Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wisky Update

Please update us on Wisky, if you can. My friend has a colt right now in a serious founder state. She's using the Soft Ride boots and I have a bucket of Sole Pack, which I've wanted to try on him, but you were the first person I've seen that has used it. Did you just pack it around her frog or under the whole sole?


Wisky at home and post trim pictures of her two front feet.

Hi Michelle,

These are the most recent pictures of Wisky at home. Ann, her new trimmer, is working on her now and is diligent about keeping me posted on her progress.

Honestly, she isn't moving very well right now as she's in a great deal of pain in one front. But we're hoping she working on festering out another abscess and this pain will pass.

As for the Hawthorne Sole Pack: yes, when she was here, I pressed it in all around her frogs.  I will cover the entire bottom of their foot with it sometimes under pads and casts, or boots. In boots, you may want to wrap the foot first with vet wrap as feed that that I'm hearing is that it can get slippery and cause the boots to shift.

Also, it will turn the hoof, boots pads or whatever it comes in contact with black. Not a problem for the hoof, it just doesn't look good for a little while.

Whenever I see any separation in the hoofwall, I always pack the crevices with the packing material, so the wall is packed with that, rather than dirt and small rocks.

I've seen HSP work wonders on hooves in a very short time!

I used it on a pretty severely foundered gelding a over a month ago, a T-walker that foundered 2 years ago and attempts to help him with shoes and pads failed. I was called in, but his owner couldn't give me much time to get him back before considering euthanasia, as she'd been through so much with him already.

I trimmed him and packed his feet with HSP and booted him. The sole pack wasn't left in his foot long though because it was slippery and caused the boots to shift around so the owner removed it.

Even so, he's moving really well now and it's only been 3 trims spaced about 5 weeks apart. That's longer than I normally like to go when I'm first transitioning a horse, but many owners are accustomed to farrier schedules and we get what we get. His owner can see the obvious progress so he gets a new lease on life. He's even trotting around his pasture now. I'm thrilled!

I'm also working on a mare who has been abscessing severely for a couple years and again, the work to rehab her was done with shoes and pads and same story. After a few trims, she is improving. Her owner let her go to a new home as she couldn't afford to feed a horse that was not sound, but I think the horse's new situation will turn out to be a win-win-win for all involved.

So, to be sure, we can't save them all, but we can sure save most of them if we can just get them out of the dang shoes. And we have even better luck if foundered or abscessing horse never go into shoes in the first place. But we can't change that until we change traditional therapies for horse hooves.

I may be going to see Wisky soon. So I'll be able to better update.

Thank you for your interest and if there is any else I can do to help in your situation. Please feel free to let me know.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Wisky Goes Home

This is Roger. He was gelding two weeks ago and has been Wisky's pasture mate ever since. They like each other very much. Wisky actually is very herd bound to Roger. But she lives alone at home so I hope, she gets a pasture mate soon. That will help her mentally want to get better.
Wisky after her last trim on Saturday, the 17th.
She is weighting those front feet and actually feeling pretty good.

Wisky's final trim before going home was done on October 17th and was the best so far. Her frogs are starting to emerge and her heels have been dropping so that I've been able to get her coffin bones closer to ground parallel.
I'm not sure why, but I neglected to take pictures of that trim! Unbelieveable!
Wisky was let back out into the paddock with her buddy, Roger, in her Glove boots after I treated her frogs with Bag Balm. I know. Sounds weird, but it seems to help.
She tried to take off running when I took her halter off and then checked herself. I think her stifle pain stopped her more than her foot pain.
She hasn't been on any pain meds and has been allowing me to pick up and work on either hoof. That is a nice improvement over the last time she was trimmed and shod at her house before she came here. That visit cost her owner $500 for the vet to nerve block her so she could stand on the opposite hoof being worked on, and the farrier, and those crazy plastic shoes.
However, even with all that, the rains came this week and there was moisture inside her boots so her foot was constantly wet. The soles became very soft.
When I checked on her yesterday morning she was not moving well at all. I suspected that the boots were rubbing and she had heelbulb pain so I removed and let her go bare and that seemed to help. Then this morning, she could barely take a step. We'd gone backwards.

