Mustangs Need Hoof Boots?

Not all mustangs need hoof boots, but they do if they compete in endurance. Here is a picture of my seven year old mustang mare, Amazing Grace. She is from Nevada and while she ran free, there's no doubt her hooves were as hard as rocks. But now that she's living in the mountains of North Carolina, she needs a little help from me. Because I trim my own feet and believe in the natural hoof, I use Easyboot Gloves. She has a wide foot, so I ordered the Fit Kit to be sure I ended up with the correct size. Here we are at our first LD ride at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC. She did really well, and the best part was that the boots fit well and stayed on the entire ride, even through mud and water. Plus I love that they come in blue, which happens to be our color! Thanks EasyCare for making a great boot!


Name: Elise Rogers
City: Columbus, NC USA
Equine Discipline: Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove

Four Months of EasyShoes

Is everyone sick of hearing about the EasyShoe from me yet? If so, I apologize, but the EasyShoe has truly been a game-changer for myself and this particular horse. I don't believe it's a one-size-fits-all miracle, but for my situation, it has bridged the gap between barefoot/shod and sore/sound. In the past few months, while the product has been prepared for launch, there has been much ado. There has been criticism, judgment and some nasty words. I chalk the nastiness up to misdirected passion, from people who believe so strongly in keeping horses barefoot and as natural as possible. I truly believe the naysayers feel any form of semi-permanent hoof protection is a sure demise in the integrity of the bare hoof. They say any horse can be "fixed," with a better, more competent trimmer, a more natural environment, a lower sugar diet, more exercise, less civilization, magical lotions, potions and more. In reality, most of us ride the horse we have. We do the best at providing the horse with good, if not superior-to-most hoof care, we make improvements to living conditions, we consult other trimmers, friends, veterinarians. We stuff slow-feeder hay nets, feed three times the amount of grass hay when we could be feeding much less alfalfa and diligently read and learn all that we can. Yet, sometimes, our horse fails to read the book, and doesn't thrive the way we think they ought to. 

The EasyShoe has added a piece to the puzzle for this particular horse. My horse, Topper. He has spent the last four months in EasyShoes, and every time I think it's as good as it's going to get, he gives me more. In some ways, I feel awful for not recognizing that he truly needed more support. In others, I am just thankful for doing the best I could, and even more thankful for having a better option for him at this time. I'll be the first one to admit that keeping a horse in shoes is not absolutely ideal, however, I think the EasyShoe is going to be an amazing tool for a lot of horses, in a lot of different situations. 

Four weeks in this set of EasyShoes, applied by yours truly. 

At four weeks on the second set of EasyShoes, I am about where I was at this point on the first set applied by Christoph. I feel a little itchy to get my hands on Topper's feet and give him a good trim. The hoof capsule is getting a bit long and his ever-running-forward-toes could be shorter. Is this the end of the world? I sure don't think so. And if you did, you could easily remove this set, trim the foot and re-apply a new set, or, remove the shoes, lightly trim and let the horse spend a period of time barefoot. Either way, Topper has grown some foot, still has his hoof wall in-tact due to the lack of nail-holes and is very, very sound. He has been able to gallop, trot and play over the rock-hard frozen ground, while the other horses have cautiously moved about. I haven't observed him appearing to have less traction than the rest and he hasn't gotten the nasty snow-balls like the rest of them. Winning! 

Observing the beginning of the Great Spread, on both the left and right front. His hind feet are bare, and don't appear to bother him at all. 

After a month of frozen ground that was literally as hard as concrete, we have been blessed with a tropical heat wave of above-freezing temps, which, while delightful to the body, has given us standing water, mud and slop. I'll admit it, I haven't actually cleaned out Topper's feet more than a few times in the past month, but upon closer inspection tonight, they don't appear to be holding up too badly. For those who have asked about how the glue holds in wet conditions, my preliminary opinion is GOOD! Despite standing in wet for the past week, and maintaining a pretty solid work schedule for the last month, the Adhere bond is solid and the EasyShoe shows no sign of detachment. After cleaning out his feet, I sprayed a bit of copper sulfate product in the opening as a precaution. From what I can see of the sole, his feet appear no different than my other barefoot horses. And, just like last time, the EasyShoe is moving with Topper's hoof as it grows, spreading at the heels, a feature that I believe is the ticket for horses who require long-term hoof protection. No contracted heels here! 

