Laminitis, Navicular disease, Coffin bone penetration - Hoof Care
Heal The Hoof, Natural Hoof Care

Foundation Information


My shod horse is exhibiting no signs of lameness, can he benefit from barefoot trimming?

Just because an animal is exhibiting no signs of lameness, does not mean that this animal has healthy feet. Horse shoes by definition produce diminished sensation in the foot because of diminished blood flow, as well as by reducing ability to sense the normal terrain. While this may be beneficial to walking and running in the short run ultimately a abnormal growth patterns produced by altered mechanical stress will often result abnormal hoof growth responses and diminished duration of useful function of the horse.

My unshod horse is exhibiting no signs of lameness, can he benefit from barefoot trimming?

Similar reasoning applies to the response above. Although unshod horses typically are not exposed to the pathologic effect of horse shoes as described above, their domestic life style does not allow the same balance of growth and wear to occur that would happen in the wild. Typically there are maladaptations of hoof growth which can result in pain leading to lameness and harmful adaptations in posture.

My horse is lame, can he be fixed?

Most causes of lameness which occur within the hoof such as "dropped coffin bone", laminitis, founder and "navicular" can be returned to soundness with proper barefoot trimming methods. Oftentimes, treatment can last 12-18 months. The length of treatment varies according to the condition, and most of these diagnoses cannot be fixed without the proper rehabilitation environment including a rubber floor and frequent and forced exercise.

My veterinarian said that the horse should be euthanized because there is no care for this condition

Of course, in some cases the veterinarian may be right. There are some horses who are not candidates for recovery based on their age, general medical health, or the progression of the condition causing lameness.

However, many of the cases that you see pictured on this web site, were recommended to be euthanized by a veterinarian. Conventional treatments in many cases have little to offer other than costly prolongation of suffering. The barefoot method, which includes both trimming as well as rehabilitation, offers real hope in many cases, to the diagnoses described above. It takes a skilled professional, to make a determination if the situation is salvageable.

How long does treatment typically take?

The treatment varies from a few months to more than a year. It depends on the diagnosis, the progression of the condition and other factors.

What happens after treatment is completed?

Treatment is not considered completed until the horse maintains stable hoof parameters in a pasture setting. Once this has occurred the horse is allowed to return home. Maintenance trimming, is recommended to prevent recurrence. A list of approved professionals to provide this service will be sent with you at the time of recovery.


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