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Mission Farrier School  Horseshoeing School     

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Beau is a 23 year old Arabian gelding. His owner brought him to our facility in November of 2003. He had been laying down for the previous 4 months after an acute laminitic episode, and presented as an Obel grade 4 lameness, Cushings syndrome horse with refractory laminitis. He was currently on 2-4 grams of Bute per day and still laying down most of the time. His blood work revealed that he was a true diabetic/insulin resistant.  


As you can see from the pictures, his feet looked fairly good from the exterior lateral view. The only problem was, he couldn�t walk on them. Beau�s feet showed some abscess tracts on the bottom. Radiographically, Beau had distal displacement of his coffin bone and a significant lamellar wedge.  

We began by preparing a base at the back of the foot and rockered the toe to allow the large subsolar abscess to drain.  Please understand, this is not live, healthy tissue.  It is stretched, necrotic tissue with some stretched vasculature, hence the red.  It is called "a lamallar wedge". 

We did a coronary grooving to his left front to take the stranglehold off of the coronary band and to offer relief to the extensor process of P3.  

When the coffin bone is a sinker as well as rotates, the hoof capsule above P3 shrinks and the hoof can no longer accept a load up through the back of the foot through the frog and digital cushion because the extensor process gets "jammed" against the now smaller hoof capsule at the top.  By relieving the stranglehold at the top, we are able to give the coffin bone a chance to come back up in the hoof capsule, through introducing a healthy load at the back of the foot.

We then applied dental impression material and Purple Podiatry Pads (3P�s).


The next couple of weeks we maintained him in 3P support and made daily modifications with the 3P�s stacking and wedging to try to let Beau give us some indication if his feet could handle a load up through the back of the foot. It has been our experience that if a horse can get to the point where he can accept a load up through the back of the foot, then he has a significantly better chance of getting well.  


In the middle of December we added a heel block to the left front, then came back 2 days later and added a window Double Nail Pad (DNP) system to a base prepared at the back of the foot, and added another heel block to aid him in achieving a load up through the back of his foot.


You can see the significantly different hoof angles between what he had, and what he needed to have, once we got the base prepared at the back of the foot.  


On December 19th, we grooved his right front and applied an EDSS system to that foot. While Beau could now stand up, he still could not stand on one foot, so we applied the EDSS system to his right front while he was laying down.  



He now had a modified, high heel DNP system with a window and rocker toe to the Left Front and an EDSS system on his right front. After 5 months of laying down, Beau was now standing up for longer periods of time, however he was reluctant to walk and we were quite concerned. For the next week Beau didn�t get any worse, but he didn�t get any better either. We decided on Christmas eve to sadly make the suggestion to Beau�s owner that it was time to let him go. But Christmas morning when we went out to feed, Beau took 6 whole steps, better than he had done in over 5 months! Encouraged, we didn�t make the dreaded phone call. Beau�s feet had begun to turn around.  



In January we adjusted the DNP system about every other day, tweaking it to continue to provide support to the back of the foot. Towards the third week of January he was doing so well, it was time for an EDSS system on the left front with tall rails and a tall frog insert. His foot was now accepting the load up through the back of the foot, and with the resected toe pillars and the coronary grooving, the coffin bone was able to be lifted up and forward in what was left of the hoof capsule. It may have looked ugly, but he was now using his foot.  


So, what is a �pretty� foot? He had pretty feet when he came but he couldn�t use them, so to us a pretty foot is one the horse can stand on and use.

Beau continued to show dramatic improvement. At the end of January we put a new EDSS system on his right front and aggressively thinned the dorsal wall. We removed the heel block from the left front and also thinned what was left of that dorsal wall.


For the next year, Beau�s owner continued to bring him to us every 4 to 6 weeks for follow-up. She is now riding him on the trails. 




Horses that have recovered from severe laminitis will often have a nicer foot in both function and appearance than they had prior to the laminitic episode, if appropriate support and protection is offered. As you can see from these pictures taken 7 months later, Beau�s feet have done significant remodeling and are quite healthy. He was leading us in a BIG trot up and down our paved driveway.  


As you can see from these pictures, first one in March and second one in
June 2004 (4 and 7 months later), Beau's feet have done significant remodeling and
are quite healthy.  

The coronary grooving is almost completely grown out, and notice how smooth the wall is coming out of the coronary band.




Owner comments - �Thank you again for making Beau a part of Soundfest and everything else you have done for him. I�m still amazed at his continued recovery and so thankful that he is still with me. When we returned home yesterday, I turned him out with his favorite mare and he walked around the whole pasture. His walk was purposeful and happy. As I was watching him, he decided to canter across the pasture and he did so with such ease and confidence that it made me cry. To a bystander not familiar with the challenges that this horse has had to overcome, it would have seemed rather ordinary, but to me it was a moment that I will never forget�. Beau�s owner.  



We should note here that when Beau first came he seemed on the verge of giving up on life. He was in pain, his eye was dull and he was not only reluctant to stand, but also reluctant to eat. We had just brought home a little goat (Sasha) as a companion for one of our horses who refused to eat. Sasha is a miracle in a small package. She seems to have an uncanny ability to pick out the sickest horse and attaches herself to him/her. Sasha decided to attach herself to Beau. She slept with him, ate with him, curled up next to him, butted him, crawled around on him and generally gave him something to live for. Within a few days, his eye brightened, be began to eat, and he began to have a reason to live, which bought us enough time to begin to get his feet turned around. Mental well-being is also a huge part of the healing process and should not be overlooked. As another of our and Sasha�s clients has said, �That is one amazing goat�.  

We always caution owners; horses don�t get this lame overnight, and fixing them can take months or years, and depends on several factors. While we have had a lot of successes, there are no guarantees. Our philosophy is that we will try, as long as the owner and the horse wants to try.