Happy Topper, playing in the snow without a care in the world. 

My opinion on the EasyShoe has surpassed my expectations. I found the application totally doable and have been thrilled with my horse's progress. Will I put them on all of my horses? No, but I sure like knowing they are available if needed. I have been blessed with horses who handle being barefoot and competing booted very well, but I'm not about to make any blanket statements about never putting "shoes" on any of my horses. I am so excited for the EasyShoe to hit the shelves next month! Just think of all the horses that may be helped! Thank you, Garrett, for continuing the think outside the box and standing up against the naysayers. It takes people like you to give us more and more options. Cheers to the EasyShoe - may the Year of the Horse be rockin'! 

Mariah, Your Equinista

Making the transition from maintaining the traditionally shod horse to a holistic, barefoot/booted one may seem like a leap of faith for the common horse owner. The practice of natural horse care is immense and uncustomary, even though it has been applied for over 30 years. I am a recent recruit to the “barefoot movement” and have been madly absorbed in all areas related to it, such as equine anatomy and physiology, nutrition and diet, and hoof care practitioner trimming styles. I have sought out information available to me in the form of articles, books, DVD’s, and case studies. Where does one begin?


This past month, I have gained insight on which foundations are most important to establish in order to effectively understand the concepts and successfully transition a shod horse. My blog series will integrate many highlights of the information I have been so privileged to acquire. I am a devoted wisdom-seeker of the many aspects of overall equine health, following the most recent trends and discoveries in the well-being of the horse. I am your Equinista.


Comprehension of the anatomy of the horse, with special concentration on the hoof and lower limb, is imperative in being capable of answering the questions that come to mind while researching. As an introduction to my blog, I believe it is beneficial to put equine anatomy in perspective with relation to our human lives. At my first visit to the chiropractor, he stressed the importance of posture in sustaining proper spine function. At first appearance, he constructively criticized that my shoulders were rolled forward, hips were advanced, and knees were locked. I quickly corrected my stance as he simultaneously asked me, “Are you flat-footed?” Indeed, I am. He attributed most of my posture shortcomings to having been formed by my “fallen arches”.

The significance of this situation relates very directly to horse hoof maintenance. A horse with underrun heels places stress on ligaments and on other structures of the hoof such as the navicular bone. As the soreness inflames, breakover becomes delayed, ligaments become sore, and the shoulder progresses anteriorly among other various complications. As horse owners, we should remember that the hoof is a layer of hardened skin that protects numerous internal structures, much like enamel on our teeth.

My future blogs will break down hoof anatomy part-by-part. By keeping the comparatives in mind that I have referenced, and by incorporating your own unique associations, the uncustomary ideas of rehabilitating the shod horse to a more holistic one may become more gratifying.

-Your Equinista

Mariah Reeves

easycare-customer service-mariah

Customer Service

As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I promote holistic methods of equine care and will assist you with finding the perfect fit for horse and rider.

 

Ouch! - Hoof Abscess

It’s your day off from work and you have special riding plans with your friends. You venture out to halter your horse and he’s lame. Not just a little lame either, head-bobbing-I’m sore-lame! He was fine yesterday, try not to panic. One of the most common causes of sudden lameness, besides getting kicked by another horse, is a hoof abscess. If your horse has no swelling to be seen on the lame leg, then you have to consider the hoof. Your horse’s hoof on the lame leg may feel much warmer than the sound side. The digital pulse, located at the base of the fetlock joint, may be increased due to internal inflammation within the hoof itself. 
 
 
An artery runs along the groove of the Suspensory ligament and down over the long and short pastern bones.
You can detect the pulse here with your fingers. Under normal conditions there is not a strong pulse. But under
inflammatory conditions the pulse will be stronger and if you compare to other legs you can detect the difference. 
 
