Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cash in Boots

Three weeks ago I was hit with the news that Cash, my standardbred, had Navicular Syndrome. In the past this has been a diagnosis with no positive outcomes for the horse.

My barefoot trimmer was far more optimistic, as was I after hitting the internet and searching for information. I stumbled across Rockley Farm who work on rehabilitating horses hooves and who are out there competing on barefoot horses. They are actively bringing back the chronic lame horses in pain and giving them and their owners a new lease on life.

Well, off Cash went for another assessment with another vet who is also a rehabilitation barefoot specialist.

Anyhoo, I loaded Cash up into his float, hairy eyeball and all, and took him off to this very knowledgeable vet. She had both Cash and I scooting along in straight lines and circles walking and trotting. Actually with Cash it was a lot of lurching, stumbling and understandably, resistance. With me and my heel spur it was also alot of stumbling and lurching...and cursing. All in all, it was not a pretty sight. And no place for small impressionable children.

This vet does not think it is navicular, rather low grade laminitis.

That is a big ¨yay¨

She popped some horse hoof boots on him and aside from the obligatory walking as though he had chewing gum stuck to all four hooves for the first five or so minutes, he started moving without pain at all. His walk to trot transitions were smooth and that big ole trot of his was back. He moved happily, without pain and with minimal encouragement. He WANTED to move. The boots came off and he went straight back to reluctance, stumbling and tripping.

You can tell at this point that I am new to blogging, otherwise this post would have been flooded with photos of my poor horse and his first attempts to wear these boots. (Apologies to Cash, but it was hilarious!)

He will now be a booted horse.

Just when I thought I couldn´t possibly get any hippier, I am now the whole hog hippy horse owner. Bitless, treeless, barefoot/booted, non-rugging, non hard feeding horse owner...and loving it!


  1. So glad to hear that he will be ok! I imagine a horse with booties on would be quite a funny sight!
    Must be a huge relief for you! YAY CASH!!

  2. Photos, I am sure, would not have done justice to this situation. A video would have been good, but your description of walking like he had chewy on his boots conjures up pictures of its own.

  3. Why did I sing that last paragraph to the Purple people eater tune!!!! :D

  4. Reading your blog is bringing back all my old horse memories. Well horse days, you know what I mean. I can remember the walk - when you first put float boots on them... had forgotten that. So you mean boots, as in support boots?

    Laminitis is not so bad after all. Have those green green fields of feed not been kind to him. Is it diet-related? Good news (had fingers on wrong keys and it came up hoof - hoof news.....)

  5. It is multifaceted. My back and heel have meant that I have been unable to ride for just over a month, so no work for Cash. I moved him from a paddock that was very soft underfoot, which meant that a sand arena was too abrasive and painful for him to work on. So no play, good pasture, soft pasture left Cash a laminitic, sorefooted horse.

    The boots will literally be hoof boots that you slip onto his hooves. Inside there is a rubber padding for extra protection. Without boots he uses a toe first strike when moving as his soles are sensitive to hard surfaces. This means that his frog, which is normally a shock absorber is not being stimulated and is slowing shrinking, worsening his sole and hoof wall soreness as they are taking the impact as his frog atrophies.

    By putting on hoof boots with a padded insert, this cushions the sole and conditions the frog ultimately alleviating the pain. If he is not in pain, then he reverts to a normal heel then toe strike when moving which means he no longer stumbles.

    Eventually through using the boots and restoring a normal foot fall, his soles will harden through walking in the paddock, his frog will once again be healthy and he will eventually be able to work on hard and abrasive surfaces again.

    So it was an acute combination of no work, flooded soft paddocks and autumn grass growth that all came together at once and left him as one very sore pony.