The Best Soaked Hooves You've Ever Seen or Your Money Back!

Are you tired of trying to trim those rock hard and dry hooves? Your knife just kind of scrapes over the surface and nothing happens? Your rasp feels dull even though it's new? You don't like having a mud hole and do not have a place to tie a horse so their hooves can soak first? I have a solution that may help you but the title lied  - no one paid me so you don't get any money back but you get the idea...

First you need four old Easyboots (a perfect reason to not throw well used boots away). If they are boots that are a size too big that is even better. I happen to be using Easyboot Gloves here but you can use other boot types as well.

Next pour water into the boot. You may not think much actually goes in the boot but it does and runs down under the hoof. You can add water every so often while you are doing other things and just allow the hooves to soak for at least 30 minutes (an hour is better). 

After soaking and removal of the boot you now have one soggy and softened hoof. 

Now I can actually scrape out some dead sole and clean up the frog which was too hard to do before soaking.

Diamond thinks it's a great idea as the hoof passes her inspection. I hope you think it's a great idea too!

Karen Bumgarner, Zapped Ranch

Tevis 2013: Young Rider Program & Gluing Hoof Boots For You

Young Riders

EasyCare has enhanced its participation at the Western States Trail Ride for 2013. Easyboot is the official hoof boot of Tevis 2013, and EasyCare is proud to sponsor the 2013 Junior Rider Program.

EasyCare will pay the entry fee for up to ten junior riders who sign up for Tevis. If you're between the ages of 13 and 18 and you've been dreaming of riding Tevis, EasyCare has you covered.

Garrett and Alyxx Ford with The Fury at the presentation of the Tevis Cup. Photo by Lynne Glazer.

Gluing Hoof Boots

If you're riding Tevis and you would like complimentary gluing or boot fitting support from an EasyCare representative, our gluing schedule for ride week is listed below. Easyboot Glue-Ons cleaned up at Tevis in 2012:

  1. Six of the top ten horses at Tevis used Easyboots.
  2. 34% of the finishing horses were in Easyboots.The Tevis Cup (first place) was won by Garrett Ford and The Fury in a completion time of 14:50.
  3. The Haggin Cup (Best Condition) was won by Rusty Toth and Stoner in a completion time of 15:05.
  4. The first four horses in the top ten were in Easyboots.
  5. Easybooted horses boasted a 69% completion rate, compared to a 41% non-Easybooted horse completion rate.
  6. This is the second year in a row for the first place Tevis horse to be wearing Easyboots.
  7. This is the third year in a row for the Haggin Cup horse to be wearing Easyboots.
  8. 23% of the starting horses were in Easyboots.

To book an appointment, please call any of our Customer Service Representatives at 1-800-447-8836.

Stoner and Rusty Toth showing for Haggin Cup.

Please note the following five items:

  1. Location - there are two different locations, depending on the day. When setting up your appointment, please be sure clarify the location with the CSR.
  2. There will be no gluing whatsoever on Friday because it is too close to the race day, and the risk of losing boots increases significantly.
  3. EasyCare representatives will provide the gluing services at no cost. However, each rider is required to provide the boots and materials needed (unused Easyboot Glue-On shells; 1 tube of Adhere; Adhere Tips; 1 tube of Sikaflex).
  4. Please bring a horse that has been trimmed within the previous five days. Any horses that need a trim will be subject to trimming fees assessed by a professional hoof care practitioner.
  5. We request that all riders should have successfully completed at least one race in Easyboot Glue-Ons before attempting Tevis in Glue-Ons.

Tevis 2013 Gluing Schedule

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Auburn Fairgrounds 1 PM - 3 PM

Wednesday, July, 17 2013
Auburn Fairgrounds 12 PM - 3 PM

Thursday, July 18, 2013
Robie Park 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Friday, July 19, 2013
No gluing

To book an appointment, please call any of our Customer Service Representatives at 1-800-447-8836.
Keep up the bootlegging.

Kevin Myers


Director of Marketing

I am responsible for the marketing and branding of the EasyCare product line. I believe there is a great deal to be gained from the strategy of using booted protection for horses, no matter what the job you have for your equine partner.


Hoof Photographs Daisy Haven Farm Style

Whether in a publication, on social media or on someone's cell phone, we often need to be a sleuth when trying to figure out what's going on with a picture of a horse's hoof. Taking good photos of horses' feet can be quite frustrating and even after a lot of work may not show what you're hoping to demonstrate. 

