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Discussion on Extremely lame after 'natural trim' .. day 6 and counting

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Shannon Steketee
New Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Thursday, Oct 2, 2008 - 12:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

First let me thank Dr. O and the contributors to this site, I have been a regular reader for the last 6 months or so and have found it very informative.

Now to my question (long post warning):

We have a new boarder who is very new to horse ownership. Her horse has several confirmation faults causing him to toe in severely on the front end, among other things. He is also very flat footed and thin soled (confirmed with recent x-rays). She is aware of these problems and took him on as a 'pity case' hoping to at best get him sound enough for occasional light trail use. at worst at least rescue him from a situation where he was very unhappy; he had been stall kept and given no attention for the last 6 years, was bought as a jumping prospect and didn't work out due to his confirmation problems.

The horse has been with us for a month and showed remarkable improvement over that time, going from being gimpy at the walk to being able to trot and canter around the pasture with the rest of the herd.

He was trimmed last Saturday by a 'barefoot trimmer' who I have since discovered only has a couple years' experience. She severely lamed the horse to the point where he was not able to walk. She told the horse's owner that this is normal and she should expect the horse to be quite sore for about a week.

When looking at the trim it looked like she was trying to correct the horse's confirmation faults with this trim, and drastically changed the way he was loading his hooves and the angles of his joints. That combined with the fact that she left him standing completely on his frogs (no hoof wall or heel left to speak of) caused the lameness.

I contacted the person who did the trim to let her know how bad the horse was, and she is denying responsibility. She says the lameness is caused by a severe case of thrush (neither the vet nor I can see it) and laminitis caused by his diet (this 1200 pound Hanoverian was gradually over the last month worked up to free choice grass hay and 1 pound of high fat concentrate per day).

It seems obvious to me that the trimmer (I can't bring myself to call her a farrier) is at fault. While I accept that in some cases a horse might be a little tender for a day or so after a too-short trim, Grade 4 lame for a week is NEVER acceptable.

My question (finally!) is this: could this aggressive trim have caused laminitis or done some other long term damage I should be looking out for? I have thankfully never been in this situation before.

The horse is on bute and is now able to take about 1-foot long strides. I recommended boots but the owner hasn't brought them yet and none of mine fit him.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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jojo
Member
Username: jojo15

Post Number: 1020
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 2, 2008 - 1:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

SHANNON, I've heard this all too many times. Sadly, she probably did trim too aggressively. And that is not how many of us that believe in putting our horses barefoot have them trimmed. Its also sadly why many of us learn to trim our own horses. But i don't think you will see any serious long term damage unless she totally butchered the poor thing. Well, not from what i've heard in the past or seen.

boots are a great idea. for now. And bute too. and in a couple of weeks you should see him bounce back.

THis only happened to me once. Once is all it takes though isn't it.

The other question i have is was this horse shod previously and this is his first barefoot trim? First time without shoes? Because that will happen regardless if the trim was not aggressive in the least but the horse getting his "feeling" back in the hoof and he will likely look/be lame for a few weeks after taking shoes off for the first time.
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Shannon Steketee
New Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Thursday, Oct 2, 2008 - 1:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Jos, thanks for your reply. This horse has been barefoot for the last 6 years, I agree that when transitioning from shoes to barefoot one would expect some soreness.

I do agree with keeping horses barefoot who can tolerate it. Mine are both barefoot and gravel-crunching sound; I have been trimming them myself for the last couple years as one grows very slowly and the other needs a tweak every couple weeks. I am amazed at how much differently I now look at feet now .. just goes to show you how much more there always is to learn! :-)

I am still suggesting to this owner that we keep the horse barefoot since he was doing well before the trim. IMO he needs a good 3-4 months of just turnout to learn how to start using himself again and develop some natural muscle tone; hopefully his feet will improve with increased stimulation of turnout too.

You are right .. once is all it takes. Thanks again for your input.
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Shannon Steketee
New Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Thursday, Oct 2, 2008 - 1:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

OOPS .. I meant thanks Jojo .. not Jos :-)}
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 2920
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Thursday, Oct 2, 2008 - 3:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Shannon, I have had that happen a couple times years ago, and unfortunately one did founder from it.

If the horse is a thin souled beast it may help to tape the construction grade styrofoam on for awhile. Boots with pads would work also.

Iodine, or betadine, personally I am real fond of durasole to toughen up the soles.

My horse was trimmed to short awhile ago too, but he has very problematic hooves anyway! He was so sore I had him shod for 6 weeks, he went from VERY gimpy to sound with the shoes. He is back barefoot and doing well.