An abscess occurs when bacteria enters into the hoof wall or sole via a small puncture, tiny gravel that works up into the wall, a bad nail from shoeing, and/or poor trimming or management practices, are a few potential causes. As the bacteria builds up it forms a localized infection or quite simply, a pus pocket.  As the infection builds up, the sensitive laminae become tender and swollen. Yet due to it all being inside a hoof capsule, the swelling is contained and has nowhere to go. The pressure just continues to build up and your now lame horse, doesn’t want to place weight on that foot.  
 
You can call your vet or your farrier for further diagnosis. They can use hoof testers to detect the location of the soreness and then decide on a treatment plan. Sometimes the vet or farrier can find the puncture area where the bacteria entered the hoof, opening up the hole and allowing the abscess to drain out. Other times the pocket can’t be located without x-rays. Your vet may prescribe a round of antibiotics to help with the infection.
 
I have found that normally within a couple days the abscess will push out through the wall and break out up on the coronary band. Once the abscess breaks the horse is usually much better. However you still have to take care of it and keep it clean. Generally soaking the hoof is the easy way to try to open the hole and allow it to drain out. Often the veterinarian will have you soak the hoof a few times a day with hot water and Epsom Salts and vinegar to draw out the bacteria. A person can use a poultice and a treatment boot for the same action. No matter what treatment you use, the hoof needs to remain in a clean environment between treatments. Allowing more manure and debris to pack into the sore hoof or opened up hole is only going to complicate matters.
 
 
Sometimes even old dry abscesses can still cause lameness. Here I used “Sornomore” clay on both hooves as
this horse had been kept in dirty conditions plus his hooves had been neglected. Within the hoof were several
old abscesses as the bacteria had worked in through separations in the hoof wall and at the time had gone
untreated. The baggy holds the medication in and the hoof boot keeps it there as well as keeping the hoof clean.
 
I am not a veterinarian but my favorite protocol for this problem is partially allowing nature to take its course. In a couple days the horse will usually be back on the road to soundness. I like to initially soak the hoof in a bucket filled about halfway with hot water. I add a ¼ cup of Epsom salts and a ¼ cup of vinegar which acts as a drawing agent to pull out the bacteria. Tea Tree oil works well also. After soaking I do a bit of scraping the sole to look for an entry point or for hoof wall separation - if I find something, I’ll dig a little. If it’s deep then I’ll quit because I’ll expose too much soft tissue. Some will disagree but it’s what I prefer because it seems to work for me. Then I will use a poultice, commercial or homemade, which I place over the entire sole and frog of the hoof. I then take a quart size plastic bag and place over the hoof followed by a tough bandage or sized up Easyboot or treatment boot. I’ll leave this on for a day and change it out the next day. By day two the horse is usually not limping around.
 
 
The new Easyboot Transition boot is ideal as a treatment boot and also for keeping the hoof clean as your horse recovers
from his abscess. The cushioning of the sole will aid in keeping your horse more comfortable as you return to riding. 
 
Once he’s not limping that means the pocket has drained out the bottom some place or you may find an open wound at the top of the coronary band where it drained out. You still need to keep the hoof clean and away from debris so the abscess can continue to drain and dry out. I know I have said this three times but cleanliness is the key to recovery.  
 
With a very bad abscess your veterinarian may prescribe flushing the infected area out with an iodine solution or a product made for such things like Clean Trax. Flushing not only deep cleans the abscess channel but introduces a bacterial fighting agent into the infected area. This of course requires an open hole from either the bottom of the hoof or the coronary band. And would only be necessary with a serious abscess that just doesn’t want to give up.
 
In a matter of days you should be back on the trail enjoying the scenery once again! 
 
Karen Bumgarner

 

November 2013: Solely Equine

November finds us with cooler days, changing leaves and wild and wooly horses. November also brings Thanksgiving. A time to reflect and be thankful for friends, family and our hoof care professionals!

This month's EasyCare's dealer spotlight has landed in Arlington, WA, the home of hoof care professional Laura Rice of Solely Equine. Laura is a relatively new dealer teaming up with EasyCare for her booting needs in 2012. Her business savvy, skill and attention to detail keeps her in high demand and going full throttle maintaining around 300 head of barefoot horses.

Laura Rice of Solely Equine feeing right at home.

