hot, dry weather, and then it rained for about four days straight. Could something like that have caused the flaky sole?

She was a bit of a booger while I was trimming her, but she seemed happy and content when I was done, so I wonder if it was bothering her?


  1. That is exactly what I'm talking about when I say "false sole exfoliating." As always, I am not an expert! ;) But yes, that stuff should come out, because it comes out SO easily.

    This is purely a guess, but I'm thinking you're seeing it for the first time because she's finally grown enough sole thickness on those fronts, and now that she "thinks" her front soles are thick enough, some of the sole is shedding out.

    Also yes trimming in the summer SUCKS, and horses go from "ok" to "way overdue for a trim" in like 2.3 days!

  2. Halo has shed her soles like that before. As far as I know it's completely normal and won't hurt her at all to scrape it off. As long as you aren't digging into live sole, she should be fine.

  3. When it's this dry the dead cells compact down instead of sloughing off making a really thick callus. If that's followed by a period of rain the callus will start to come off and it will look like what you're seeing here. Nothing to be concerned about, just take off the loose stuff.

  4. Moon and I see that regularly too. Farrier just removes the pieces that are falling off, and the rest keeps his soles nicely protected on the rocks. The old farrier used to trim the sole out and Mr. Moon would be sore, while the new farrier likes to let it grow out as much as possible. : ) Glad Lilly is growing her own thicker sole, and I don't doubt that her new barefoot experience is the leading cause. : )