Here at Daisy Haven Farm, Inc. we have a serious commitment to documentation of our work. We have found taking digital photographs to be an invaluable tool in tracking our work and being objective in our care for the horse. Over the past ten years we have been photo documenting horses' feet with great detail. Our database has over 200,000 images of horses' feet over time, with many of the same feet documented over six to ten years. You can learn a lot about the effect of the trim, environment, diet, stress, illness etc. on the foot over time through this kind of documentation.  


The photos above (taken by me) have harsh shadows, inconsistent angles, the feet are dirty and the ground surface obscures the foot. These are just a few of the examples of what can make your images difficult for others to interpret and prevent you from having consistent comparable quality. I'd like to share with you some of the techniques I've developed to get consistent and accurate photographs of horses' feet, with a specific focus on quality of image, consistency of angle and elimination of distracting components.  

1) The Camera
I started out with inexpensive cameras and over the years have upgraded until now I use an entry level DSLR camera. The ability to get high speed, high quality images is worth the money. I am currently working with an 18 mega pixel Cannon Rebel T3i with a general purpose 18-55mm lens which I absolutely love. The camera is fast, smart and can even get good quality images in low light situations in many of the barns we work in. An added benefit is the screen comes out and turns at multiple angles to ensure good alignment of camera and subject, and has a grid feature which helps with 3-dimensional positioning. On this camera I mostly use the P (Programmed Automatic) setting, but most cameras do quite well with the Macro setting. I prefer to use flash for my photos.

2) Your Workspace
Setting up your workspace and subject matter is critical to success. We are often tempted to snap images of feet on the fly, but in the end it's worth the preparation time to ensure clear images. Select a workspace that has neutral lighting. Harsh sun and back lit aisles create difficult photographing situations. They can be managed and still get good images, but it makes things much more difficult. Your workspace has to be level, clean and dry. Wet surfaces, grass, many types of gravel, soft mats, all interfere with your ability to see the foot clearly. Make sure to sweep the area immediately before taking photos as random pieces of debris distract from the foot. While a nice cement aisle is always easy, a wide variety of surfaces will work including mats in a run-in or plywood on top of a gravel floor.

3) Preparing the Subject
It is also critical to make sure your foot and leg is thoroughly cleaned, top and bottom, brushed and dry. We will often use a wire brush if feet are really packed with dirt and debris.  

Horses with feathers and extra hair can be problematic due to obscuring the coronary band and hoof capsule. Feathers can be wrapped up and extra hair can often be clipped for ease of assessment of the hoof capsule in the image.

How the horse stands is important in assessing to the accuracy of the photographs. The horse should be standing as close to square as possible, and with cannon bones perpendicular to the ground. Ideally your pictures will be taken with the horse weighing all four legs evenly in the best position the horse can manage. Try to avoid taking pictures of hind legs when they are underneath themselves as it will skew your perspective on the hoof/pastern axis.

4) Minimizing Distraction
Another important component I like to use is a background in your images. A background of solid color placed behind the leg can prevent the foot from getting lost in the rest of the image. The background should be neutral in color. For example, a hot pink background with polka dots may not be the best choice to keep your image easy to look at!  We use a colored foam board cut to size. Make sure the background is parallel to the limb, and the bottom edge of the board is in line with the ground plane of the foot. Also, if you are using a background handler, please keep them safe. Make sure the horse is ok with the background around his legs, and that your background holder does not stand in a kick zone. 

5) Accuracy of Angle
Our standard procedure is to take pictures at "mouse-eye view", in other words, ground level. Feet look totally different when viewed from ground level vs. standing and looking down.  

It is also very common to see photographs of horses feet that are oblique to the limb. A photograph taken at an oblique angle can really distort the appearance of the foot!  The key to getting consistent angle on your images is to position yourself, the horse's leg, and the background all in alignment with one another 3-dimensionally.  

For accuracy of describing how I'm aligning my camera, it's important to define the "planes" of the camera. The yellow line is the plane of the face of the lens. This plane will most often be parallel to the subject. I refer to this as the plane of the lens. The pink line is the midline of the camera body. This plane will most often be perpendicular to your subject. I refer to this plane as the midline of the camera.  

