Wild Kaimanawa horse photos courtesy of Heike Erhlenbach

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Hoofcare Organisation Of  New Zealand Inc.
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HOOFNZ FAQ Page Number 11

21 I’ve tried everything with my foundered pony. Can natural hoof care cure her? She is very sick.

Founder/laminitis are very complex issues. Natural hoof care practitioners can work with your vet and help your pony grow in new hoof capsules with a better laminar attachment. Trimming though, is only a small part of the rehabilitation of foundered horses and ponies. No amount of good hoof care is going to help the pony that is continuing to stuff itself with the grass that caused the problem in the first place! The cause of the laminitic episode needs to be found and addressed and measures need to be taken to make sure the horse/pony/donkey isn’t exposed to the same trigger/s again. There are a wide range of laminitis triggers, some of which include; certain grasses, grasses at certain times of the year, grasses under stress, feeds high in sugar, chemical poisons, spray drift, vaccination, some worm drenches. Finding the real cause of the problem can be difficult but is necessary if you are to prevent a reoccurrence.

22 My horse used to be very athletic but now he seems to be getting very lazy when I ride him. I’ve recently read that this can be because he has pain somewhere in his body. Could his feet be sore?

Any horse that is, or becomes ‘lazy’ needs to have a thorough vet check and hoof health assessment. Laziness is often the first sign that there is a hoof related issue that is causing the horse to not want to move forward freely. Any discomfort in the hoof will have a flow on effect into the horse’s body. If there is a problem in the hoof caused by an imbalance or excess of hoof horn or other factors, usually the first change that takes place is, rather than landing heel first when loading the hoof, the horse changes to a flat footed and then eventually a toe first landing pattern. Landing toe first is a serious issue and the horse needs immediate assessment to determine the cause of such a drastic change in bio-mechanics. In most cases this is a hoof problem and the horse has changed the way it loads its foot/feet to minimise the discomfort inside the hoof/hooves. If a toe first landing is allowed to persist the horse will develop compensatory body issues, which can then lead to back, shoulder and/or hindquarter problems and perhaps even eventual lameness through joint degeneration, or tendon/ligament strain, cartilage ossification etc.

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