As many in the hoof care field will tell you, you don't choose hoof care rather it seems to choose you. Laura had no intention of becoming a full time trimmer but destiny had other plans. Her cousin introduced her to natural hoof care and the journey began with six of her own horses, an old rasp, a spent knife and a few trimming tips from her farrier. Attending a Horse Expo she learned from a trimmer presenting about Pete Ramey and dove into learning all that she could. Laura who was working full time never considered trimming as a vocation but rather a means to maintain her own herd. Again destiny called. It has been six years in the making but Laura has worked her way out of the office and out into the field as a full time trimmer.

There is nothing like a good referral and Solely Equine was built on word of mouth advertising. Happy horses equal happy clients and the rest takes care of itself. End of story. Part of the happy horse/ happy client equation is having a good working range of hoof boots with her at all times. Doing so enables her to meet her customers hoof care protection needs on the spot and her customers take notice. Punctuality is also a priority and her customers appreciate that they can set their watch by her timeliness. Laura treats each horse as it it were her own and her horse handling skills win her big kudos with her clients. Employing natural horsemanship methods makes her job easier and the horses happier. She humbly admits some of the most rewarding experiences as a trimmer is trimming the un-trim-able. Staying calm with uncanny patience goes far with these horses and they respond. Laura admits it is not easy but the job will be done in calm manner that is respectful to the horse.

Laura loves that hoof boots keep evolving and that EasyCare is making boots increasingly durable and easier to use. She feels this continued evolution is encouraging a greater number of horse owners to make the move to natural hoof care. Laura has been using the Easyboot Epics for about seven years but these days the Easyboot Glove is her favorite and best selling boot. She also stocks the Easyboot Glove Back Country and the Easyboot Trail. She sees the barefoot industry growing leaps and bounds and has several vets in her area that are acknowledging the benefits and results horses are achieving barefoot. She says horse owners are definitely becoming more informed. Owners are researching their options and educating themselves on hooves, barefoot hoof care and diet and how all tie in with accomplishing healthy hooves and a healthy horse.

We all love success stories and Laura shares one of her best. A previously foundered mare came to her with shoes and pads all the way around. The owner was looking for options and wanted to give natural hoof care a try. Laura was called, pulled the shoes and set the horse up in boots. The plan was boots for turnout and riding, then gradually used just for riding. Things were going well but the owner thought about moving back to shoes. The owner had other horses being shod and when approaching her farrier about shoeing the mare he refused, saying the horse's feet had never look better. He advised the owner to keep doing what she was doing and so it went. Recently Laura received a call from this owner saying she was on her way home from from a weekend riding trip with the mare. Outfitted with Back Country boots on the front and Gloves behind, the owner was thrilled with how comfortable the horse was moving and that the mare was feeling like a whole new horse. Mission accomplished! 

Laura is a member of  Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners and you can find her at solelyequine.com and on Facebook.

EasyCare is thankful for all of our amazing dealers and customers across the world.  We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Take a Picture, it Lasts Longer

More and more I am realizing how valuable a camera can be as a trimming tool. Lately I've been allowing more time to take before and after shots of horses feet when trimming. I find that what my eye and brain can't grasp in the present moment can often be processed while viewing at a later time. I recently trimmed an Arabian with at least nine weeks of over growth. When I looked at the before and after photos of the Arabian I was astonished at the changes in the coronet band and weight distribution of the heels. When I trimmed her my only thought was that this horse needs a trim. 
 
 
 
Arabian before (left) and after (right) trimming.
 
The same thing happened the following week when I pulled EDSS shoes from a Quarter Horse and trimmed him. I just knew he had to get out of those EDSS shoes. It was only after looking at the photos that I realized just how significant the changes were in the coronet band and heels after the removal of shoes and a trim. In this case the trim was minimal, mostly just rounding edges and removing unnecessary frog material. 
 
 
 
Quarter Horse before (left) and after (right) trimming.
 
