Keeping a horse usable


Nancy C
 

Dear List

Wanted to address the issue of making a horse usable through masking pain because it has come up a couple of times in this thread.


On the issue of the ethics of palliative treatments to keep horses
'usable' - I'm afraid I can see no justification for using a lame
animal for our pleasure or for sport.


In the five years I've been on the three EC lists, I have never seen anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.  

Let me say that again - I have NEVER seen anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.  That list includes horse owners, vets, hoof pros, members, moderators or list owners.  

In fact, as was demonstrated by the origins of this thread, the basis of the list is quite the contrary.  Every day folks are striving to find the best way to help their horses heal. We are each learning how to get the correct diagnosis, feed to support good health, understand what the hoof needs at a given time for comfort and repair and, finally, what kind of movement and exercise is safe for continued rehab.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  And for playing nice.

Nancy C
EC Hoof Co-moderator


Ute <ute@...>
 

I would essentially say the same, but I think this statement comes from the fact that a horse may appear to be sound, just after a new shoeing management solution has been applied, like egg bar shoes for example. But then eventually the horse breaks down further. We need to ask the question as to why this happens, and does this mean the horse was really not sound and the shoes only masked the problem? In this case we would have caused more suffering needlessly.
 
I know of a case where the horse is acicular. Owner could not bear to see the horse sore barefooted. Hoof decontraction takes a long time and can be painful  and he was slowly improving. Owner had shoes put back on. He appears to be sound in Natural balance shoes but as soon as he goes back to normal shoes he's off again. This to me indicates that the horse is not really sound and that the Natural Balance shoes are simply masking the discomfort. The owner has been riding the horse. Now the question becomes it this fair to the horse?
 
We have to remember too that horses are prey animals. They are very good at hiding discomfort that would target as easy prey until they get to a point where the body can no longer compensate and breaks down. At this stage a lot of damage has often been done. I believe that it is our responsibility to prevent this from happening as much as possible and be observant for early signs.
 
To come back to the case above, if I as a professional see a pattern like this with a particular solution, I feel that I have the obligation to question this treatment option and look for a better approach. Unfortunately this seems to be much to rare and does cause horses needless suffering. It does causes actually lame horse to be used under saddle, although it seems to the owner, farrier and vet that the horse is now sound. This quite possibly is a rather huge misconception for the reasons stated above!
 
 
BALANCED STEP
Ute Miethe  - LMT/LAMT NCTMB
Nationally Certified Massage Therapist & Natural Performance Barefoot Trimmer
 

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2008 6:55 AM
Subject: [ECHoof] Keeping a horse usable

Dear List


Wanted to address the issue of making a horse usable through masking pain because it has come up a couple of times in this thread.


On the issue of the ethics of palliative treatments to keep horses
'usable' - I'm afraid I can see no justification for using a lame
animal for our pleasure or for sport.


In the five years I've been on the three EC lists, I have never seen anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.  

Let me say that again - I have NEVER seen anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.  That list includes horse owners, vets, hoof pros, members, moderators or list owners.  

In fact, as was demonstrated by the origins of this thread, the basis of the list is quite the contrary.  Every day folks are striving to find the best way to help their horses heal. We are each learning how to get the correct diagnosis, feed to support good health, understand what the hoof needs at a given time for comfort and repair and, finally, what kind of movement and exercise is safe for continued rehab.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  And for playing nice.

Nancy C
EC Hoof Co-moderator


Nancy C
 

Ute -

I think you missed the point of my message. 

I know you haven't been here long.  But if you do continue to read, you will see that exactly your concerns are taken into consideration when viewing each case history or request for help as an individual.  I'll stand by my original statement. We are looking to heal horses, not mask pain.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you did not mean to imply that the folks here who have been forth coming with their backgrounds and experiences don't understand or recognize the issues you raise. 

Not sure exactly to whom you are preaching and why. I'd appreciate it if you could back it down a notch as has been requested a few times on this list and others, in favor a more pleasant collegial exchange so that all may learn.

Nancy C 
EC Hoof Moderator


Abby had asked a few questions as to level of experience and, since you 

On Feb 24, 2008, at 11:49 AM, Ute wrote:

I would essentially say the same, but I think this statement comes from the fact that a horse may appear to be sound, just after a new shoeing management solution has been applied, like egg bar shoes for example. But then eventually the horse breaks down further. We need to ask the question as to why this happens, and does this mean the horse was really not sound and the shoes only masked the problem? In this case we would have caused more suffering needlessly.