To get accurate repeatable images that can you can reliably compare over time, let alone to images of other feet, a consistent repeatable procedure for photographing the foot must be followed.

Here are the key points in lining up the camera and subject to get accuracy of angle:

  • Mouse eye view means I usually have the camera 1/2" to 1" off the ground with the camera parallel to the ground.
  • The midline of the camera is aimed at the center of rotation of the hoof capsule and perpendicular to the subject.
  • The plane of the lens, the horse's limb, and the background are all parallel to each other.
  • In the screen, line up the bottom of the grid with the ground plane of the foot. I set the focus area of the camera on the screen at the approximate center of rotation of the hoof capsule.

In the pictures below, you can see my position and the relative position of the blue background and horse's leg. You can also see what I am viewing in the camera screen.

I've also included the the finished image so you can see the result of the photo taken this way.

When taking images of the sole, be sure to keep the camera lens parallel to the sole. Point the lens at the widest part of the foot on the midline of the frog.  

6) Final Image Preparation
Finishing photos after the images are captured is equally as important to the final product. There are many different computer software packages available that will allow you to process and often store your images in an organized way. Regardless of the software you chose to use, cropping your image, rotating, and some lightening or darkening may be necessary.

Below is an example of the type of photo documentation captured. By taking these images over time, you can clearly see how the foot progresses. Following these specific photograph documentation procedures has greatly facilitated communication between ourselves, the horse owner, the veterinarian and other hoof professionals. We can also assess, objectively, what is going on with the foot over time and make better decisions for the horse.

To see case studies produced by these photo documentation procedures and more information on our work, please see our website at:

Boots for the Carriage Horse

Lencho Griego, owner of G and F Carriages in Pueblo, Colorado, has been using the EasyCare hoof boots on his Percherons with success. His business provides carriage rides for various events such as weddings, birthday parties, graduations, anniversaries, quinceresas, funerals etc. He has two Percherons that are his pride and joy and really draw a crowd because of their beauty and awesome stature. When all decked out with the harnesses and carriage, they are a sight to behold!

Big Ben is ready to go to work.

Big Ben's hooves fit nicely in size 5 Easyboots and he gets along great in them on pavement. No slipping while transporting clients to and from their destinations. The installation is a breeze for Lencho and Big Ben's hooves are protected from the concussion of the hard pavement he has to travel on. The striking presentation of the carriage, provides an exquisite way to travel to your wedding or anniversary party. It reminds me of a scene from a Cinderella movie.

Big Ben posing for the camera.

Easyboot Epics and Orginal Easyboots work really well for the larger sized hooves out there. Ease of installation and increased durability make these boots the boot of choice for the large, draft/draft cross type breeds. Whether the horse is working, used for trail riding or just being transported, our Easyboot line will give your horse the needed comfort and hoof coverage needed.   

We even have several of the larger sizes still in our Bargain Bin location on our website at a substantial savings. The Bargain Bin has various sizes that are new, discontinued models at 50% off regular pricing. Check it out to see if we have the size(s) you need. For great assistance with your booting needs, just give us a call 800-447-8836 and we will get you taken care of.

Nancy Fredrick

Easycare President-ceo-garrett-ford

EasyCare Customer Care

I have been on the EasyCare team since 2001 and have first hand product knowledge as my horses are barefoot, booted and I do the trimming. I can assist you with all of your booting needs. .



Alternative Uses of a Horseshoe Nail

You might never have an interest in nailing a horse shoe on a hoof but if you are a natural hoof care provider, rider, or horse owner, the horseshoe nail can still serve you very well.

Here are five alternative uses for horseshoe nails:

1. Explore the depth and severity of white line separation.

Horseshoe nails are very pointed, no other nail or hoof pick is thin enough to be inserted into the white line to clean out decayed tissue, debris, small embedded pebbles and prepare it for treatment. Simply insert the nail and scrape the separated white line clean, then apply treatment solution. The same applies for cleaning out collateral grooves.


2. Explore the frog for thrush.

Not every crack in the frog means thrush. With a horseshoe nail it is easy to find out and check the frog for sensitivity, decay and bacterial invasion.


3. Estimate the thickness of the sole by measuring the depth of the collateral grooves. With the pointed end of the nail it is easy to get to the bottom of the groove. Unless you use a Precision Hoof pick, which has a pointed end and a reading scale, a horseshoe nail is second best. Lay your rasp over the level and flat trimmed heels, place the nail to the bottom of the groove and use your fingernail or a marker to fixate the spot where it hits the rasp. Then pull the nail out and measure the distance.

