When you look at a radiograph (X ray) of a horse’s foot, do you visualize soft tissues, or do you only see bones? If there’s one thing Ric Redden, DVM, founder of the International Equine Podiatry Center in Versailles, Ky., consistently teaches, it’s that there is always more to learn about a horse’s foot if you only know how to look. He recently offered a foot radiology short course for an audience of farriers, veterinarians, and horse owners June 1-3 in Versailles, Ky.


An X ray of your horse’s foot can help you predict the future while it shows you the present.
“The point here is to educate everyone that we’re not looking for a nice outside, cosmetic appearance of the foot, we’re looking for inside health,” he began. “I want to teach you to look at a foot so it speaks to you and tells you what to do. It will speak very loudly if you know how to listen. Soft tissue parameters (as seen on a radiograph; more on these shortly) change long before you have bone damage or hoof capsule changes. They are the writing on the wall. Soft tissue changes tell you what’s coming.”

When you can identify impending problems, they can be addressed before they actually cause lameness and lost training/competition days.

Looking Inside the Foot

Physical examination remains the most important part of examining the foot, says Redden, followed by targeted radiographs.

“Interpreting the message from the soft tissue parameters offers great insight t