A look at sidebone and why a natural approach to prevention and reversal is ideal for your horse.

Sidebone in horses can be thought of as a type of osteoarthritis. More formally referred to as dxostosis or “bony growth,” it occurs in the lateral cartilage at the quarters (sides) of the hoofs, above the coronet band. It is characterized by an excess of mineralization in this cartilage and may cause enough discomfort to change the horse’s movement. If only a small portion of the lateral cartilage is affected, sidebone may be no more than an imperfection. However, it can become painful when mineralization creates severe rigidity, inflammation, cartilage deterioration, and ossification or scar tissue. Damaging pressures and malformations are caused by imbalanced trimming and restriction to the natural hoof function, rather than by external factors such as injury or aging.


Fortunately, a horse’s body is made up of trillions of interacting cells that constantly communicate, renew, and regenerate. With a simple understanding of lower limb action and support for natural movement, sidebone can be prevented and reversed.

Horses are designed to move, and this impulse is directly related to their level of comfort. Limiting fluid motion with the rigid inflexibility of a metal shoe inhibits freedom of movement. When the hooves are clamped with metal, the horse’s movement lacks adaptability, stressing the joints and cellular tissues and distorting already strained cartilage, connective tissues and corium. The result is the anatomical challenges, ossifications, stresses and strains we call sidebone.


Good hoof boots ensure comfort and encourage willingness. They protect the entire hoof, absorb shock and concussion, and provide an optimum surface that enables the hoof’s expansion and contraction. No clamping. No restrictions.

A properly functioning hoof will smoothly and effortlessly roll over the toe, adapting to terrain with lightweight, effortless and flexible motion. The hoof expands and functions to absorb shock. It remains supple and adaptable, encouraging blood, nutrient and oxygen circulation.


Nerve blocks, painkillers and anti-inflammatories are often prescribed for sidebone. Corrective shoeing, stall rest, injections, various pharmaceuticals and operations can mask the condition for a time, but the real cure must come from addressing the source of the problem. Masking a potentially lifelong chronic condition with a short-term solution is not a desirable approach. The way to good hoof health is through proper hoof care and understanding.