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TOPIC: Luke, brought back to health

Luke, brought back to health 18 May 2009 03:52 #1

Luke had foundered and was being treated by a veterinarian for a year plus. Poor trimming procedure, and chipboard applied to his feet with acrylics. Luke's body condition was a 10, overly obese, cresty neck and all that. He was immobile, with the classic founder stance.

This horse was close to being humanely killed, but his eyes showed me he was fighting his pain. Treatment was twofold: 1) reduce his weight, feeding only 10 pounds of poor grass per day, no grain, no Smartpak supplement.
Luke is a 16-2HH Andalusian, trained and shown at 4th level dressage and needed to really lose enough weight to make another horse. 2) Shoeing: trim to a steep angle, getting both front feet at the same length, # 2 St Croix plains modified with a squared rocker toe, Speed Pads ( source: Ray Steele 413-863-2443) , packing is 100% Silicon. Sole pared to relieve old abscesses, otherwise trimmed in the usual manner. Bute -4 grams per day for the first week.

I started on this horse last December. The shoeing was done at 8 week intervals. Today, he is being ridden lightly as his muscle tone as well as tendons are both weak, but the owner is committed to getting him back into proper strength and form. No abscessing since December. If I didn't know better, I wouldn't be able to pick up that he had foundered.

What 'fixed ' Luke: Weight reduction and basic horseshoeing. No radiographs were available and weren't needed- the seedy toe, all 7/8 inch of it , plus the new hoof growth gave a good idea of where the coffin bone is.

I get 30+/- referrrals a year like this from a local vet, and have found most of the horses are both obese and are on the Smartpak. Usually the shoeing is like that for Luke, with the exception of the squared rocker toe which Luke needed because of the excessive seedy toe.

Might work for you, hope so.
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RE:Luke, brought back to health 18 May 2009 04:27 #2

  • Rick Talbert
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thats good, can you give us some more info, on your technique? how did you manage to forge a square toe and a rocker toe modification on the same shoe and fit them both appropriately? and if the horse had abscesses you relieved by paring, you then cover that area up with silicone and a pad? do you think that getting both hooves of equal length is essential? and the other 29 of these that are referred to you a year, get the exact same shoeing protocol, (minus the square rocker toe) which is, a regular keg shoe with a pad and silicone? Interesting method. congratulations on the horse's recovery.
Rick Talbert
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RE:Luke, brought back to health 18 May 2009 13:48 #3

1) Heat toe area to bright red, Position end of shoe fuller over point of horn, give a good solid blow to center of toe, repeat for other side of shoe. Dress up a little. This gives the square toe. Second heat, place squared portion over opposite side of anvil, shoe laying flat on face of anvil, working hammer at 45 degree angle from one corner of square toe to the other. This gives the rocker toe. Dress squared rocker toe on anvil face nearest you. Level shoe by placing rocker portion over off side of anvil face. When viewed from the side, the bottom of the rocker toe should be at or above foot side of shoe.
Fitting is hot, just touching the foot to see where to remove hoof with rasp. many hot touches depending on amount of hoof and seedy toe to remove. I generally fit the front of the shoe to overlap the hoof about 1/16 inch in front of seedy toe. This method often will get the seedy toe reduced over time-about 6 months to a year, and with a few horses I have found the white line return to almost normal condition. Most, 90%, of my clients are women, so I don't get as agressive as I would like to get the foot in a straight line by trimming with nippers and rasp, impinging into the seedy toe.

2) Abscesses on this horse had already drained on the first shoeing, and were more than likely caused by the vet's chipboard caving in and creating sole pressure. Why do vets think they know anything about shoeing? Abscessing is just a part of founder, If they abscess again, I'll return, cut them out and reset the shoes. An interesting aside-Using these pads and packing with 100% silicone, none of the horses I have worked on had abscessed again.

3) No, getting a foundered horse's feet to match in length may not be the smartest approach, as the rotation left to right may be different. However, Mr vet had them 5/8 different.

4) Yes, the majority of referred horses use the same protocol. Most of the referrals are acute stage, poor luke had been cronic for over a year. I believe the 'cure' is twofold: weight reduction on a bland diet, bute when needed, and the shoeing. These pads are a laminate of two layers of aluminum, with some kind of plastic in center layer. As such , they protect the foot from the ground. They are easy to fabricate, can be cut with a pad cutter, and nails can be driven through them with out a predrilling operation. They do act like a bar shoe because of their rigidity. Our local vet college place foundered horses in deep sand to give dispersed support of the bare foot. 100% silicone seems to accomplish the same result. In the last ten years this method has 'cured' all but one horse that had to be put down because of a BAAAD client/ He wouldn't have me out for resetting, and told the vet that I was resetting on a regular basis. Finally after 7(!) months he called me to reset, pulling the shoes and pads, both coffin bones were just dangling there like
like Christmas tree ornaments. I told him to call the vet.

Note: When I get to these horses and find out the case's problems, I give the client a long lecture, it could cost up to $3,000 in the next year between the vet bills and my bills, the horse may or may not recover and I can't guarantee which it will be, Not much will be noticible in progress for a couple of months, at which time the owner may decide to put the horse down. And most importantly-if the client won't follow instructions, I won't start on the horse. We do have to lay the cards on the table.
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RE:Luke, brought back to health 18 May 2009 17:49 #4

Yes interesting!

Out of all the horses you helped I bet you have some pictures to share? I would really like to see how you pull this of! Impressive from the sound of it.


Ronald Aalders
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RE:Luke, brought back to health 19 May 2009 03:20 #5

Haven't taken any pictures, and probably should have. A promise-the next horse I work on, I will post pictures. Most of the horses I use this technique on have normal shaped feet from the previous farrier, so there is nothing to be gained from lateral photos, maybe unmatched feet when they shouldn't be, angles not meeting the horse's conformation. Luke is an exception in that his feet were butchered and the unbalanced condition is still being fixed. What might be of value to those on this forum is photos of the hardware. I always have a camera with me to get wildlife shots, with the one shot I never took of the grizzly bear I called in during turkey season. He was way too close, appeared big enough to swallow a horse in a couple of gulps and all I could think of was if a turkey shotgun could protect me if he found me or if I should just turn it on myself.
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RE:Luke, brought back to health 19 May 2009 03:46 #6

  • Rick Talbert
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wow, i am at a loss for words,lol. good thing that grizzly didnt eat you for supper:D I am looking forward to your future pictures
Rick Talbert
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