Founder – Recovery

4 yo Shetland Pony Mare

The pony had not been trimmed much until the time she foundered, and grazed on lush grass while under the care of the previous owner, resulting in a combination of probable metabolic and mechanical founder. Her X-rays and laminar wedge closeups appear in the posts below.

Ruby Standing

A tight regimen of frequent trimming as well as limited access to grass (using a muzzle) has been implemented, resulting in improved hoof form and a healthier body weight.  The trimming focused on lowering the heels and backing up the toes, realigning the coffin bone parallel to the toe wall, as well as bringing it closer to a ground parallel orientation. The parallel hoof wall/coffin bone is a primary factor in the prevention of founder.


rfbefdecember-2.jpg   solebf.jpg

Somewhat difficult to see in the grass, but this is where the corrective trimming started, with high heels and very long toes.  The red arrows at the toe show imminent coffin bone protrusion, along with a wide gulf  separation between its edge and the wall. The bar, (red arrow), level with the frog, is high.

rfsole.jpg       rfsole0307.jpg       rfsolebl.jpg

1 mo.                                  3 mos.                                    6 mos.

As the hoof wall grows down, the separation (all the way around the edge of the hoof) diminishes, and the white line becomes healthy and tight, enabling it to suspend the coffin bone in the hoof capsule.

 rflat.jpg                                              rflatbl.jpg

1 mo.                                                                                   6 mos.

By 6 months most of the hoof wall has grown down with less prominent rings. The remaining separation at the toe (red arrows) corresponds to the separation on the sole at the same time frame and will grow out in another month or so.

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  1. very interesting. There is just so much about the foot I do not understand.

  2. Is there anything specific you would like to see addressed in order to further your understanding of the foot?

  3. Hey

    Wot are the “spur-b-gone pills” you mentioned in your post.

    Very interested on those as my, now, barefot dressage hors has one I’d like to see gone.

  4. It’s a brand name for a homeopathic remedy containing calcarea fluorica. I would consult with a homeopath to determine it its’ right for your horse. In any case homeopathic remedies should not be used for more than a week or two at any given time.

  5. will the pony be able to hold a child’s weight after recovery? or be ridden at all?

    • The pony was quite young when she foundered (maybe 2 yo?) and had never been broken or trained to ride, so if she is to be ridden that will have to be undertaken. Having said that, she encountered a setback last summer but has come through this winter with flying colors and is the soundest she has ever been. If she continues on this trajectory there is no reason why a very small child couldn’t ride her.

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