Problems With Intermittent Lameness

2 06 2009

2008_1003JENNYOZ00502009_0117JENNYOZ0021This was a forum post, very kindly answered by our wonderful barefoot trimmer, Caroline Andresen. I thought it was a good idea to post it here too, as it is such excellent advice!

My beautiful five year old Anglo Arab was slightly lame after being shod. It turned out that she had nail bind and the blacksmith said he must have gone too close to the white line. Since that time (over a year ago now) she has been intimittently lame, every time I start to get her fit she goes lame again. I have given her several bouts of three months rest, once she has been sound for a couple of weeks or more I have started her off slowly with walking exercise, then gradually introduced trot and finally a little canter work; at this stage – aproximately three months later, she goes lame again. I have had her x-rayed and the vet cannot find anything wrong with her, I have also had a second opinion. Has anyone got any suggestions as I am running out of ideas on what to do next, it has also cost me a fortune in vets bills and we are no nearer to finding out the cause of her lameness.

Answer from Caroline Andresen:
I frequently see intermittent undiagnosed lamnesses like this…… its so frustrating not to have an answer!!!!!
It depends if she wants to go down the barefoot route or not. I personally am convinced that it may well solve the problem.
If this was my mare, I would:

Take shoes off
Get AANHCP trimmer in
Provide rockie vit/min lick, good hay and good water
take away all sweet feed (i.e barley, maize, molassed stuff)
take away Alfa A
try giving Formula 4 Feet as a supplement (I have had quite a few good reports) – note: not farriers formula, but formula 4 feet
turn the mare out on a paddock paradise type arrangement to encourage her to move – movement is key.

And wait…. she will work through whatever she needs too. I obviously wouldn’t be able to judge how long it would take – each horse is an individual. If riding her, she may find she needs boots to start with, or maybe not. The general rule is the more natural movement the horse does the quicker the process.

If the shoeing in the past has caused damage to the feet the mare may abcess. This is nothing to worry about – its a good thing, as it is a natural way for the body to remove waste and unwanted or dead material. (OF COURSE if the mare continually and constantly abcesses over a longer period of time that would need to be looked at) The mare may also be reacting to the concussion from wearing shoes. Taking them off will give her back her natural shock absorbers. I find incredible results with horses that have arthritis – its so much better for their joints to have their natural shock absorbers back!

The other things i guess I would ask would be – has the vet nerveblocked her – could the problem be higher up? Even if this is so, usually going barefoot will help solve those kind of problems too.
Also – it would be useful to see a picture.
I have attached 2 pics.
First one is of a client of mine on the first trim just after the shoes came off: I am seeing alot of these type of feet following long periods of shoeing – underrun heel, long toes etc
Second one is of same foot after I had worked with the horse for 3 months (and of course the client had tightened up on feed etc)

Caroline Andresen’s website can be seen here




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