Case Studies

   Ride and Drive
   Heavy Weight Gypsy Cob
   21 yrs
   Contracted Heels

Charlie is a rather temperamental, stout fellow; he is gypsy cob with the body of a shire and the legs of a pony. I'm not sure I will ever come across another such unique lad.

He had a chronic infection in his frogs that had been relatively unresponsive to previous treatments and was prone to maggots. Charlie's movement had becoming increasingly restricted over the years, he was visibly uncomfortable moving around and extremely prone to tripping and stumbling whilst out hacking.

He also had severely contracted heels and the discomfort in the back portion of his hoof had led him to walk toe first to compensate. Because of this abnormal gate, the hoof had become deformed. He also had the complication of a pre-existing arthritic condition in his knees which made it difficult to implement any sudden changes.

We removed his shoes; this reduced weight and concussion on his arthritic joints, then began rehabilitating his hooves by treating the thrush. This was done initially with the help of some hoof boots and pads which made him more comfortable and enabled him to walk heel first. We could then begin balancing his feet by gradually lowering his heels. This readjusted the pressure on his frogs and we were able to restore some function to the back portion of his hoof, this in turn, encouraged his heels to expand.

Over time, Charlie's hooves transformed; they grew strong with a lovely sheen, his frogs developed, his heels expanded and he became more content and cheerful on his walks out. Charlie's story will continue however and he will stay on monthly trims as because of the arthritis in his knees, he cannot cope with any longer between visits. It is now an ongoing plan of caring for Charlie although we will always have to keep an eye on his frogs for thrush.

'I am honoured to have been allowed the opportunity of working with him and will continue to care for his hooves the best I can. I owe this little horse so very much for the important lessons and experience I gained from working with him.'

Its two years on now, although Charlie will remain limited because of his arthritis, he is much more confident and comfortable walking and still enjoys little hacks out.

   Retired Broodmare
   18 yrs

I was there when Cari had her acute attack of laminitis as she was due for a trim. I have never seen anything like it, I hope to never see it again. It was the speed at which it happened that astounded me. She was displaying signs of discomfort moving around and was reluctant pick up a foot. This didn't feel right at all. The vet was immediately called and within the time it took him to arrive, she had already rapidly deteriorated. Her respiration had increased, her ears were flat back and she started to shift her weight dramatically onto her heels. It was obvious that she was in a great deal of pain so she lay down in her bed as that was the only way she knew how to relive the pressure from her feet

She stayed laid flat out in her stable for five days. The vet had a run a test for Cushings even though she had none of the typical signs associated with the condition. As soon as there was positive result we knew the route cause of the attack had been diagnosed and the correct treatment could be prescribed. Voilà!

Once the inflammation had subsided sufficiently and she was looking comfortable, we had to then start on the long road to rehabilitating her hooves. Due to the severity of this attack, her laminae had completely failed leading to her pedal bone rotating and sinking within her hoof capsule on both of her front feet.

Every effort was taken to keep her comfortable during this process, we focused on managing her condition, environmentally and nutritionally. She was put on a regular trim cycle and was extremely closely monitored throughout. On every visit I watched as the true extent of the damage that had happened in those five days became ever more apparent. Until new healthier hoof had grown down to the ground, I had to continue to trim her remedially to allow her hoof to function normally and prevent deformation.

A year on and Cari is completely comfortable now that her condition is managed. Her quirky little nature is back in full force and she is constantly on high alert for non existent danger. She even enjoys occasional walks in the park and watching the boats float by.