Re: Gail Sand's Buddy New xrays

Claire Vale <clairevale@...>

Hi Gail,

The x-rays show that he had a bit of rotation back in February - enough
to definitely be concerned, although not nearly as bad as some I've seen
and worked with (20 degrees or more). There appears to be minimal
coffin bone remodelling, which is great. That means you've got a much
higher chance of a relatively sound horse at the end of healing. Have
you been working on the rotation since February, and if so, is the new
wall looking better aligned and connected?

When we're dealing with rotation, we do so from multiple angles - we
have to get rid of the originating cause if possible, or manage it (e.g.
treatment for Cushing's), AND we have to re-balance the feet so that
they can heal as best as possible. I'm guessing you're working on the
first, and you've got your current farrier working on the second.
Here's hoping that you'll be able to find someone to continue on with
good hoof care from this point, to keep Buddy progressing.
Unfortunately I can't help you with a farrier, however if you're
interested in trying out barefoot I can probably help you find someone
experienced in founder treatment.

My experiences with laminitic and foundered horses are purely from the
barefoot perspective, so you'll have to take that into account with what
I say <G>. In my experience, I've found that you can indeed start
lightly riding a foundered horse after three to six months of healthy
wall growth and he's comfortable again. There are a few proviso's, or
First, that he can feel how his feet are progressing (i.e. he isn't
Buted up to the eyeballs and totally oblivious to the damage in his
Second, that you listen very carefully to him and only do as much as he
is offers freely, and
Third, that you begin with slow walking in straight lines and large
curves - NO tight turns or faster work that could re-tear the newly
growing laminae (even if he thinks he is Muffy the Wonder Horse and
wants to do barrel racing - don't let him!).

If needed, you can ride with boots and/or pads to help with his comfort
levels, but for the most part if he is really uncomfortable without
them, he's probably not really ready for riding yet.

As Abby said, at this point the newly forming laminae at the top of the
wall are very fragile (since there isn't much area of them to hold all
of the horse weight), and the slightest mis-step could tear them again
and set you right back to the beginning. That's why it's so very
important that he is able to feel what's going on with his feet, and
choose how much he wants to do at any time (as well as having his feet
correctly balanced). The bonus with this is that when HE says he's
feeling good and is up to riding again, you know this is true, not a
hallucination <G>. Most horses are feeling much better after three to
six months, provided of course that the originating cause of the
laminitis and founder is removed or controlled.

Naturally, there will always be horses that just aren't ready for riding
for much longer than one would ordinarily expect, so if he's still
indicating that he doesn't want to be ridden nine months later, well,
he's telling you that for a reason. If you're still seeing discomfort
and evidence of laminitis / founder in a year, you'll have to go back to
seeking the originating cause of the laminitis, since it probably isn't
fully controlled, and/or re-examine the hoof care.

Once Buddy is ready to start being ridden again, whenever that is,
you'll have to develop a program of exercise that takes into account his
condition. The thing to remember is that you're working with a very
slow growing structure (about 1 cm of wall per month) - you can't go
from walking one week to cantering the next, because the new laminae
just won't be strong enough to take that much force. Your program
should move from months of hand walking, to months of riding at a gentle
walk, to months of mostly walking with a tiny bit of trot (if he wants
to!), etc. By about nine to twelve months after you began treating the
laminitis / founder, he theoretically should have a totally new hoof
capsule that is now fully attached, and if this is the case you can
start thinking about bringing him back into normal work again.

Looking at the x-rays, I'm wondering if the farrier thinned the sole at
all, as some of the after-trim x-rays show a smaller space between the
block and the bottom of the coffin bone (this could be because the wall
is trimmed down, and the sole wasn't touched, of course). If the sole
was thinned, please please PLEASE make sure this does not happen again -
at this time he needs all the healthy sole he can get, most especially
at the toe.