The trimming application was the same for both horses, removal of the wall to the exact contour of the peripheral edge of the sole including the bars except at the heel purchase and rounding all the weight bearing surfaces. This seemed rather routine to me at the time, however, the following week I couldn't stop bringing up the individual images and trying to figure out how such minimal trimming could have had such dramatic results. I had a hard time understanding the mechanics that were involved. I have to admit that most of my attention is focused on the sole and the information that is available at the time. I welcome positive changes elsewhere, but I don't try to make corrections any where other than weight distribution to the sole. My confusion magnified after putting the images of the two horses next to each other.
 
After several days, I finally noticed that not only were the angles of the coronet bands affected, but the angles of the heel bulbs had changed as well. That's when it dawned on me that by removing the overgrown wall, bars, and frog (re-establishing a more natural foot print) both horses were able to properly weight their feet and allow the soft tissues to reposition closer to where they belonged. Yes, each individual foot on each individual horse has its own correct position. Furthermore, each individual foot being in its correct position aids in the correct positioning of the three other feet. That's one of the reasons that hoof boots and pads or 4" of pea gravel/sand footing work so well to balance horses and make them comfortable, not to mention preventing problems in the first place. Horses standing in this type of footing are allowed to self level or compensate for over growth and/or conformation challenges. In a way, boots with pads could be considered mobile footing. I would never recommend trying to affect the hairline with a trim - I would only trim according to what the sole is ready for at the time. The more information you have, the better when it comes to making informed decisions while trimming. 
 
David Landreville, Landreville Hoof Care

EasyCare Sales Skills 101

Maintain Self-Confidence

This is the most important skill a salesperson can cultivate. How do you develop and maintain self-confidence? Very simple: Know your product. EasyCare offers training for you and your staff, which can be done by phone and takes about 30 minutes of your time. If you believe in yourself and your product, your customers will be inclined to believe as well. (Call to set an appointment.)  Also, stay up to date on changes and new products from EasyCare by subscribing to the Dealer Newsletter.

 

                                        

 

Good Listening

Most salespeople are natural talkers. Taking the time to ask your customer questions and really listening to their answers shows respect for them and gives you a clearer idea of their needs. Ask your customer for details about their horse's hooves, does the horse have a high heel, short toe, etc. Ask for freshly trimmed measurements. Ask them for details about their riding discipline. Get all the information that you can and then suggest the proper hoof boot style.

Persuasiveness

Emotion plays a major role in sales. There's an old saying that "features tell, benefits sell." Features are the facts about the hoof boots, benefits are told by the emotional response from your customer about the hoof boot. Tell your customers about the benefits of booting and the benefits of the particular boot style that you are suggesting. Then ask your customer questions to see what they like and how they feel about the hoof boot style that you are showing.

 

(Emotion = The blue Gloves are pretty!)

Building Strong Relationships

Building and maintaining healthy relationships with your customers (and their horses) are key to the first sale, but also builds for many future sales. If your customer likes and trusts you, then they will be a long time customer. Relationship building starts with good product knowledge, good listening skills and selling your customer the hoof boot style that truly meets their needs.

Dee Reiter

easycare-customer-service-dee-reiter

Retail Account Rep

I am the Retail and New Dealer Account Rep for EasyCare. I will be happy to help you with ordering, selecting the most popular styles and sizes of EasyCare hoof boots to stock. Let me help you with suggestions on merchandising and provide training for you and your staff, at your convenience.

 

Save on Hoof Boots for Halloween

Is your barn having a costume party for Halloween? Red and Blue Easyboot Gloves will take your horse's costume to the next level. Save 15% on colored Gloves purchased from EasyCare during the month of October. This form-fitting, seamless boot hugs the hoof and responds like a natural foot. Like a glove, this boot provides protection without stifling mobility. The Easyboot Glove material stretches over the hoof and clings to the hoof wall so debris stays out of the boot, even in sandy or muddy conditions. There is no external hardware so there is no need to worry about replacing cables or buckles.

Use promo code: RB1013. May not be combined with any other offer.
Offer valid 10/01/13-10/31/13. Automatically applied to online orders.

Due to its form-fitting nature, the Easyboot Glove is only recommended for horse's on a four week or shorter trim cycle (or horse's that have maintenance rasping if on a longer trim cycle). The Glove must be carefully sized and fitted to the hoof. After taking your horse's hoof measurements, EasyCare recommends getting a Fit Kit to ensure you select the correct size.