If the owner doesn't want to deal with boots or styrofoam shoes are a good (easy) option until the hoof grows out.
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 2020
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 2, 2008 - 3:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

Yikes! Other than keeping the horse comfortable, there is not much more you can do as his hoofs will have to grow out again. They will grow of course, but watching and waiting stinks, been there, done that.

I've been studying barefoot trimming for about 1 1/2 years, doing my 4 that long. Stories like yours make me madder than H***! NO one should ever make a horse sore after a trim. I wouldn't be upset at a little "gimpiness" afterwards if the trimmer made a mistake, but you are not talking about a little gimpiness here.

Can you post some pictures? Showing the hoofs from the side, heels, and bottom? I'd love to see them, if for nothing else to make sure I never make such a mistake on my own! Maybe we can see if it's just a matter of being to short, or being too much angle change at once, or what.

He will be fine in the long run I am pretty sure. Just may not like being trimmed again in the future.

Poor guy.
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 714
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Thursday, Oct 2, 2008 - 8:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No good excuse to change so much at one time and make the horse miserable and at risk for laminitis. I have a boy who was going much as you described, toeing in, thin sole, flat feet. The problem was farrier work over the years. A good natural type farrier examined him and had me skip an entire trim time and then gradually took him from frequent lameness and rough going, toeing in especially on his right front to being sound for the first time in 12 years. The farrier does not believe in trying to correct conformational defects, which is what got this horse into difficulties in the first place when he was young. I am so sorry that he had to suffer through so many years. His entire demeanor is now different at 22-years of age. In the past I had a farrier that increasingly was laming this horse where he was in pain for a week at a time. I felt very fortunate that he never got laminitis. When he was going through those painful times I kept him on Bute for a few days to get him through the tough time and so he would keep moving and not favor one foot over another.
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 483
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Oct 2, 2008 - 10:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Inexcusable, if the trim caused the lameness. Did she trim off any sole? Trying to change angles on an adult horse will only result in more problems. Research has shown this is not possible after a few months of age. He toes in--he must be trimmed accordingly. Not trimmed to look as if he doesn't or to make him straight. Can't happen, will damage the horse. He should be kept on very soft ground or bedding or as recommended above, stryofoam pads or boots, until he's comfortable. If I called any of the farriers I work with after a trim and said the horse is sore, that farrier would be at my place asap to check things out! I would not let this person touch my horse again.
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CherylA
Member
Username: canderso

Post Number: 435
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Friday, Oct 3, 2008 - 7:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is the third time this week I have heard about barefoot trimmers using diet (too much sugar) and thrush as an excuse for post-trim lameness.

Dr O - two questions:

1)How bad would thrush have to be to cause lameness? What are the signs (other than lameness)?

2)Is it possible for diet to directly cause lameness, without some interim issue such as laminitis being present?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 21465
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Oct 3, 2008 - 8:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Shannon,
If the horse exercises too much on thin soles, the inflammation can create a founder like situation that results in rotation. For more on proper treatment to help prevent this see, Diseases of Horses » Lameness » Diseases of the Hoof » Problems Following Shoeing or Trimming.

CherylA, you will find a thorough discussion of thrush and clinical signs at Diseases of Horses » Lameness » Diseases of the Hoof » Thrush. I am not sure exactly how to answer the last question. Explain what you mean by "directly causing lameness".
DrO
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Aileen
Member
Username: sunny66

Post Number: 2198
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, Oct 3, 2008 - 9:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've learned one thing, if you bute, BOOT! They don't feel the pain and can cause more damage. I would also put something (iodine or even betadine) on the sole to toughen it until the feet grow out.... and get a new trimmer... but you knew that!

ps... I've also used 2 diapers with duct tape if boots weren't available. Not cloth diapers, the breathable ones.
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Shannon Steketee
New Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Friday, Oct 3, 2008 - 11:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks all for your input.

Diane, my first thought was shoes as well but it will be weeks before he has enough hoof to nail into. If you've ever seen a hoof that has broken way back to the nail holes after shoes are pulled, imagine that but all the way around.

Angie, I will snap some pics this weekend; basically she took away any and all hoof wall contact with the ground to leave him standing completely on his soles (we're not talking about a nice mustang roll here), and took down his heels so he was rocked back onto his frogs. In a sound horse with nice tough concave soles you might get away with that, but not with this guy. Pictures will be worth a thousand words, though.