I got the Soft Ride Boots and while cleaning her hoof to put those boots on, I noticed that the sole around the apex of her frog was very soft and spongy. NOT a good sign.
Last week, I had already contacted Eric to come pick because she was doing so well and I felt the trimmer in his area, Ann, could easily take her case over now. Then I walked out this morning to this setback. But I had to go to work and Eric picked her up.
The plan for Wisky is that Ann will continue with her hoof care and send me pictures to post here. Then we will regroup in 8 weeks or so to see if we're helping Wisky get better, or if the kindest thing to do is end her pain-filled life.
This is the place where it gets so hard for a hoofcare practitioner and the horse's vet. Trying to determine if we are causing unneeded suffering, and should let the horse. Then you question whether she could have improved if you hadn't made the decision to terminate her life so soon.
I would rather know that the horse had "no chance" of getting better before making that call. It's actually a call for the owner make, but often on our recommendation.
I checked her xrays again today from last year and we are really fighting an uphill battle with poor Wisky.
Had we gotten to her much sooner, I'm almost positive she would have gotten through this long before now and she's be doing well now and that is the sad part.
Natural hoof care is usually the last resort. It should be the first call an owner (or vet) of a foundered horse should make. Sadly, most owners don't even know we exist.

Monday, September 28, 2009


The 25th was a "big trim" day for Wisky. That's how I think of a trim where I feel I've made a huge amount of progress. The hoof is ready, it seems, to let go of damaged material and allow the true inner hoof to begin emerging.

This trim, I was able to remove a lot of material from Wisky's front hooves. And her hinds had exfoliated plenty of sole material, so her walls were ready to come down. There isn't much more to do on Wisky's hinds than regular maintance trims from this point, but her fronts are the big story.

I trimmed her hinds first, then her fronts. I worked for nearly two hours just on this trim.

This is her uninjured front foot. Most the work I've been able to do on her overgrown front feet had to be done with an angle grinder. Rasping would have required much more time and sweating.

This is the hoof that she injured originally as well as the next shot. The injured hoof is taking longer to release necrotic material, but all we can do is trim what is allowed and wait for her hoof to offer more. That's the least invasive way to repair damaged hooves. But still, we have to know what we can take and what we must leave, and that comes with experience reading the hooves.

You can see the scar above her coronet band here.
You can also see the stretched dead laminae. A typical view in a case like this where the walls were allowed to grow at will and no corrective trmming was done in the past.

This trim left one front hoof smaller than the other as I was able to take more material from the uninjured hoof. She was rebooted after this trim in two different types of boots. I used the Easycare Glove on the uninjured foot and the Soft Ride Comfort boot on her injured foot.

Here she is right after our work together, relaxing in the playfield. The grass in this field is playground grass. Tough stuff and challenging for a horse to eat. My horses don't care for it much and just nibble here and there. That's all Wisky does. It gives her something to do and a reason to keep moving, but not much green grass is digested in this field.

Update: Wisky has been barefoot for the past two days and no meds for pain. She's been strolling around gingerly, but last night when I went out to toss hay to her, she was out in the middle of the field and I called her over. She came trucking across the field at a good clip. Favoring her injured leg just slightly. What a thrilling sight that was to see.

We have a ways to go, but the little steps in a case like this are so exciting. I have 3 weeks left to get her ready to go home. Her hoof care will be taken over by another natural hoofcare trimmer in her area. It will be sad to see her go, but I look forward to the updates on her progress.

Go Wisky!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I tried to get a picture of what I caught Wisky doing today, But I was too late and too far away.

She was running and trotting around the field! When her tail comes up and she floats around at a canter, she is a real beauty, you'll just have to take my word for it for now.

I wish I could have gotten a video of moving and will try harder next time. All I caught was a flipping tail after she came to a stop. She had just been running the length of this fence! Yes, that's Spencer walking over to chat with her. He really likes her. I guess he has a thing for slender gals. That counts me out.

How good it feels to email or call the owners of horses like Wisky to give them news like this. It doesn't mean she is out of the woods yet, not even close, but it is a big sign of hope. She hasn't been on pain meds for days!

At the end of a long and tiring day, I took this picture of the sunset over the horses' behinds. It just reminded me that there is always hope.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gloved and Ready to Fight

Here is a product I recently added to my arsenal to help horses in Wisky's condition fight to get their painfree hooves back. It's a great softening agent that makes trimming easier and it pads their frogs. It's simply pine tar and iodine and the texture is like thick, gummy, dough.

So Wisky wore the Soft Ride Comfort Boots for about 2 weeks. I like that you can leave those boots on for an extended period without worry of rubbing, normally, as long as the boot is not small for the hoof.

Then for a few days I just filled her hoof with the Hawthorne Sole Pack and let her go bare. I've stopped the bute for a few days to see where her pain level is and it seemed to be about at 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. She will walk over gravel for hay, but thinks twice about walking over gravel for water.

Here are a couple quick videos that I took of Wisky after she had been barefoot for a few days and soles packed with Sole Pack. I took these after I had just cleaned the Sole Pack out of her hooves. The pain meds had also left her system by this time. I spend lots of time evaluating her with and without pain meds, with and without boots and this is the worst she's been since arriving.