Happy Halloween! Photo by Jacki Day.

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, Marketing and Sales

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.

 

Daisy Haven Farm Hoof Care in Nigeria

Being involved in teaching others about hoof care, I have taught a wide variety of people in varied locations. Earlier this month I had the experience of a lifetime, traveling to Nigeria to help the horses and conduct a clinic for Nigerian farriers. My trip was sponsored by a wonderful woman who is working diligently to improve the quality of care for the horses there. She runs a rescue where she rehabilitates horses and teaches natural horsemanship. Her mission is to provide education on all aspects of horse health, management and training. She asked me to come to Nigeria to help a few of her most challenging horses with their hoof problems and provide education to others in the area.  

Nigeria is an equator country, very tropical. Average temperatures are around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit and it rains almost every day, especially in the summer. This leads to rampant moisture related foot problems: thrush, white line disease, and even canker. 

In fact, it was a horse who had foundered due to chronic pervasive canker that prompted my trip:

While in Nigeria I worked with two groups of horses: horses cared for by my host through her rescue, and horses living and working at the polo club. You'll see a stark contrast between the environments of the polo club and the rescue.

A photo of the polo club below:

And the rescue:

Farriers as we know them don't exist in Nigeria, at least not in the region I visited. Hoof care is provided here by the horse's grooms. Part of the groom's role in caring for the horse is the health and maintenance of the foot. The grooms learn from each other with very little formal education. The horses are predominantly kept barefoot, and trimmed on a four week schedule. I was surprised to find that in general, most of the feet had good shape and symmetry. The trim being applied was fairly basic, trimming the wall to sole level, rounding wall edges, frogs trimmed and soles cupped out.  For the horses with good feet, this served them fairly well.  

 

 

 

However, any time the feet had significant imbalance or pathology, the standard trim applied fell short of addressing the problems, leaving these horses in limbo. This is where my host has become actively involved in providing education and assistance.  

 

 

Most fascinating to the students there were the hoof models I brought. Many did not know there was a bone inside the hoof, rather they believed there was only flesh or tissue inside. We discussed anatomy in depth, worked on mapping the hoof and especially knowing when to modify the trim for different hoof situations.  

 

 

 

 

Overall I feel my time there was very productive. The group was very eager for knowledge, and seemed appreciative of the time we spent together and information shared. It is clear to me that they care deeply for the horses, and want the best for them. Hopefully I've given them some tools, a new perspective, and have helped my host fulfill part of her mission. I'm looking forward to going back in the near future for part 2!

 

 

For more information on Daisy Haven Farm and our work, please see our website: www.DaisyHavenFarm.com .

When Abscess Goes Untreated - The Sequestrum

If you own horses, chances are good that at some point either you or someone you know spent many hours tending to an abscess. An abscess is collection of pus in an area of the body (in this case the hoof capsule) that causes severe pain and swelling due to the body’s immune system’s attempt to fight off the infection. This pus is actually excess white blood cells and tissue (living and dead), fluid, bacteria and other foreign substances. The white cells are the body’s natural defense to infection that release destructive components after identifying and binding with bacteria. Their purpose is to “kill” the harmful bacteria, but in the process healthy tissues are also damaged. In the hoof, this damage most often occurs in the laminae and bony structure within; in other words, if not treated, the coffin bone itself begins to degenerate and weaken, causing small pieces to break away. As part of the inflammation response, more white cells are sent to the site to remove the damaged tissue (the clean-up crew) which actually creates even more inflammation and subsequently more pain. The pieces of broken and damaged tissue are not distinguished by the body and the natural immune system subsequently treats them as foreign objects; hence, the system treats the bone pieces as “foreign objects” - these are what are known as sequestrum.
 
This is the story of Colt, a beautiful gelding purchased by Carla (Pittsburgh Pet Connections CEO) who had poor hoof care before she found him. There are some individuals who believe the hooves can go months without trimming, and others who feel they can trim themselves despite the fact that they have had no training or poor training at best. Colt was one such victim of circumstance, and he came into Carla’s love and devotion in need of immediate attention. His hooves were long and imbalanced, and after two trims he was still experiencing intermittent lameness. Local vets were called and his abscessing was opened, but they continued to fester despite many hours of soaking, draining and treatments with drawing salve. After seeing no improvement, it was decided he needed to seek clinical attention for a second opinion and x-rays. 
 