Claire Vale <clairevale@...>
 

Hi Ute,

 

Like you, I’m most definitely opposed to ‘hiding’ pain and then using the horse while damage is still being caused.  However, there’s a line there somewhere – a point where you’re removing enough discomfort that the animal can now more more correctly, and healing IS allowed.  In many cases it’s achieved by correct balance alone; other times some form of artificial ‘support’ system is needed to help.  But let’s face it, the horses on this list aren’t the average every day cases, or they would never have come here in the first place.  Chances are, a horse on this list is a chronic and/or extreme case, that has not responded to common methods of treatment.  Yes, we’ll suggest the logical stuff to begin with (making sure the feet are correctly balanced, etc), but when it’s clear that all those routes have been taken without success, it’s time to start considering the less common techniques.

 

Tell me, do you ever suggest boots and or pads to help in rehab / transition?  And if so, why?  They’re commonly suggested as a way of improving comfort – where’s the difference between that and appropriately used shoes (okay, yes, boots can be removed, but how many horses do you know of in them 24/7)?  It comes back to the assumption that all shoes are always bad – not a safe blanket statement.

 

Claire Vale

New Zealand

 

 

From: ECHoof@... [mailto:ECHoof@...] On Behalf Of Ute
Sent: Monday, 25 February 2008 5:49 a.m.
To: ECHoof@...
Subject: Re: [ECHoof] Keeping a horse usable

 

I would essentially say the same, but I think this statement comes from the fact that a horse may appear to be sound, just after a new shoeing management solution has been applied, like egg bar shoes for example. But then eventually the horse breaks down further. We need to ask the question as to why this happens, and does this mean the horse was really not sound and the shoes only masked the problem? In this case we would have caused more suffering needlessly.

 

I know of a case where the horse is acicular. Owner could not bear to see the horse sore barefooted. Hoof decontraction takes a long time and can be painful  and he was slowly improving. Owner had shoes put back on. He appears to be sound in Natural balance shoes but as soon as he goes back to normal shoes he's off again. This to me indicates that the horse is not really sound and that the Natural Balance shoes are simply masking the discomfort. The owner has been riding the horse. Now the question becomes it this fair to the horse?

 

We have to remember too that horses are prey animals. They are very good at hiding discomfort that would target as easy prey until they get to a point where the body can no longer compensate and breaks down. At this stage a lot of damage has often been done. I believe that it is our responsibility to prevent this from happening as much as possible and be observant for early signs.

 

To come back to the case above, if I as a professional see a pattern like this with a particular solution, I feel that I have the obligation to question this treatment option and look for a better approach. Unfortunately this seems to be much to rare and does cause horses needless suffering. It does causes actually lame horse to be used under saddle, although it seems to the owner, farrier and vet that the horse is now sound. This quite possibly is a rather huge misconception for the reasons stated above!

 

 

BALANCED STEP
Ute Miethe  - LMT/LAMT NCTMB
Nationally Certified Massage Therapist & Natural Performance Barefoot Trimmer

 

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2008 6:55 AM

Subject: [ECHoof] Keeping a horse usable

 

Dear List

 

Wanted to address the issue of making a horse usable through masking pain because it has come up a couple of times in this thread.

 


On the issue of the ethics of palliative treatments to keep horses
'usable' - I'm afraid I can see no justification for using a lame
animal for our pleasure or for sport.

 

 

In the five years I've been on the three EC lists, I have never seen anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.  

 

Let me say that again - I have NEVER seen anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.  That list includes horse owners, vets, hoof pros, members, moderators or list owners.  

 

In fact, as was demonstrated by the origins of this thread, the basis of the list is quite the contrary.  Every day folks are striving to find the best way to help their horses heal. We are each learning how to get the correct diagnosis, feed to support good health, understand what the hoof needs at a given time for comfort and repair and, finally, what kind of movement and exercise is safe for continued rehab.

 

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  And for playing nice.