The other thing is that it doesn't look like the breakover point at the
toe was brought back much or at all, and this will be greatly affecting
the balance of the internal forces within the hoof capsule as well as
continuing to put levering pressure on the toe wall. I've had a great
deal of success with a wide range of hoof issues (including severe
founder) using Gene Ovnicek's method of determining where the breakover
point 'should' be - you can read more at You
can use this method shod or unshod (I've only used it unshod, since I'm
a barefoot trimmer).

Added to this, I'd suggest you have a really careful look at his frogs
to see if you can find any suggestion that he might have thrush or
fungus (especially on the side's that are tending to grow longer), since
presumably he is trying to keep his weight off them because of some
discomfort. In fact, it would probably be worth treating him for fungus
even if you don't see any sign of it (e.g. with Borax soaks), since it
can hide deep in the frog out of sight and still be quite painful.

Abby is right that this year may be a long and frustrating one for the
both of you. However, getting it right now will set you up for health
and happiness for the rest of your lives together. And it's the perfect
opportunity for you both to bond on a new level - you can spend the next
few months doing lots of hanging out, grooming, talking, playing, hand
walking, etc, to get to know each other better than you might ever
otherwise have had the opportunity to do so. Make the most of the
situation <G>.

Claire Vale
New Zealand

-----Original Message-----
From: ECHoof@... [mailto:ECHoof@...] On Behalf
Of sand_gail
Sent: Friday, 27 April 2007 3:44 a.m.
To: ECHoof@...
Subject: [ECHoof] Re: Gail Sand's Buddy New xrays

--- In ECHoof@..., Abby Bloxsom <dearab@...> wrote:

Thank you for your advice! I went thru 4 different farriers since
last June 2006 , when I knew something was wrong with Buddys feet but
they all told me I was crazy, that there wasn't anything wrong, that
I just had to ride him more. That it was a training issue! I was
persistant until I found a farrier and vet that were willing to take
xrays and get to the bottom of the issues! Now that we are on track
healing Buddy, another issue has come up. My farrier no longer wants
to take me as a client ( long story...)I am so afraid of getting an
unexperienced farrier, one not familiar with the founder recovery
process. My vet rercommended a farrier but it seems he is too busy
to take on another client. I live in southeast Chandler,
Arizona.....can anyone recommed a GOOD farrier that does both
balancing and shoes????

Is it ok to just ride Buddy at a walk for short periods, say 15-30
minutes? NO trotting etc.? Both my vet and farrier have been
insisting I ride Buddy hard for a minimum of 30 mins daily going all
the way back to Feb. and I have REFUSED, my gut feeling said not to
do it! They are not happy with me, but it is MY HORSE not theirs!
I'm glad I followed my own instinct.

Another vet will be pulling blood to check his insulin/gluclose
ration within the next 2 wks hopefully. I am soaking his hay and
giving him the Horsetech Az Mineral mix, Magox and iodized salt. I
will be adding Vitamin E soon...any advice is welcomed. I love this


Gail -

The xrays look GREAT - very good progress for sure, but there are
things ...

1) We really can't make ride/don't ride judgements based only on
We can see the bony column alignment, but the fragile
inside the foot are not visible on xrays. I would need to see
of the feet to see where the growth markers are on the outside in
to gauge progress of his hoof function. Just because his coffin
bone is
now parallel to the outside of his foot does not mean
he's "derotated".
The outside of the wall has been trimmed to match the bone, but
nothing INSIDE has changed.

2) If this were a rehab horse in my care, I would tell the owner
NOW that his feet are realigned, we can begin counting one year
THIS date before he should be ridden. That of course is based only
the xrays I've seen and without any knowledge of anything else
Buddy ... In February, he was significantly rotated. That's still
growing out.

I'm sure this comes as bad news. THIS - this ridiculous, slow,
recuperation process - is why we prefer to avoid rotation in the
place! I am frustrated on a daily basis by trimming & consulting
clients (and worse yet, my FRIENDS!) who are in denial about the
precarious state of their horses' feet, and I fear for them if
horses ever are pushed over the edge into laminitis, because I'm
that rotation is right around the corner.


Abby Bloxsom

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