Other reasons for transition soreness

Several structures in addition to the white line are damaged by shoes:

  • The unpigmented, inner layer of hoof wall ("water line") is a tough, shock-absorbing structure. Horseshoes weaken it, reducing shock absorption in the entire hoof wall. In the barefoot hoof, the water line gets more concussion and gradually becomes denser and stronger.
  • The digital cushion is a shock-absorbing structure just above the frog. Made of fatty tissue with a "hammock" of fibrous webbing, it supports the descending pastern. It loses condition in shod and confined horses. Increased use of the digital cushion rebuilds its fibrous toughness.
  • The typical "long-heel, toe-pulled-forward" trim makes the front feet land toe-first and leads to "navicular" pain at the impar ligament. A wild-horse trim with a beveled toe changes the stride so that the foot can land heel-first.
  • Where shoes have pressed the heel together, resulting in a crease between the bulbs, a fungus infection can become chronic in horses living in rainy areas. Fungus shows up as heel lameness, and prevents widening of the frog and heels.
Abscessing should be unusual after pulling the shoes. Most often it is the result of thinning the sole, or invasive trimming of other hoof parts. To avoid abscessing, do not thin the sole in any area, other than scraping off chalky/crackled material.

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.  ~ Winston Churchill