 

Nancy C

EC Hoof Co-moderator


Jeanette
 

From personal experience, I can say there **is** a place for pain
relief that allows the body -- whether equine or human -- to work
through its health issues. This, of course, assumes those issues
have been reasonably assessed. I think we all recognize that
depending on the individual condition, there may be a time to rest
and heal and/or a time to work and heal. When the time and path to
health seems to be pushing on a bit, it's sometimes necessary to
break the pain-tension-weakness cycle in order to address the
abnormality or pathology and to encourage the body to become
functionally stronger.

As Nancy, Abby, Claire and others have pointed out, there's little
healing in horse's feet that happens without movement. And you don't
get movement, not the right kind of movement, without mitigating or
eliminating the pain. As a back pain sufferer -- any others of those
here? ;-) -- I know that not moving eventually hurts worse than
taking a couple aspirin and stretching or lightly exercising through
the discomfort. And as I get stronger, I can push a bit harder and I
probably won't need the aspirin (or the back-brace or whatever) to
aid the process anymore. But I have first to be comfortable enough
to move -- and move correctly. (Pilates, anyone?)

It seems to me that's the gist of what Abby's been saying, that she's
found a tool that helps some horses who haven't really responded to
anything else or who are so damaged that they're unlikely to. She's
found a way to keep them more comfortable and correct so their bodies
can heal. Doesn't sound like anyone's putting them back onto the
race track or into a 3-day event. But they have to be comfortable
enough to do more than lie down in a stall or stand and stare at the
horizon.

Also, frankly, understanding Val's frustration as the owner of an "un-
usable" horse myself, I've followed this thread and the discussion of
hoof casts with interest. No, I'm not ready to suggest that that's
my next move -- because there are other less extreme things to try
which may yet provide the relief my mare needs. But after a year of
more downs than ups, it's feeling like a long haul, and I'm
interested in what's working for other people.

So, thanks, everyone for a fascinating conversation. The questions
are ones I wouldn't necessarily have thought to ask and the responses
have been thoughtful and considered. I'm learning a lot!

Jeanette
Colorado


ranginui2007 <lynjwilliams@...>
 

Nancy,
I was responding to a specific example about using casts to keep a
pony in work. I was also just stating my own ethical position - not
intending to stand in judgment on other people. I have been in
situations with horses where I'd have tried almost anything to save
them - so I was not meaning to be critical.

I happen to think that shoes are, by definition, palliative and find
it hard to come up with a situation in which I would see them as
either necessary or desirable. Again my experience and my opinion. As
to casts - I am still exploring.

I share what I have learned through my decades of experience as a
consumer with conventional approaches and 5 years of various barefoot
strategies both as consumer and practitioner, in the hope that it
might be of some use to someone. It's my way of giving back to horses.

I know that everyone on this list is here because they are deeply
concerned about the welfare of horses - I wouldn't be here if that
wasn't the case.

Lynn


- In ECHoof@..., Nancy Collins <threecatfarm@...> wrote:


Dear List

Wanted to address the issue of making a horse usable through masking
pain because it has come up a couple of times in this thread.


On the issue of the ethics of palliative treatments to keep horses
'usable' - I'm afraid I can see no justification for using a lame
animal for our pleasure or for sport.

In the five years I've been on the three EC lists, I have never seen
anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.

Let me say that again - I have NEVER seen anyone knowingly advocate
this kind of behavior. That list includes horse owners, vets, hoof
pros, members, moderators or list owners.

In fact, as was demonstrated by the origins of this thread, the basis
of the list is quite the contrary. Every day folks are striving to
find the best way to help their horses heal. We are each learning how
to get the correct diagnosis, feed to support good health, understand
what the hoof needs at a given time for comfort and repair and,
finally, what kind of movement and exercise is safe for continued rehab.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. And for playing nice.

Nancy C
EC Hoof Co-moderator


Abby Nemec
 

Ute wrote:

I know of a case where the horse is acicular.
Is this a typo for "navicular", or is this a term I don't know? (sorry)

Owner could not bear to see the horse sore barefooted. Hoof decontraction takes a long time and can be painful and he was slowly improving. Owner had shoes put back on. He appears to be sound in Natural balance shoes but as soon as he goes back to normal shoes he's off again. This to me indicates that the horse is not really sound and that the Natural Balance shoes are simply masking the discomfort.
Actually, what this says to me is that for some reason the NB shoes feel better to the horse than "normal" shoes. What are normal shoes? I've seen an awful lot of shoeing that people call "normal" shoes that I wouldn't put my name on if you paid me. A lot of it by some really flippin' high-paid shoers.


