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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Monday, 8 April 2013

Bit of a bind

I first met this charming big black beastie (BBB) on 13th May last year.  His owner had contacted me for help as she didn’t want to lose him.

Prior to our meeting BBB had been referred to a leading referral centre (LRC) with 4/10 lameness in the left fore.
Using MRI scanning the diagnosis was remodelling of the Navicular bone and some damage to the DDFT in both front feet, but primarily the left fore.  But when the owner discussed the diagnosis the waters got muddied somewhat, but ultimately the LRC recommended a year in a field and maybe he would be suitable for the odd hack if he was shod with wedge shoes.  The vets said enjoy that for as long as you can but his prognosis isn't a good one and ultimately will result in Euthanasia. 

And so our journey as Team BBB began.

Recently deshod. Outer hoof wall previously
rasped out. Signs of nail bind present

Roughly two weeks later

Now, notice flared quarters. Not perfect, but
 funcional and sound

Hind post deshoeing


Hind now

To be honest there was nothing exceptional in the outward appearance of the recently deshod hooves.  Thinning of hoof walls and nail bind are surprisingly common in the UK.  What was more unusual was the condition of the hind feet, but these weren’t the focus of the lameness issues.
Today all the hooves are still a work in progress, and I can’t comment on the condition of either the Navicular bones or DDFTs - but what is form without function?  And I am happy to report that BBB is sound and moving beautifully.
How has the owner achieved this remarkable outcome?  Well lots of hard work it’s true, a successful barefoot horse needs a lot of exercise, but diet change was important and allowing the hooves to function naturally without the impediment of a rigid shoe.

What BBB’s owner has to say

"Prior to having a horse with 'caudal foot pain' exacerbated by shoeing I would not have even considered barefoot. I am embarrassed to admit that the one person who kept her horse barefoot at one of the competition yards I was at was someone I avoided as I thought she was slightly strange and a 'parelli type' hacking with horse trainers and never wanting traditional shoes. I didn't for a second think that by keeping her horse barefoot she was looking out for the wellbeing of her horse’s soundness and longevity.
I started my barefoot journey truthfully and honestly because I felt I had little other choice or at least not a very hopeful other choice! I am amazed at how Lucy has guided me, sometimes through gritted teeth (especially with reference to the dietary changes!) with patience and honesty. I was told from the start that it is not always an easy journey and that he may well be sore initially and have peaks and troughs in his transition phase. I was very lucky in that it went very smoothly with an overall improvement that was seen very quickly.
BBB is now one year barefoot and has grown his first new hoof capsule (apparently the second will be even better!) He is completely sound and competing successfully at BD level dressage. I owe this phenomenon to nature which is truly a rather wonderful thing, BBB for 'talking' to me and guiding Lucy's expert DEET principle and to Lucy for being there every step of the way (it helps that you do not go to bed until late!). I look forward to seeing BBB's feet this time next year :)"


Lisa said...

Well done Lucy! And well done to the owner for sticking it out - she is sure reaping the benefits now!

jenj said...

Wonderful story, and so good to hear that BBB is doing so well.

I'm not familiar with the term "nail bind." Could you please explain?

Lucy Priory said...

Hi Jenj - if you go to this post

You will see how the nail is put through the waterline (inner hoof wall). When the outer hoof wall has been thinned or in some cases rasped entirely away the nail is often placed (deliberately or by accident) through the white line. This can lead to the nail pressing on or sometimes penetrating the sensitive laminae.

jenj said...

Lucy, thanks for the explanation! I'm aware that nails are often put through the white line, just never heard it called a "nail bind" before.

amandap said...

I can't work out the first photo. Is the sole convex or is it my eyes? The frog looks twisted as well, or is it the hoof capsule that is misaligned? The hind hoof appears twisted as well in the deshod photo.
The ridge round the frog, is it sole or bar? I assume it is reinforcement for the healing hooves?
Hope it's ok to ask these questions?

Fabulous improvements and well done to the owner for the hard work and listening to BBB and advice from Lucy.

Great to see you blogging again btw Lucy. x

Lucy Priory said...

Hi Amandap. I don't know if you have tried clicking on the photo? But if you do you will get a larger version which might be easier?

Anyhow sole is concave, but more so on one side than the other.

Re hind hoof, there are few straight lines in biology and horses legs and hooves reflect that :-)

Re ridge - you can tell bar from sole, because bar is an extension of hoof wall so has the same structures.

Horse is very sugar sensitive and has had on going issues with thrush and normal livery yard set up. ie too much grass and 'helpful' modifications to the diet.

amandap said...

It must have been my eyes because the photo looks completely different now. I can clearly see the concavity and the frog looks straight and whole now. I've had this before with some photos but not as marked. Doh!

I clicked on the 'now' front hoof pic and it looks like bar material round the frog. Thanks for the key to differentiating.

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