"Recognizing hoof distortions in laminitis and founder. Learn how to recognize the _signs_ long before your horse goes completely lame. Understanding how the whole foot not just the coffin bone rotates, and what to look for. What is a laminar wedge, how it can ultimately destroy the foot, is you don't see it developing." -- Linda J. Harris
There are so many different ways that founder is addressed ... from farrier to farrier and trimmer to trimmer. Not all ways are equal; some help a little bit, some are absolutely detrimental to the foundered hoof (with all the best intentions) and others are able to rehabilitate and take care of a foundered horse 100% back to work.
Part of the reason this is so is because people don't understand just what the laminar wedge is, how it forms and what is going on INSIDE the hoof capsule at the time that forms that laminar wedge.
Some farriers and trimmer will simply cut the toe way back and expose the laminar wedge: (photo from laminitis.org)
While others will take some of the laminar wedge from the top wall:
This hoof below ...
Well, you can see that 1/2 the P3 is missing entirely ... but to take away the laminar wedge from the top wall, and back from the toe, would leave absolutely no support for the horse on that foot. So that was left alone and the toes were trimmed back a tiny back every week (yes, that's once a week) and the wedge trimmed from the top carefully and cautiously. The red outline shows the full laminar wedge in that foot. The hoof eventually grew back a solid, albeit a deformed, hoof capsule but the horse actually became 100% pasture sound again. Now THAT was an amazing journey!
Others will simply completely ignore the wedge, throw on some shoes and try to work the hooves from a 'normal' perspective.
Each foundered hoof is different from the other.
Read that again ... each foundered hoof is different from the other.
One must be diligent in trimming the hoof-in-hand on the horse-in-hand in order to do the best by the foot.
Dealing with founder is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the uneducated or inexperienced. After 20 years of working on the worst-case-scenarios .. those were the ones where the owners called me as the "last chance", I can tell you that every, single horse was different from the one I cared for before. There is NO cut and dry, one-way-only method of trimming and caring for foundered horses. That being said, however, a thorough understanding of the foot inside the hoof capsule is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE to have ... more so, even, than knowing the back of your own hand and BEFORE ever taking a rasp or knife or nippers to a live horse's hoof.
I hope you have enjoyed this series and it is my highest hope that you have, now, a solid intellectual understanding of the equine foot.
I am available for any questions. If you suspect your horse is having hoof issues then please feel most welcomed to post some photos and ask questions. Or, email to me, email@example.com and I will do my very best to help you.
I know each and every one of you following this blog have a deep love and connection with your horse(s).
They deserve the best you have to give them.
Blessings and happy trails!
Gwenyth Browning Jones horse Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications including The Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoof care for the last 20 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. You can email to Gwen -- firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone in the US (239)-573-9687. For further information please click here: www.thepenzancehorse.com