Vicki I am curious: is it your new farrier that doesn't attempt to correct conformational faults with the trim, or the old one? In my experience (my gelding has one club foot, toes in on both fronts, and is 'windswept' behind but has never been lame a day) so long as the horse is using himself OK and is not lame I prefer not to try to change them once they are adults.

Julie the only thing this trimmer did that I agree with is she left the soles and bars alone. I know there is a lot of controversy about this; another of our boarders uses a barefoot trimmer who trims out the soles and bars more than I prefer, but the horses she works on are always sound after so I don't quibble. I say do what works for each horse. On mine, I follow their natural angles, never touch the sole unless it is shedding, and never touch the bars unless they are overgrown which does sometimes happen in the wet winter. In the summer they wear down naturally.

Again, I appreciate everyone's input and advice. I will ask again that his owner get him some boots, and barring that looks like styrofoam and duct tape for a while :-) He is better on grass than hard ground so I think that will really help him.
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 715
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, Oct 3, 2008 - 8:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon, the farrier who finally fixed my poor suffering boy respected his natural way of going and did not try to "correct" anything but took time to allow the horse to heal himself before beginning any trimming, and read the signs on the hooves before beginning. After the first trim, my horse was very much relieved and showed his gratefulness and relief. For years he had a strong mistrust and dislike of farriers in general because over the years they had only brought him pain. His release from pain was a couple of years ago. I only wish that it had not taken me so long to find a resolution. I tried my best and must be thankful that finally I did find the answer.
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Shannon Steketee
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 6
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Monday, Oct 6, 2008 - 11:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the clarification Vicki. Hopefully we'll get this boy turned around too.

We got a deluge this weekend so no pics, though the soft ground is really helping. I think this is the first time I've ever been grateful for mud!
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 721
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Oct 6, 2008 - 8:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Good luck Shannon. I would love for many others to get the kind of help that I finally found for my old guy who now flies around like a youngster after so many years of pain and suffering, which effected his attitude and personality over a long period of time. In part, I got really lucky but it was hard to make the decisions that I did to continue to try new things because I liked my prior farrier very much as a human being. He simply did not have the knowledge or training to solve my horse's problems with his conventional farrier training, in spite of his good intentions.
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Miriam Braun
Member
Username: huf5

Post Number: 36
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 - 11:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Shannon, I am curious to know how he is doing now, and if you had those photos.
Thank you
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IKE
Member
Username: kriseyc

Post Number: 36
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Monday, Dec 22, 2008 - 2:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I feel so bad for that horse, I hope he's feeling better. I don't understand why people let "natural trimmers" cut into their horses hooves. Why not have a well trained farrier trim them? Is it really worth saving a little money hiring a less educated/qualified person if the horse ultimately suffers so much? I'm sure there are some "trimmers" that help horses and have more education than other's, but most I have seen don't know the physiology of the foot as deeply as most farrier's. I hope the horse is feeling better and can walk soon.
ike
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Shannon Steketee
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 53
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Monday, Dec 22, 2008 - 6:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the reminder to post a followup, this horse is actually doing great now, which is a pleasure to see. His feet are ugly (he toes in something awful in front) but he gallops around the pastures jumping over brush and generally causing trouble so I take that as a sign he is happy the way he is. It took him about a month to grow enough hoof out to the point where he could walk and trot comfortably, and a full 8 weeks before we was altogether sound.

In addition to the heartbreak of seeing him in pain for so long, it really threw a wrench into my horsekeeping as all our horses are kept in a herd. I had to keep them all in a flat soft field for a while so he would be able to keep up.

I agree that a self taught trimmer who may have gone to a 3 day clinic or two is no match for a certified farrier. I trim my own two barefoot horses, have for the past few years, but there is no way I would tout myself as a pro, and when people ask me to do their horses I say no. It wouldn't be fair to them as it's something I'm just not trained to do. I look at farriery as practicing medicine, and think you shouldn't be able to do it without some sort of testing and license. What kills me is many of the people around here billing themselves as 'barefoot specialists' charge twice as much for a trim as any other farrier, and have no formal training.

While a 'piece of paper' (certification) doesn't mean your farrier is any good, it at least means he has been exposed to a variety of methods and is familiar with the anatomy of the hoof.
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Miriam Braun
Member
Username: huf5

Post Number: 48
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Monday, Dec 22, 2008 - 6:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Shannon,
I am glad to hear he is doing alright!!
I totally agree that too many people who dub themselves as natural trimmers having attended a clinic or two (I know!! been there)
I am attending a school it is a 2 year in depth program, with multiple practical applications as well as a in depth theoretical program, anatomy, physiology, histology, nutrition, etc.
Keep us up-dated :-):-)
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 829
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Dec 22, 2008 - 8:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Great news, Shannon.