The owner has been riding the horse. Now the question becomes it this fair to the horse?
If the horse is comfortable & the shoeing is not causing or worsening any deteriorating conditions, what could be unfair? The horse thinks he's fine. I personally want a horse to be shod optimally to prevent future problems. I'm a bit of a detail-freak that way. I don't think it's sensible to shoe a performance horse with a ticking time bomb on its feet. If you shoe him into a corner so that the only way out is a painful rehab, then that's dumb, but if the horse is COMFORTABLE in his work, then there's nothing unfair or immoral about that. This is really splitting hairs though, it's all interpretation, and there's no way to have a cogent discussion about it on a list like this.

-Abby



--
**************************
Abby Bloxsom
www.advantedgeconsulting.com


Abby Nemec
 

Thanks for a thoughtful post, Jeannette.

Jeanette wrote:

Also, frankly, understanding Val's frustration as the owner of an "un-
usable" horse myself, I've followed this thread and the discussion of hoof casts with interest. No, I'm not ready to suggest that that's my next move -- because there are other less extreme things to try which may yet provide the relief my mare needs.

I guess the only thing I want to toss out tonight, Jeannette, is that after a year of using them the casts are no longer "extreme" in any way. They are so non-invasive and user friendly that they've become my go-to solution these days. Took me most of a year to get here, but I didn't think anything would excite me as much as Equi-Pak did when I started using that ...

-A



--
**************************
Abby Bloxsom
www.advantedgeconsulting.com


Ute <ute@...>
 

"I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you did not mean to imply 
that the folks here who have been forth coming with their backgrounds 
and experiences don't understand or recognize the issues you raise."
 
This is correct. I raised the issue in general because I keep seeing it in reality over and over again.

 
 
BALANCED STEP
Ute Miethe  - LMT/LAMT NCTMB
Nationally Certified Massage Therapist & Natural Performance Barefoot Trimmer
 

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:55 AM
Subject: Re: [ECHoof] Keeping a horse usable

Ute -


I think you missed the point of my message. 

I know you haven't been here long.  But if you do continue to read, you will see that exactly your concerns are taken into consideration when viewing each case history or request for help as an individual.  I'll stand by my original statement. We are looking to heal horses, not mask pain.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you did not mean to imply that the folks here who have been forth coming with their backgrounds and experiences don't understand or recognize the issues you raise. 

Not sure exactly to whom you are preaching and why. I'd appreciate it if you could back it down a notch as has been requested a few times on this list and others, in favor a more pleasant collegial exchange so that all may learn.

Nancy C 
EC Hoof Moderator


Abby had asked a few questions as to level of experience and, since you 
On Feb 24, 2008, at 11:49 AM, Ute wrote:

I would essentially say the same, but I think this statement comes from the fact that a horse may appear to be sound, just after a new shoeing management solution has been applied, like egg bar shoes for example. But then eventually the horse breaks down further. We need to ask the question as to why this happens, and does this mean the horse was really not sound and the shoes only masked the problem? In this case we would have caused more suffering needlessly.


Ute <ute@...>
 

Absolutely do I recommend boots and pads and some severe laminitis founder case do wear them successfully almost 24/7 (They are removed only a few hours during the day). I do not support the use of metal shoes because they tend to
  • Increase the concussion of the bony column
  • create more instability of smooth surfaces that can lead to musculo-skeletal compensation and problems (my sisters horse for example slipped more behind on grass after he was also shod behind. He now also has navicular)
  • and create too much traction in soft ground that again can lead to musculo-skeletal compensation and problems
I would love to hear feedback from a human with plantar fasciitis or other heel pain and who would be made to walk in shoes that have a metal plate, similar to a horse's shoe, attached to bottom of their shoes. Why do we expect metal horse shoes to be the right solution for hooves when humans shoes are designed as cushy as possible while being supportive at the same time?
 
I believe that one of the reasons the barefoot movement started was because many horse owners,  who's horses had trouble with their feet, had tried all possible shoeing solutions and finally gave up, pulled the shoes and turned the horse out to pasture, expecting it to be a pasture ornament for the rest of its life only find that one day they had a totally sound horse again. 
 
