Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Back in an earlier post, I shared with you how I came to acquire Boca.
When I did a fairly basic and rudimentary PPE, the only finding that gave me pause for concern was the presence of some significant sidebone on his left fore.
The Mount Everest of Sidebone

Lauren from SheMovedtoTexas mentioned in a comment that it would be interesting to share with you what I had learned about the condition. I should first give you all a disclaimer that what I learned is a mish-mash of stuff I heard over the years in a number of barns, the input of the vet that did the PPE and some online articles sourced from google. This is by no means veterinary advice and should not be taken as such.

Sidebone is defined as the ossification of the cartilages in the lateral portion of the hoof.
These cartilages are part of the anti-concussion mechanisms of the hoof. Sidebone usually occures in the front feet, and is thought to be more common in the heavier breeds (drafts and draft crosses). Occurrence in the lighter breeds is usually the result of conformation flaws or unbalanced trims. Sidebone is not typically thought to be a cause of lameness, unless part of the bony mass fragments and/or interferes with the joint.

Sidebone's nasty cousin is Ringbone, which I know less about, but is NOT a diagnosis you want to receive, and would be a deal-breaker on a PPE. It is usually very performance-limiting, to the degree that a horse diagnosed with ringbone may be pasture sound only.

So, how did the presence of Sidebone on the xrays affect my purchase decision?

I took into consideration my goals, which include low-level all around English pursuits. I know I want to jump, but I don't see us ever doing higher than 2'6", which most horses are physically capable of. If my goals had included eventing Prelim, the sale might not have gone through. 

I also took into account that Boca was a horse with a $1500 price tag. He appeared to be an otherwise sound, sane gelding, of a decent age, in the 16h range. Finding another prospect with those qualities was not going to be all that easy.

Lastly, with his good looks, super sweet personality and sensible nature, I knew that if he was too limited in ability, that he would have vast re-sale appeal. He could easily be some 4H kid's first horse or a mature lady's trail companion.

But mostly, I just took a gamble. I made an educated guess and hoped for the best.
So far, so good.


  1. I don't know much about sidebone but I have a friend who has a Gypsy Vanner. I'm pretty sure he had sidebone also (which fits your statement that it's common in the drafty types). He's sound and it hasn't been a problem for him.

  2. I love that you actually considered your own goals in evaluating the information. It bugs me when people rule horses out for issues that will never affect what they actually want to do.

  3. Interesting! Hopefully it never gives y'all problems

  4. Interesting! My horse also has sidebone - not quite as significant as this but very obvious on x-rays. So far it doesn't seem to cause a problem. Sound and sane personality are definitely worth it!

  5. just found your blog - Boca is super cute! i'm excited to get caught up :)

    1. Thanks Emma! Isabel is beautiful! I'm finding one of the fun parst of starting a blog is finding all the other cool blogs out there!

  6. I've never heard of sidebone before, but am unfortunately very familiar with ringbone :(

  7. I was totally unaware of sidebone until this! Thanks for sharing!