I should add here that my farrier described above who has all of my boys going great had regular conventional farrier training first (much of which he ultimately departed from), then studied for quite a long while under a prominent "equine podiatrist."

He learned the mechanics and details of how the foot works with the rest of the horse, did not buy into any one program or set of rules but worked through everything learned and drew his own conclusions about what would work.

He tries to keep horses out of shoes to the detriment of his personal income because he feels that ultimately this is best for horses, however, he will use shoes when they are truly needed, but in the simplest possible way and for the shortest time feasible, understanding also that some individuals will need shoes forever because of their past and sometimes uncorrectable history. Such individuals for him do not come along very often and are an exception to what usually happens with his clients.
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 2231
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Dec 22, 2008 - 10:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

Glad to hear he's doing better.

I really wish there wasn't the "natural" trimmer vs the "farrier" schools here. Maybe there should be some simple title, like "hoof person" wink.

It's not just the "natural trimmers" who can make mistakes trimming, I had a guy doing my horses 30 some years ago who always left one of the 3 sore every time, not always the same horse! He was my "hoof guy" and that's all we knew then.

It's complicated thing to get into as I am learning, and I'll never do more than my own unless I took a detailed course myself.
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Shannon Steketee
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 55
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 23, 2008 - 12:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, I think that would apply to horsemanship in general! There are so many always/nevers (where one person will tell you 'you must ALWAYS do x', and the next person will say 'you should NEVER do x') in the horse business most times you just have to smile, try to use your best judgement, and listen to the horses.

Another one of our boarders uses a barefoot specialist who does a great job, leaves a nice looking foot and has never sored a horse at my place. The proof as they say is in the pudding.

I am a firm believer in 'the more you learn the more you realize you have to learn'! I considered myself a fairly knowledgeable horse person (always the beginning of the end ha, ha) when I started trimming my own horses a few years ago, and realized in short order that I had never learned to look at a hoof critically before. It's easy to look at a nice foot on a correct horse and see that it looks right, but to take a hoof between your knees and know where to rasp and where not to, and how to set up those angles, is a real challenge. Not to mention brutally hard work! Every time I do a trim I am reminded that a good farrier (or shoer or trimmer or what have you) is worth their weight in gold :-)
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IKE
Member
Username: kriseyc

Post Number: 37
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 23, 2008 - 12:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Here...here!! Angie & Shannon. Well put!

I'm so glad the horse is feeling better!

Ike.
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Rachelle E. Morris
Member
Username: rtrotter

Post Number: 121
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 23, 2008 - 3:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

I think you nailed it on the head when you said" you needed to look at the horses hoof critically." Until about 2 years ago, I never did that. I relied on my blacksmith to know what he was doing, if he said the horse had a 50 degree angle in the front with a 3 1/2 in toe in front and 55 degree angles behind. I was happy ( normal angles for a standardbred pacer).

Now, I know better, I use a barefoot ( or should I say a nailess) professional trimmer that has taught me more about what it is I am looking at, than I learned in 30+ years of being a standardbred trainer and using a regular farrier. He looks at each foot individually and although he carries one unless I ask he never checks any of my horses angles relying instead on if the hooves are structurally sound and if the horse is comfortable and sound.

On one of my horses we had gone months without taking any angles or measuring toe length. She was very sound and moving really nicely. As a lark, I had him measure her angles on her front feet ( on a trotter, these are normally 48-52 degrees and the longer the toe the better). This horse was 54 on one foot and 51 on the other, with very short toes, this worked for her. If you looked at her feet they were just they way you would want a foot to look on both feet, nice and round, very good thick wall, lots of concavity in the sole, very healthy and very sound.

All I know is that I did my research before I chose who it was I wanted to trim my horses and since I was dealing with performance ( race) horses. I needed someone to work with me. The guy I have is very knowledgeable and educated and does what he can to help as many sore footed horses ( includes freebies at a nearby therapy center) as he can. His frustration comes when after he has fixed the hoof problems in a horse, and the horse is doing extremely well, someone comes along and negates all the work he has done ( new trainer says horse can't possibly go barefoot, even though he has been going that way for months)

Oh well, anyway I am a firm believer in educating myself and others and even though sometimes I get very opinionated. I agree with you Shannon, the proof is in the pudding:-)

All, have a happy healthy holiday season and look forward to a great 2009!

Rachelle
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