As mentioned before, I tend to see the shod horses may appear to be sound for a while, only to break down further later. That's one of the main reasons I am  no longer sold on shoes, at least metal shoes. It would be nice to have clinical studies that would follow horses with the same condition being rehabilitated, except one with shoes and one without and what the possible differences are. In the meantime I'll try to listen to the horses as best as I can to determine what is the best solution for each individual - they always tell me and so far it has not been shoes. :-) 
 
BALANCED STEP
Ute Miethe  - LMT/LAMT NCTMB
Nationally Certified Massage Therapist & Natural Performance Barefoot Trimmer
 

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2008 2:35 PM
Subject: RE: [ECHoof] Keeping a horse usable

Hi Ute,

Like you, I’m most definitely opposed to ‘hiding’ pain and then using the horse while damage is still being caused.  However, there’s a line there somewhere – a point where you’re removing enough discomfort that the animal can now more more correctly, and healing IS allowed.  In many cases it’s achieved by correct balance alone; other times some form of artificial ‘support’ system is needed to help.  But let’s face it, the horses on this list aren’t the average every day cases, or they would never have come here in the first place.  Chances are, a horse on this list is a chronic and/or extreme case, that has not responded to common methods of treatment.  Yes, we’ll suggest the logical stuff to begin with (making sure the feet are correctly balanced, etc), but when it’s clear that all those routes have been taken without success, it’s time to start considering the less common techniques.

Tell me, do you ever suggest boots and or pads to help in rehab / transition?  And if so, why?  They’re commonly suggested as a way of improving comfort – where’s the difference between that and appropriately used shoes (okay, yes, boots can be removed, but how many horses do you know of in them 24/7)?  It comes back to the assumption that all shoes are always bad – not a safe blanket statement.

Claire Vale

New Zealand

From: ECHoof@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ECHoof@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ute
Sent: Monday, 25 February 2008 5:49 a.m.
To: ECHoof@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [ECHoof] Keeping a horse usable

I would essentially say the same, but I think this statement comes from the fact that a horse may appear to be sound, just after a new shoeing management solution has been applied, like egg bar shoes for example. But then eventually the horse breaks down further. We need to ask the question as to why this happens, and does this mean the horse was really not sound and the shoes only masked the problem? In this case we would have caused more suffering needlessly.

I know of a case where the horse is acicular. Owner could not bear to see the horse sore barefooted. Hoof decontraction takes a long time and can be painful  and he was slowly improving. Owner had shoes put back on. He appears to be sound in Natural balance shoes but as soon as he goes back to normal shoes he's off again. This to me indicates that the horse is not really sound and that the Natural Balance shoes are simply masking the discomfort. The owner has been riding the horse. Now the question becomes it this fair to the horse?

We have to remember too that horses are prey animals. They are very good at hiding discomfort that would target as easy prey until they get to a point where the body can no longer compensate and breaks down. At this stage a lot of damage has often been done. I believe that it is our responsibility to prevent this from happening as much as possible and be observant for early signs.

To come back to the case above, if I as a professional see a pattern like this with a particular solution, I feel that I have the obligation to question this treatment option and look for a better approach. Unfortunately this seems to be much to rare and does cause horses needless suffering. It does causes actually lame horse to be used under saddle, although it seems to the owner, farrier and vet that the horse is now sound. This quite possibly is a rather huge misconception for the reasons stated above!

BALANCED STEP
Ute Miethe  - LMT/LAMT NCTMB
Nationally Certified Massage Therapist & Natural Performance Barefoot Trimmer

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2008 6:55 AM

Subject: [ECHoof] Keeping a horse usable

Dear List

Wanted to address the issue of making a horse usable through masking pain because it has come up a couple of times in this thread.


On the issue of the ethics of palliative treatments to keep horses
'usable' - I'm afraid I can see no justification for using a lame
animal for our pleasure or for sport.

In the five years I've been on the three EC lists, I have never seen anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.  

Let me say that again - I have NEVER seen anyone knowingly advocate this kind of behavior.  That list includes horse owners, vets, hoof pros, members, moderators or list owners.  

In fact, as was demonstrated by the origins of this thread, the basis of the list is quite the contrary.  Every day folks are striving to find the best way to help their horses heal. We are each learning how to get the correct diagnosis, feed to support good health, understand what the hoof needs at a given time for comfort and repair and, finally, what kind of movement and exercise is safe for continued rehab.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  And for playing nice.

Nancy C

EC Hoof Co-moderator