The distance below, marked by the fingernail, is 2 cm, about 3/4 of an inch.


4. Clear the channels in the Vettec Adhere tube. Sometimes, when tubes have already been used previously, little plugs can form and obstruct the openings. This is really bad news if a mixing tip is already attached and an uneven flow of glue comes out. A nail tip can clean it out quickly and easily.


5. Clear debris from a screw. Need to replace a gaiter on your Easyboot Glove? Tighten a screw on your gaiter or the power strap? ( I highly recommend doing this after each ride using Gloves). After a ride with Easyboot Gloves, most screw heads are filled with debris. Somehow the sand and grit forms such a hard fill that your phillips screwdriver cannot get a bite. A horseshoe nail allow you to clean the slots out with minimal effort.

This screw slot is filled tightly with debris.

Can you think of any additional usages of a horseshoe nail? Please share them with us.


Your Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

Not Just Back Country

I'll admit it, when I first saw the Easyboot Glove Back Country I was pretty skeptical. Before my undying love and devotion to the Easyboot Glove developed, I had used another brand of hoof boots. Post Glove infatuation I was adamant that I'd never use or consider a boot other than my beloved Gloves. The low profile, their light weight, the ease of use, staying power, what's not to love? Being fastidious about my horses' very regular trim schedule further increased my success with the Gloves and I didn't really consider a situation where they wouldn't be optimal for my horses.

Glove Back Country on a sidewalk?

Enter Dazl, who is undergoing the first year of transition to a functional bare hoof after a bout of laminitis prior to a serious environment and lifestyle change. Saying her feet are changing is an understatement and I've found the option of having a boot that offers a more forgiving fit to be helpful during this period of transition. I was worried the Back Country would be too bulky and would cause interference. They don't. I was worried they wouldn't fit well and might come off while using a larger size. They don't. I was worried the different gaiter would cause rubs. Not so.

While definitely bulkier than the regular Glove, the boot portion is still form-fitting and the external gaiter is surprisingly slim as well. The gaiter with built-in, heavy-duty power strap allows one to use a larger size than the appropriate size Glove. This is very helpful when growing out a flare or the bowed out portion of a hoof wall that is growing in much tighter. They don't twist as a too-big Glove might and I haven't lost one yet! The rounded edge of the gaiter hasn't caused any rubs and they are very easy to put on and take off. So far, the velcro gaiter is just as strong after a few months of use as they were when brand-new. During this period of change in size, shape and angle of Dazl's feet, the Back Country are just the ticket for continuing on with our training while developing a better hoof. In the meantime, I can focus on taking in the view. 

Matthew's Story

This past winter I traveled half way around the world to spend time with my husband who works in Saudi Arabia. I left a list of local barefoot trimmers with my clients in case of an emergency or if any were in need of trimming while I was gone. With the exception of a few horses that had health issues going on, I felt that all would be well. One of those horses was Matthew. Mid-November Matthew, was having trouble eating and drinking and had a very sore neck. He was taken to a vet clinic where they performed dental work and sent him home. A few days later, he was still very sore in the neck, had laminitis and was displaying colic like symptoms. He returned to the vet and spent eighteen days being treated for laminitis. Although Matthew's owner, Linda, preferred barefoot, the vet felt traditional farrier methods were the best course of action for the laminitis. A type of wooden wedge block was screwed to his hooves in hopes of alleviating his discomfort. As days went by, his blood panels continued in a downward spiral indicating that his kidneys and liver were shutting down. Matthew was in constant pain from the laminitis and showed no sign of improvement. Unfortunately as I was leaving the country, Linda called to tell me her horse was being sent home from the vet clinic to die.

When I returned home at the end of January, I fully expected Matthew to have gone on to greener pastures but much to my surprise he was still alive. When he returned from the clinic it looked hopeless at first but Linda felt she had to give her boy a chance because of his will to live. It was very challenging to keep him warm on the below zero degree days and nights - most of the time he laid in his stall. Finally he started showing improvement and new blood panels showed his kidneys and liver were normal. As Linda's wish was to return Matthew to barefoot, the vet agreed to begin by pulling the hind shoes.

