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How Bad Is Hoof Bruising?

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How bad is hoof bruising? I've read a lot of things online from horses can be dead lame from it to sometimes it is barely noticable. Also how quickly can it show up???? And then disappear??? If you want to skip over story scroll down to question.

As some have read on other posts of mine I've been having lots of fun with my problem child yearling. And let me get out ahead of time an apology I had a thread Trim to the Hoof, or the Conformation? I did not follow up with it. Sorry MissyClare and BuddyRoo, I plan on doing much more in this thread. I've been showing Ice (the yearling) since April 4th and have gone to three shows in our career. The first two were at the same arena. Decent sand, trailer parking in grass, have to walk about 300ft on a parking lot concrete to arena from parking. This last show I just went to parking is on concrete and the sand is pretty compact. During this last show it was raining, badly. I had to take Ice out of the arena area to the covered area so I could walk him back and forth. Everybody started rushing and running and bringing horses in, the rain pounding on the metal roof,, needless to say he got a little spooked. Nothing bad, a bit of prancing, but I am protective (and very anti accident) so I took him out right away and proceeded to walk back and forth until the rain passed and he settled (it was a lot of walking maybe an hour + ?).

Now he was acting off since this. Well technically went he started getting nervous it was an off moment. He is VERY level headed when it comes to people, though he is a little flightly with pressure he has been getting progressively better. I didn't think anything of the slight prancing, I mean roaring rain freaking running people and horses and my little yearling, it's understandable. Our first class we showed in we actually placed our very first 1st place. He was a bit off being as it took a little while for me to settle him and get him squared up (took maybe 2 minutes). I was very happy to have won, as was the family, out we went and he got lots of pats and praises. Our second class he would not relax. He kept moving, cocking different back feet. I knew something was up, but I couldn't figure out what. I didn't know if it was just the rain bothering him or what it was... it seemed more to me.

After the class I took a really good look over him and saw what looked to be hoof bruising on all four hooves. Worse on the back two. Now I wasn't sure if it might have been the sand staining his hoofs or if it was bruise. So I had my finace trot him a bit and looked and hummed and hawed more. It was bruising in my opinion and it was more on the backs than the fronts and he wasn't walking with his back feet fulling in the foot prints of his front feet, something he always does. So I scratched the rest of my classes and came home.

Since then he's been just fine. He calmed down as soon as we arrived home, back to his very mellow happy attitude. Still seemed to be slightly off in the back until today. I went out and took pictures of his hooves today and they look realitively ok... so now I'm confused

I am starting to think maybe it wasn't a bruise and just inflamed hooves? Can they do that? There were a LOT darker before,, now I believe I see the bruising, but it doesn't look nearly as bad and he is not short today either.


How quickly can hoof bruising show up?

How quickly can hoof bruising go away?

Can hooves just get inflamed and irritated like a bruise then go away?

Or do you all think I might have been overracting a bit and it was just the dirt staining the hooves a little?




Fronts (sorry he was standing a bit odd)


This is the whole Horse


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I would bet that his hooves were also holding alot of heat that day. Signs of swelling, trauma, infection etc.

Usually a bruise will not come and go in a day. It presents itself in different ways. Some go lame and a abscess will blow a couple days later then after treatment and a few days they are fine. I have also seen a sound horse one day, blow an abscess the next and be lame for a few days.

This process also takes a while for good sole/wall to grow back to replace the affected area. So even though they may be sound, things are not back to normal for a month or two.

You seem to be explaining internal swelling/irritation like a small case of laminitis. Or somehow you managed to lightly bruise all four feet.

Any big changes in diet the day before?

Maybe you should start another post and show us some pics.


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No change in diet at all.. No change in feeding time. The only different was that concrete we stood on for that long period of time. I know he has soft hooves. But I didn't think standing on concrete (and not moving) would affect him as much as it did, or seemed to.

As I said attitude change could have been anything from the weather and new show grounds to that bruising. You can see it in those pics I posted. It's very light now. But that day is was DARK (and it honestly scared me, I thought I was going to end up with a dead lame horse). That's why it's got me so baffled. But as soon as I saw it I got him in the trailer and home. He was barely off (not stepping into his front hoofprints) for two days and now is completely fine.

I had my farrier out. He took a look at all four and said it's just light bruising and he didn't do any damage. I am taking Ice (the horse) on walks everyday down our rock driveway to try and build up his hooves. As I said he is tender on rock, but won't refuse to walk on it. I am considering putting rocks out in his pasture on traveled routes to help also.

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Be careful with rock roads and adding rock to the pasture. Pea Gravel and small river rock is preferred. Remember you don't want to make him tender with the rock. The idea is to agitate the sole and frog and stimulate a thicker sole and healthier frog. The pea gravel has a grinding action but is actually very comfy for a horse to stand/walk in. Forcing a horse to walk on an ouchy surface can set back the growth of a healthy hoof because of bruises and/or too much frog pressure. Take your time, if the trim/diet is right you will get good results.


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