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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Laminitis - what is going on inside?

Treating symptoms and getting a good trim won't fix laminitis - but while you are finding and eliminating the causal factor (overweight, toxic overload, Cushings, Insulin Resistance or ?) you can really help your horse by making sure her feet are well cared for/trimmed.  Have a look at the pictures below:
1.  Very laminitic hoof - external side view note very high heel
and almost horizontal hair line

2.  Same hoof as 1. - internal side view (foot balance same)
note how you can see how outer hoof wall has been heavily
rasped.  Note position and angle of pedal bone

3.  Due to be PTS on professional advice - 9 months box rest
whilst shod - still lame (deshod a few days in photo)
Note height of heel and angle of hair line and compare to 1.
Event lines have been rasped out. (hind foot)
4.  Front foot of horse in 3.  Again note heel height and hair line
5.  Same horse as 3 and 4 - see how much excess height in heel
6.  Compare with 4 note change in overall height

7.  Compare with 3 - note change in heel height
and change in angle of hair line

The horse in pictures 3-7 had been on box rest, shod and lame for c. 9 months. His owner had done everything instructed and was finally told by her farrier to put the horse down as nothing more could be done.

So they tried one more thing - the barefoot approach. The shoes were removed, the heels brought down and the diet modified. Within two weeks the horse was sound enough to be racing around a track system.

The longer term recovery has been a learning curve for the owner as they learnt that no their horse can't eat haylage or a handful of pony nuts. But a year later and the horse is still sound and still bouncing around like a lamb and is now well enough to take a much more active role in life.

Long may this last.

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about where the internal structures where in his hoof when the heels were so high. We can't proved anything as we don't have x-rays, but we do know that when the heels came down the horse came sound.

Friday, 30 December 2011

What did Christmas bring?

Besides dislocating my thumb about 3 times?  Well these (only to nurture, the horse attached is not mine, but he is lovely lovely, lovely.)

Shoes on too long, toe has shot forward, heel collapsing
 and not under leg

Weak heel

Angle incorrect, too long, proportions out

Shelly hoof wall - lacks quality horn and is soft

Long toe, heel forward not under leg, shoe on too long

Thrushy, contracted, skinny weak frog

As above - the stink was really bad

With shoe off this frog was ridiculously
 skinny, full of thrush and really squishy

All horse owners should come to learn that heels like this
are unacceptable

Not one good foot on this horse, but they will be

Currently with sore feet, sore back and a very weak hind end this horse is another which has been dismissed for 'attitude'.

To be honest with feet like that (and the knock on consequences) I think any of us would be quite justified in having 'attitude'. But you know this guy was lovely to deshoe - I didn't get any negative feedback down the leg at all. He just stood there like a proper trooper and within 20 minutes post deshoe went from looking really sad to beaming from ear to ear. (IYKWIM)

His new owner (who got me in to deshoe within days of acquiring him) reports that he has in 24 hours post deshoe started to move better and become much more cuddly.

I'll post updates of his hoof progress as I get them - but so far so good :-)

Post Script - the sad thing is that many horse owners would think that these feet were fine - even good. 

Friday, 2 December 2011


There are corns and corns.  Grace had multiple corns, only found when she was deshod.  But none of them were quite as deep as this one.
LF April 2010

If you compare the two photos below you can see how this foot has come along. Not only is the corn now just a memory, but the heel bulbs have bulked up nicely, the digital cushion has plumped up and the whole foot is more solid. Since the corn the horse has worked through the Endurance ranks and is now competing at Advanced level.
LF April 2010
LF Sept 2011

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Southern England, United Kingdom