Matthew's right hind after his first (left) and second (right) trims.

When I arrived at the barn, Linda had Matthew standing ready for his trim. As I removed his bandages, nothing prepared me for the sight of the sole completely gone from the tip of the frog forward. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I wished someone would have warned me before I started the process out in the middle of a dirt lane by the barn. But there I was, so I began lowering the heels and bringing back the toe to a more proper break over. By the time I finished trimming, Matthew seemed more comfortable and was walking better. After cleaning the dirt from his hooves, we put him in some Easyboot Gloves with 12 mm medium density comfort pads inside until we could come up with a better solution.

Matthew's right hind five (left) and ten (right) weeks after first trim.

The next day I called EasyCare for advice on boots and padding for his severe condition. I ordered the Easyboot Rx and several pairs of pads knowing that we would have to experiment to find the perfect combination. As barefoot trimmers will tell you, the horse will show you if you just take the time to ask. Taping the pads to his hooves with duct tape worked best at first (Matthew preferred 2 soft density comfort pads). Boots were tolerated during the day as he roamed the yard but not at night. We ran into a problem with rubbing even with wool socks. So the taped on pads offered a needed rest from the boots while he was in his stall on softer terrain. In as little as five weeks, you can see how quickly the sole filled back in and the hoof began to heal a condition that was traditionally thought irreparable. I'm hoping that in the future, veterinarians will come to know that with the proper tools available like hoof boots and pads, barefoot is a viable option for laminitis.

Karen Reeves, Natural Equine Hoof Care

Ten Weeks in the EasyShoe - An EasyShoe Update

Excitement for the EasyShoe has been overwhelming.  Testing is validating our theories that this flexible device moves with the hoof and allows the heel to flex both vertically and horizontally. The first horse to wear them in a 50-mile race not only won the race but also received the best condition award.  Another endurance/trail horse in Colorado spent ten weeks in the EasyShoe with no ill effects to the hoof.  Ernest Woodward of the So-Cal Equine Podiatry Center, and the May 2013 EasyCare Dealer of the Month, is seeing positive results on a dressage horse. 

Dressage in the EasyShoe

I was personally responsible for the ten-week test on my horse named TNT.   Yes, ten weeks.  And yes, I'm fully aware that ten weeks is way too long, but we need to see if there are any ill effects from extended use. Many times I ask my personal horses to go above and beyond in order to collect data for the horses that will follow.  I would much rather resolve issues with my personal horses and make corrections before offering products to the public. 

TNT immediately after removing the 10 week EasyShoes and getting a fresh trim. 

With the EasyShoe being new we are looking at many areas including:

  1. Will the horse be hoof sore when the shoes are removed? 
  2. Will extended use cause the adhesive bond to fail? 
  3. How will the EasyShoe work as a transition device to take a horse from steel shoes to barefoot? 
  4. Will the vertical and horizontal movement heel movement allowed in an EasyShoe strengthen and build the internal structures of the hoof?
  5. Will there be evidence of the heels contracting or expanding with time?
  6. How will the shoes wear over a ten-week period?
  7. What are the best methods for removal and how will the adhesive bond be after ten weeks? 
  8. Does the device fill a gap in the industry?  Are there reasons for an equine professional to use the EasyShoe? 

After ten weeks in the EasyShoe and a quick trip to the round pen.

After ten I didn't know how strong the bond would be.  Would there be much left holding the shoe in place?  The video below shows my first failed attempt to remove an EasyShoe.  I didn't expect the bond between the cuffs and the hoof wall to be so secure.

Removal with pulloffs.  Fail. 

As you can see from the video above the bond between the hoof wall and the cuff was still very secure.  In the video below, I try another method and try and break the bond between the cuff and hoof with a large flat screw driver. 


Removal with flat screwdriver.  Success but not ideal. 

Although the screwdriver technique worked, it's not the easy removal solution I'm looking for.  My next attempt and the video below shows how I removed the cuff with a rasp. 

Removal success. 

The EasyShoe is looking good and we are pushing all other size molds forward.  We expect to be able to offer product to the public in a variety of sizes by early August, 2013.  Updates and news will be posted in EasyCare Newsletters and the Easyboot Facebook page. 

Garrett Ford


President & CEO

I have been President and CEO of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.


