Soft Soles - This page talks about fixing soft soles


      Soft soles are one of the most common problems that I come across. It is the most misdiagnosed problem as well because it is a problem the effects the whole bottom of the hoof. All a vet has to do is jump to early conclusions and then they say your horse has navicular or laminitis. With soft soles your horse will not be as lame on softer footing as hard rocky ground. The horse will appear "ouchy". If you pick up the hoof and can take your thumb and flex the soul then you have soft soles.

      How does a horse acquire soft soles? A horse can acquire soft soles from a couple of ways. One the most common is environment. If your horse is stuck in water and mud then they will get soft soles. The water will soften the soul of the horse there by making it tender. The other reasons horses get soft soles is because a farrier parred the sole to short. A lot of farriers like to take a lot of sole off and keep a horse very short. Each has there own reasons. I was taught to only take sole if you have too or it is dead sole.

      How does one treat soft soles? You can treat soft soles by applying venice turpentine. Now venice turpentine is not the stuff you find in the hardware store. You want to use Hawthorne Venice turpentine, it works the best. I get mine from If you apply that turpentine you will send your horse through the ceiling. It will burn!!! Venice turpentine is a all natural product that comes from the sap of a larch tree. Mix with some other oil to thicken it up, the turpentine will dry hard and clear. It is used in oil paintings to keep the oil from being smeared and wooden boat building too. 

      When you apply the turpentine you will leave a hard layer. As the days go on that layer will get thicker and thicker till the horse is sound again. The turpentine also water proofs the sole as well. A horse that is dead lame from soft soles will generally be good to go in a month. While you are treating the horse for soft soles it is important that your farrier does not par the sole or all your work will be gone. Another important thing is to keep the horse in as dry of an environment as possible. The moisture will keep the feet soft. 

Applying turpentine

Step one

Pick out horses foot
Step two

Bleach horses foot. 
Use a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water. It is very important that you do not let the foot hit the ground in between the bleach and turpentine. If you do you will have to start over again. You are bleaching it to sterilize the foot before applying the turpentine. If not you will trap the bacteria in the foot and lead to other problems. 

Step three

Brush the hoof out
Make sure to brush good to loose up all the dirt.


Step four

bleach again


Step five

Turpentine the soul
Just do the sole only. It is a hardener and you don't want to harden the frog. You don't have to let it dry either just paint on and let the foot down. The process might take a minute a foot. It seems long but it is not.