Again, this was just after I clean the Sole Pack from her hooves. Before, she was walking on the gravel, although painfully. Here she was considering taking a few steps toward the water, but just could not do it. The length of these videos was a long as I left her in this situation. Which I mention only so you know I'm not into watching horses suffer. I just need to gauge where horses are as far as pain level to determine if they are improving or going backwards.

I'm trying something different!

After these videos were taken, I repacked her hoof with Sole Guard, and put the Easycare Inc., Glove Boots on her. A boot that doesn't have as much padding, but she can navigate in without the weight of the Soft rides. The Sole Pack not only cushioning the bottoms of her feet, it is a healing agent. And I believe I can leave these boots on for extended periods. She was still walking gingerly afterwards, but she was walking.

She is also standing more square in this situation than she has before.

Wisky frogs were rotted and thrushy when I removed her plastic shoes, and this sole pack has helped. The problem with the Vettec CS (Copper Sulfate) that is generally used to pack the natural balance shoes that we see on many of these horses in her condition is that the Vettec CS literally rots the frog and surrounding sole. At least, that's what I see when I pull those shoes. The frog turned to a powdery residue that flakes off exposing the inner frog. So I don't believe Copper Sulphate is the answer to thrush.

So today, I cleaned and re-packed her hooves and put a pair of size 2 Easycare Gloves on her, her pain level seemed to drop to about a 4. She's pretty happy. These lightweight boots which help her move a bit more normally.

I'll see where she's at tomorrow with them and will be watching closely for rubbing. She is starting on her second month here. I have only a four more weeks to determine if there is any chance we can pull her out of the future.

Her owner lives too far away for me to travel to, but I found a competent trimmer in her area to take over her care.

I checked her hinds today also and she has sloughed a good deal of sole which has left her walls and bars high.

When I look at Wisky, I wonder if she is older than her owner thinks she is. He said she's always been a thin horse, but when you look under her tail, she is sunken, like horses that have been extremely underfed.

Her teeth need to be floated. But spending hundreds on a horse that may not make it, is something that must be condidered. If it appears that we can pull her through this, then I would highly recommend a dental. On the flip side, it would be less of a challenge to get her through this situation if her teeth were working properly.

She seems to be eating well for now. So the dental is a consideration we'll just have to put on the back burner until we can make a better determination regarding her future.

Stay tuned for the results.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


We worked on Wisky today. These are not very good pictures, but it was getting late and I was excited and wanted upload a post about her progress.

Today, we made some real progress. She is on soft ground and moves okay on it for a horse in her condition. I wanted her feet to get some moisture, the boots keep them dry.

So she's not wearing boots at this time, but I gave her some bute. She has to walk on gravel to get to water and shelter, but even without the boots and pain meds, that doesn't keep her off the gravel.

If you go back to the earlier posts and compare her feet to these pictures...well, I'm pretty happy with what we've been able to do so far. I just wish she would gain some weight! She's only Eleven, but her body looks much older. I think, once we can determin that her feet are out of the woods, she needs a dental! Iwish that was something we could just have done, but it's expensive and I feel I would need to justify it to the owner, by showing him real pregress on her hooves. That I understand.

The day I removed the shoes, I was only able to trim one foot. Her left front, the worst one of the two. So this was the first trim for right foot.

Tomorrow I'll check on her and possibly put the boots back on to keep her comfortable. She has lost a bit of weight, I believe and probably from so much more movement than she's gotten in awhile. I treated her for some itching she's been doing also. I hope that helps. She has a rain sheet on as we had thunder showers today.

She sure is a sweet mare to work on. Her legs as well as her feet hurt and she still tries pretty hard to cooperate. She's not afraid of much of anything either and that's key to helping her as we used the angle grinder on this trim. That was our saving grace as she couldn't hold her foot up very long at a time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Boot Leg Wisky!

The boots arrived! YAY!

I had these babies over-nighted so I could get something on Wisky's tender feet as soon as possible. These are Soft Ride Comfort Boots...about the only boot I've found that works well as therapy boots.

We popped them on little Wisky and she was a pretty happy camper.

This is a sassy little head toss she seems to like to do whenever she's feeling...well, sassy!

She's been let out of the arena onto the playfield!

She's not to sure about Roger the donkey on the other side of the gate. But he knows he likes her.

Then Rich found a friend for her and he said she was actually trotting around in her excitment, but I missed it. She lives alone at her home.

One last shot of the work crew before we go inside for the evening and leave the horses on their own.