Colt was sent to Fox Run Equine Center where Dr. Brian Burks DVM diagnosed a lateral sequestrum on Colt’s left front hoof. This first picture shows Colt’s tract on film; you can see some lines coming from the side of the hoof draining down by the back of the heel. 
 
 
This is the site that had been opened from the outside bar (hoof wall beside the frog) but never drained out completely. Inside, there is a piece of broken bone that was damaged due the accumulation of pus for a long period of time. Dr. Burks used a dremel tool to drill a small hole into the quarter (side of the hoof wall) to remove this sequestrum. The second picture shows the piece of bone being removed and just how small the piece of bone was; its removal was imperative for Colt’s recovery.
 
 
The third picture is a shot of this same area after surgery, the quarter area grew out within three months with daily packing with betadine and Sliver Sulfadiazine.  
 
 
Before the surgery, Dr. Burks scraped out all the hard laminae from the bottom of the hoof to ensure there would be no residual bacteria’s invading the capsule that could potentially cause reinfection of the hoof. His intuitions served him well when it was discovered that the very tip of P3 (coffin bone) was extremely brittle. He concluded that this was damaged a long time ago from old abscessing that had caused this area to weaken and nearly break away. By making another “window” in the hoof wall, Dr. Burks was able to preserve most of the wall structure and remove this weakened area as well. He commented to me that the tip “fell away” when he merely touched it with his forceps, so it too was removed and needed packing until it grew out. This fourth picture shows the actual procedure during surgery when the forceps were inserted into the toe wall to remove the sequestrum. 
 
 
I’ve worked with many vets over the years, but I’ve never met one quite as thorough and open minded as Dr. Burks. The traditional protocol for any respective procedure is hospital plates (wide aluminum shoes) that stay on for many months to support the hoof during healing. Because Burks took such care to make minimally invasive openings for removal, Colt was left with adequate hoof wall for support. Carla was adamant in keeping Colt as natural as possible, meaning she wanted him to remain barefoot, and he respected her wishes. I was called to meet with Burks about follow up hoof care and we mutually agreed he could remain in a hoof boot that would not only support his hoof, but also provide better coverage for the opened areas that needed daily treatments. This last picture shows Colt’s open toe area five days after surgery when he was taken out of wraps and placed in a hoof boot. 
 
 
Treating a hoof injury is difficult on the owner as well as the horse. Carla was going to need a boot that would not only cover the entire hoof wall, but also one that could be easily removed and strong enough to withstand several months of continuous wear. Colt was rather stubborn about lifting the hoof for his daily treatment, so ease of application was an absolute necessity. I am familiar with several boots, but the best choice for this situation called for durability, full support and easy removal as well so that no further damage would occur. I could think of only one boot that would serve her purpose, and one that she would be able to keep for years to come in case she ever needed them again - the Easyboot Rx
 
From March to mid-May Colt wore his boots day and night. He was sound at a walk almost immediately after the surgery and because he had a boot he was able to get turnout in the arena and a small paddock every day. We actually booted both front hooves to make sure he wasn’t off balance on the front and this kept him sound while simultaneously avoiding any shoulder pressure or further injury. Carla made sure that his hooves were kept as dry as possible to avoid any rubbing due to excess moisture or sweat by removing them daily for treatments and drying the back of the hoof before replacing it. This movement helped facilitate the healing process and by the end of May the entire wall had grown out completely with no further problems. Within a month Colt was even able to do short rides wearing hoof boots and today he is doing very well. He has not had an abscess in nearly a year and his soles are tough because he has relocated to a facility that enables full turnout and natural wear. Carla has since purchased a pair of Easyboot Trail boots for long rides, and we are grateful to not only EasyCare for their supreme products, but also to Dr. Burks for his open-minded approach to natural horse keeping. Thanks to Carla, Colt has a wonderful life and his hoof issues are no longer…he is happy, healthy, and sound. 
 
Nancy Frishkorn BA, CHCP