Don't Be Negative

We all know that being negative is considered a bad thing, and it's no different for the horse's hoof!
A negative palmar (front), or negative plantar (hind), angle in the hoof refers to the orientation of the coffin bone in the hoof. In a negative angled hoof, the wings of the coffin bone (called the palmar processes) are lower than the front of the coffin bone. A healthy hoof alignment within the capsule is considered to be a couple to several degrees positive. The range of normal can depend on the horse's individual conformation and breed. While there are proponents of a ground parallel coffin bone when the horse is at rest/standing on flat ground, it is generally accepted that the healthiest and soundest feet are those with a positive angle (this is my preference). As I am always repeating, the rear most area of the hoof is meant to be landed upon, and under full load it will dip downward as nature intended. If the hoof is already at ground parallel just standing still, the coffin bone will go negative under full impact.

A negative plantar angle.  The red line shows the angle we are referring to - the rear
of the coffin bone is lower than the front. This is an extreme example to help you see it.

So what are the causes, why is it bad, how do you recognize it, can we fix it?

Some of the causes of negative palmar/plantar angles:

  1. Environment
    One of the causes of negative palmar/plantar angles (NPA) relates to our arid environment here in Southern, CA. Without moisture to soften and help exfoliate their feet, some horses can build excessive sole. Bar material that should end about 1/2 way down the frog can migrate forward and over the sole, blending with the sole and even covering it completely. You may have heard the term "false sole" and this is what it is referring to. This material, if not recognized and removed, can pack in under the tip of the coffin bone and essentially push the edge upwards.
  2. Trimming
    Some horses are trimmed and shod to exacerbate this situation. Reiners, for example, can have crushed heels and excessive vertical toe height (NPA's) from sliding, and I see it in upper level dressage horses who are stepping under themselves during highly collected movement.  
  3. Conformation
    Sickle hocked horses are predisposed to this hoof form. Horses with DSLD are as well, because the damaged, dropping pastern and suspensory areas move the weight bearing area too far rearward.  

Why is being negative a bad thing?

The horse is essentially overloading the rear of the hoof. The soft tissues of the digital cushion, lateral cartilages, frog, etc., are being crushed. The heel bulb areas will look flattened, the frog can appear to be prolapsed, and there may be a crevice in the frog from where it is pinching forward (which can trap thrush). Horses with negative plantar angles often stand underneath themselves, which leads to soreness through the stifles, hocks, hamstrings and up into the croup and sacroiliac area.

How does one recognize this situation?

A lateral radiograph will certainly show you the bone orientation, and is ideal so you know exactly what you are dealing with. With that said, a big sign of NPAs can be a bullnosed appearance to the hoof wall. This is due to the wall following over the tip of the coffin bone which is pushing outward. Another obvious sign is from underneath the hoof, there will be more depth at the apex of the frog than the rear of the foot. Sometimes horses with NPA's will have wear such as squaring at the toe wall and a buffed appearance to the wall. (This is also a sign of sore hocks or stifles, which we know is a possible result of NPA's, but it can also be just a symptom of soreness, injury or weakness there and can't be assumed on its own to mean the horse has NPAs.)

Before (left): The bullnosed or dubbed shape common in horses that have a NPA.
After (right): Five weeks later - the heel was able to start lifting now that the pressure has been relieved.

How do you fix it?

After all that lead up, it seems over simplified to say you usually just remove excess sole under the coffin bone...but that is usually all that is required!  It may take a single good trim to fix the situation and get the hooves back on track. Or, more commonly, it can take many trims with varying amounts of material taken out, and the horse may need some remedial body work to help soothe the sore soft tissues. It takes someone really good at reading the hoof to know how much to take and when. Hooves adapt over time, and the corium that covers the coffin bone can actually have distorted enough that a trimmer could get into trouble by trying to over correct a situation too quickly. Sometimes all we can do is lower the wall at the toe, and only the sole immediately adjacent to it. If the problem didn't originate in the hooves but rather from a conformational issue, disease or an injury, we are limited in how much permanent change we can make at the hoof.  
At the AHA conference a couple of years ago, we used a simple heat sensing tool on the feet of horses that were NPA, before and after their trims. The feet were warmer after the trim, indicating possible better circulation in the foot when the rear of it was not being as crushed. I've seen some amazing changes to the heel and frog areas on horses with corrected angles so don't be negative, be positive!

