Natural Hoof Care is the best form of hoof rehabilitation – from cracks to navicular syndrome.
THOROUGHBRED STALLION WEST QUEST
West Quest stands at race horse horse trainers Graeme McCullochs stud “Grenville” in northern Tasmania. This stallion is the leading sire in Tasmania valued at over a million dollars. His progeny are reknown performance gallopers and highly sought.
He is my first rehabilitation success story. West Quest lives the conventional lifestyle of most racehorse stallions. That is very un-natural. He is confined to a stable nearly 24 hours a day, He cant see other horses and was on high protein, high sugar processed feed to keep him looking that “million dollars”.
Over time, West Quest started to suffer. He was looking miserable, landing toe first, standing with his knees bent to relieve the pain in his heels and unable to walk freely. He was in a constant laminitic state. He was unhappy serving mares and taking a long time to fulfill a service. Ashamedly, I was his farrier for many years and tried every different type of traditional and remedial shoe to improve the horse to no avail.
Feeling enlightened and brave following Pete Rameys natural hoof care clinic in 2005, I went and pulled his shoes. Jen filmed him hobbling in his wedged shoes. I explained all I had learned to his owner including the necessity of lifestyle changes ie. excercise, simpler diet, bare hooves and boots. Willing to give it a go, the owner fitted out West Quest’s stable in 10ml blue metal stone as bedding instead of straw to increase the circulation, comfort and healing to his damaged hooves. His recovery was slow and painful due to years of shoeing. His soles were thin, his bars non existent and his feet severely deformed.
However as the new hoof capsule grew down, his recovery became dramatic. Within 9 months he was jig jogging on the gravel to see his mares – back to the great stallion he is!!
West Quest before West Quest after pic 1 & 2
The hoof is no text book image but it is now sound and he is happy.
PICTURE 1: This horse was shod for many years, it had very poor hooves. It constantly had sand cracks from the coronary band to the shoe. The hoof wall was very thin and shelly.
PICTURE 2: As you can see after 4 months of natural hoof care the cracks are growing out from the coronary band. The walls are healthy and the horse is ridden comfortably barefoot.
This is Charlie, he was days away from euthanasia. I found him lying on the ground. As you can see from the way he is standing in picture 1 he’s not very comfortable and in a lot of pain. He was in a small grass paddock with grass and clover up to his knees. He was in an acute laminitic state.
His hooves were rotten and he had an extremely stretched white line. He was trimmed and booted and started moving better within the hour.
FIRST AID FOR FOUNDER
Founder is a serious health issue and with immediate first aid you can save your horse from prolonged pain and hoof deformation.
HERE ARE SOME IMMEDIATE STEPS TO TAKE:
- Determine what has caused the laminitic attack or founder.
- Call a vet and a reputable barefoot trimmer.
- Have feet trimmed and padded for comfort and to enable movement.
- Enable and encourage movement – make horse happy to move by providing a paddock mate and spreading hay out in piles.
- Diet – soak the hay for 2 hours prior to feeding so the sugar content is reduced and the horse can have plenty of feed. Remove all grain from the diet, including treats such as apples/carrots/sugar etc.
- Restrict access to grass especially in the afternoon/evenings. Make a track around the pasture so the horse can still move – it may be neccessary to remove the grass from the track.
Here are some additonal web sites with information on treating founder and laminitis.
This horse had a bad accident with the dreaded wire fence. She had been lame on and off for three years. This horse came into my care after 1/3 of her hoof capsule had fallen off after an abscess. She has damaged her coronary band and will always have a slight deformation, but she is now sound and ridden barefoot. A year and a half later the crack has nearly healed 100% and surprised me no end!
This is Curly Shirley. We also rescued her from the ‘dog meat man’. She could only stand for a few minutes at a time and found it easier to eat laying down. These were Shirley’s hooves when we found her they measured 180mm.
This was taken just 3 weeks after her first trim.
This is Shirley with Matilda after 3 months. As you can see she now gets plenty of TLC
ANOTHER CASE OF NEGLECT
This is Molly, a five year old Welsh/Shetland mare who was rescued by a young lady who rehabilitates horses to re-home them. She had the classic slipper hoof.
After a farrier trim (seen here), and the suggestion she be put down as she still couldn’t move well, her carer called Jeremy.
Once she was trimmed correctly she was able to move, and cantered off to join her friends. Her hooves looked almost normal again!