Rehabilitation Pictures

The practice of Natural Hoof Care has taught us how to easily heal problems that once perplexed the horse world and sent countless horses to their death. The cure or relief from chronic laminitis (founder), navicular syndrome, and white line disease are becoming routine all over the world. Veterinary researchers everywhere are doing research in this direction and exciting new findings are constantly being reported.



Miserably lame Quarter Horse. P3 is penetrating the sole, with extensive sub-solar abscessing.


At 6 months, still room for improvement, but completely sound.

We eliminated the sweet feed, switched the horse to a mixed grass hay diet, but turnout on rich grass, with a grazing muzzle was permitted. Although the horse is now completely comfortable, a bit of separation persists, indicating the diet is still not quite strict enough. "You can't just trim your way out of a founder."

After these radiographs were taken, he was moved to a new home with no grass and lots of work to do. He is now living in a heard, happily giving riding lessons and comfortably working as a trail horse. I will do another set of radiographs in 6 more months and expect this improved environment to forge a perfect hoof.



Aside from the rotation, notice the calcification of the lateral cartilages and osteophytes at the joints.


6 months later, the attending vet was quick to point out that the "derotation" and the soundness of this horse were not nearly as important as the speed at which the body is absorbing the calcifications. 

Immobile at start, pasture sound in about one month; 6 months later, he's being comfortably ridden daily on all terrain. It is very important to note how much larger the "impact zone" behind P3 has become. Sound, heel-first impact is developing the lateral cartilages.

I still hope for the coronet to migrate further down P3 and am curious about whether the calcifications will continue to disappear, so again, I'll post updated radiographs in 6 more months.



Opened fungal infection at setup trim at toes and quarters


pre-trim 5 months later with perfect white lines and much higher P3 position

Note how much deeper the apex of the frog becomes in the solar dome and the natural concavity of the back of the foot. I did not cut this concavity, I let it build!



Set-up trim. Serious lateral imbalance and heel contraction

7 months later, with no discomfort along the way

Again, this horse has been free of pain throughout this transition, and that's the key. If you make the back of the foot sore, the horse will land on its toes and the hoof will never uncontract.



Forget the toes, imagine what it feels like to have your heels in the center of your foot. P3 is at ground level at start.

10 weeks and comfortable throughout "transition" without touching the sole under P3, which was already too thin

This is a "runaway hoof" at its worse. The list of future problems you can prevent with a little natural care is long and frightening! This is the main thing I want to get across to farriers. Even if you refuse to give up your shoes, can't you see the benefit of learning to do THIS during a 2-3 month "barefoot period"? (Below- six more months)






July '05

The depth of the collateral groove around the frog is your most accurate guide to sole thickness. When it is the lowest thing on the bottom of the foot, you know the sole is paper thin under the coffin bone.

December '05

Less than five months of work and stimulation have built this sole up into proper, callused thickness. The collateral grooves is now nicely recessed into a bowl of natural solar concavity. I stress again: not by cutting, but by building sole thickness!

"Typical" hopelessly flat footed "off the track"  Thoroughbred. I guess the most common argument I hear is, "Natural hoof care is just great if your horse has good hooves....... But the feet have been bred out of my horse."

If you have ever uttered those words, your horse needs a little bit of barefoot, boots and pads more than anyone!




Dec '05


Sept '07


Appaloosa navicular horse. Trail ridden barefoot. Comfortable on all terrain.




Oct '06

May '07

Thoroughbred laminitis case with fungal complications in an exaggerated crena.




March '07

Oct '07

20+ degree rotation, almost an inch of distal descent. Today she is very comfortable and happy. Each trim and "before and after trim" movement shown in our DVD series Under the Horse




Feb '07

Sept '07

Front left of Arab in next column. Nine months; not too shabby.... This is fun!









May 'o5


April '06


Quarter Horse gelding. History of laminitis, WLD, wall cracks, thin soles and wouldn't hold a shoe. The owner, an equine vet, had no choice but to try another alternative. Today he is very sound and has beautiful feet.




April '07


Sept '07

Same QH as adjacent frame.














Immobile at start               8 months
Down and out from chronic laminitis; sound after first trim and diet restrictions; The dietary changes actually did more for this insulin resistant horse than my trimming, if you want to know the truth. She was comfortable within a week after we took the sugars out of her diet, and I still had a lot of hoof yet to grow.

Long history of lameness. "Ski-tipped" P3. Half of P2 is buried in the hoof capsule.