A sole view of what changes can take place when correcting a NPA. There is approximately
6 months time between the images. The weight bearing area of the heel has moved back
and thickened, the frogs have widened, the hoof is rounder in shape, and there is more
equal depth under the coffin bone.  (The horse is a working teenaged dressage horse.)


Submitted by Sossity Gargiulo, Wild Hearts Hoof Care

Broken Down May Not Be So Broken

As hoof care providers we often get calls to help horses as a last-ditch effort before euthanasia. The owner calls with a laundry list of problems and a history of solutions that have been tried and fallen short.  

This is the case of a 19-year-old Quarter Horse gelding whose laundry list was a mile long. He had been diagnosed with:

  • bowed right front tendon
  • left front coffin bone fracture
  • sidebone
  • ringbone

His current diagnosis was navicular disease. When I first saw him he was barely walking on his left front leg. Many options had been tried to resolve his lameness but with minimal long term success. The owner was tired of watching him in pain and was considering euthanasia. The veterinarian who referred me to the case told the owner "Call Daisy, she may be able to perform a miracle for you" pressure!   

Anytime I come across a horse with arthritic conditions, navicular, etc my goals as a farrier are to minimize the range of motion the joints have to articulate through, hopefully minimizing the impact any soft tissue problems or rough bone surfaces may have as the horse moves. The more compact the foot, the shorter the distance the joints have to move in locomotion.

I have discussed my basic trimming and shoeing goals in previous blogs. The same goals apply in this situation as the other case studies I have highlighted.

My goals are:

  • 3-8 degree palmar P3 angle: the angle of the bottom of the coffin bone in relation to the ground.
  • 50/50 base of support from toe to heel around the center of rotation of the hoof capsule.

Here is the horse's left front foot when I came to see him:

P3 Palmar Angle: 3-8 degrees
Toe Support % (50/50) 50% toe

May 8th Old Shoe:
P3 Palmar Angle: NEGATIVE -1.70 degrees
Toe Support % (50/50) 59.17% toe

I really respect what the previous farrier was doing with this horse. The shoe is well fit, and the rolled toe was working to help this horse with his lameness issue. However the internal and external hoof alignment was not quite to my parameters, so I felt increasing the palmar P3 angle and getting closer to a true 50/50 support base would have a good chance at helping this horse become more comfortable if not sound.  

Here is the same foot, same day, with the shoe pulled:

May 8th No Shoe:
P3 Palmar Angle: NEGATIVE -3.69 degrees
Toe Support % (50/50) 63.51% toe

So without the shoe the hoof capsule and internal alignment was worse.  

Here is what we were able to do in our first trim the same day:




P3 Palmar Angle: 3-8 degrees

Toe Support % (50/50) 50% toe


May 8th After Trim:

P3 Palmar Angle: POSITIVE 2.90 degrees

Toe Support % (50/50) 56.70% toe


So we were getting much closer to our ideal parameters. I felt I had pushed this foot as much as possible at this time. We left him barefoot in a dry lot paddock. The horse became much more comfortable and at a walk was sound. But at a trot, especially on firm ground or on turns he was still off.  


I felt I had achieved as much improvement as I could achieve in his internal and external hoof alignment through trimming. I wondered if he even could become sound at the trot and on turns, especially on hard ground. We decided to use leverage testing to determine where his discomfort was coming from. An easy way to do leverage testing is with the KrossCheck leverage testing system:



The leverage testing revealed that the horse hated his toe elevated (functionally decreasing his palmar P3 angle) and was very happy with additional heel elevation (increasing the palmar P3 angle) which made a lot of sense. However, it was interesting to find that he also hated his foot being tipped from side to side, medial/lateral. I decided to try a glue on shoe to create ease of range of motion from side to side as well as add a bit more heel height.  


Here is what his foot looked like with the addition of the composite shoe:



June 14th New Composite Shoe:

P3 Palmar Angle: POSITIVE 5.74 degrees

Toe Support % (50/50) 50.20% toe


With the additional mechanics created in the shoe, and the shock dampening effect of the plastic, this horse went completely sound and is now back in work being ridden for trail riding, light dressage lessons, and some therapeutic riding five days a week. The leverage testing was an invaluable tool in getting this horse, with his laundry list of problems, back in work and sound. Here is his very happy owner enjoying her horse!  



Daisy Bicking, APF