Friday, 22 July 2016

All About ... Overreaching

What is it

Overreaching is when the hind foot steps on the heel of the forefoot on the same side.  Often the toe of the hind foot will step on the heel of the shoe therefore pulling the shoe off!


  • Loss of shoe 
  • Wound on heel or higher up the leg 
  • Often a metal on metal sound can be heard when the horse oversteps with his hind foot and the shoe 'clinks' on the front shoe


  • Poor coordination 
  • Conformational faults 
  • Fatigue 
  • Poor trimming of feet 
  • Ground conditions 
  • Poor riding


Any wound should be cleaned and treated as appropriate.  The vet may be required for more serious overreach injuries.  The wounds are likely to be dirty so hosing is often the best method of cleaning as it gently washes the dirt and mud away. 


Identifying the cause will help identify a way to prevent future injury.  If the horse is tired then a fitness programme to ensure they are up to the work demanded of them.  Conformational faults can be helped with hoof trimming - the toe of the front foot can be shortened to help it move faster and thus avoid the hind foot which is coming through.

Regular shoeing and trimming by a registered farrier will ensure the toes of the hind feet are not too long.  Over reach boots will help in some situations by protecting the heels from injury, however, there is a risk of the horse tripping itself if the hind foot stands on the boot of the forefoot!

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Until next time!

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