Same foot; sound and working for a living. P3 is now a natural height off the ground and in a natural position in the hoof capsule.

Most professionals realize P3 can drop into a low position in the hoof capsule. Few realize this can be reversed. Nothing is dreaded or feared quite like "the sinker," but it doesn't have to be a death sentence.

Allowing heavy callus to build on the bottom of the foot, keeping the walls from growing into a "lifting position," and heel-first landings are the keys to success.


Years of constant abscessing 6 months without an abscess
This horse came in through a local vet because she would no longer hold a shoe. One good trim stopped the pattern of abscessing in its tracks.



Immobile before setup trim

Rock crusher at 8 months

At first glance, this may not look like a big deal, but P3 was lower than any part of the hoof wall and the sole had been previously rasped to 1/16 inch thickness (actually zero, as the many of the solar papillae were exposed). This tiny bit of sole was the only thing between P3 and the dirt. This is where the tape-on pads and the Hoof Armor really come in handy.


Free "incurably lame" horse for a local girls camp


This photo is actually 12 months later, but this horse has been comfortably trail riding and giving lessons for over 9 months

This one had it all: Founder, navicular problems, WLD, undeveloped digital cushions, chronic thrush............ My hats off to these folks. They are "hoof fixing machines" with a herd living in a mountainous, grass-free paddock, plenty of work for the horses to do and "no heart" when it comes to sweet treats. A customer like this really makes me look like I know what I'm doing!



Actually 6 weeks after I pulled the shoes, pre-trim

     6 months later. H***  yea, it's the same foot!

At no time did I "open" this foot. At no time was he uncomfortable. I will admit that I suggested that the owner put gutters on the barn to dry up the area where the horses like to hang out. She did so right away, and all the gravel she put in the wet area around the barn was her idea!




These are tough radiographs to see, but this is a beautiful case, so I put them up, anyway. the attending vet diagnosed a 14 degree rotation and full sole penetration of P3.


I just now had the follow-up radiographs taken, after four years of total comfort. This horse is very comfortably ridden 3-4 times a week, and is as happy as a horse can get.

Another grazing muzzle, a few less trips to the feed store, routine natural hoof care and another wonderful horse snatched from the edge of the grave!!! This is really fun!


Immobile from chronic founder and LOF Disease ("lack of farrier disease" ref. Dr. Neal Valk)  

5 months and 100% comfortable


Almost comfortable after first trim and was completely sound at the four week maintenance trim.



Very lame before and comfortable after setup trim. P3 is almost exposed and is lower than any part of the hoof wall. 6 months later with excellent hooves and gloriously sound. P3 has moved up into  a natural position in the hoof capsule; shortening the hoof, while building necessary sole.
This horse is a very nice school horse that had a fortune spent on it trying to restore some soundness. The previous owner tried everything. Finally she gave it to one of my customers who drove 600 miles to pick it up. She is now developing a "school" around this little painted beauty - giving lessons.



May '04

14 degree rotation, P3 penetrating the soles on both front feet.

Dec '05

It can be done! I don't mean survive, I mean perform!!!

This owner stood up to countless people telling her this horse couldn't be helped. Horse and rider have dominated in competition this year. The "after" picture was taken on the day this horse was awarded the Speed Event Championship Buckle for the year in our local saddle club.




September 03'

June 04'

Lame donkey with disfigured hooves; normal hooves a few months later; this was as close as we could get. The owner actually said," We'll be able to catch him easier when he goes lame again." AAARRRRRGGGHHHH




Aug '07

Oct '07

3 months of TLC goes a long way!



Feb '07


July '07

Oct '07

Immobile Arab mare. Grew beautiful feet and today carries her tail in the air in a permanent prance... Just beautiful !




May '05



Same QH in adjacent frame.





April '07

Sept '07

Radiographic navicular changes, hoof capsule rotation AND distal descent of P3. This poor QH had no place left to stand. He just needed less carbs in his world, some good trimming and a break from shoes. Now this horse is a gloriously sound barefoot riding horse.



May '06

May '07

This horse needed boots for riding just because of the deep central sulcus thrush. Too many people think of this as a cosmetic problem, but it is a very important and common cause of lameness in horses. Treated daily, deep in the cleft with a Monoject 412 syringe with a 50/50 mix of generic Neosporin and Athletes foot creme (with 1% Clotrimazole - both over-the-counter for humans.

Keep watching...... We have more radiographic case studies and more pictures to put up if we can ever find the time.     Ivy & Pete