I've been following the discussion of natural trimming and 24/7 turnout with
great interest. It does sound very sensible. However, I think it should be
born in mind that there is no ONE method of treating founder. Each case
should be evaluated on its own, based on circumstances and the physiological
makeup of individual animals.
For example, my 20-year-old Morgan gelding foundered 19 months ago, in the
dead of Maine winter. The ground was only only hard as a rock, but we had
horrific wind chills and very crusty snow. For a body already in some degree
of shock, I feel that 24/7 turnout would have been tantamount to a death
sentence. Therefore, my horse wore Lilly pads for the first few days, and was
then shod on front with eggbar shoes, pads and shock absorbent "memory"
putty. His stall (which unfortunately has a cement floor covered by a rubber
mat) was bedded 14" deep with sawdust.
My horse took full advantage of this soft spot to lie down almost
continuously, and I'm convinced taking that pressure off his hooves is what
saved him. He ended up with 3-degree rotation in one hoof and none in the
other. What little rotation there was was reversed by careful trims at 4-week
I AM a big believer in as much turnout as possible, and had this occured in
another season, might have gone the route many seem to favor. However, my guy
is now sound as a dollar and enjoys life immensely. He's out 8-12 hours per
night with his "girlfriend" as I have no shade in the pasture, but still
likes to come in to lie down in a cushy stall and sleep all day.
The next step, once the summer humidity departs, is to re-introduce this 16.2
hand, 1200 pound geezer to driving after 12 years! :)