The Morgan mare is believed to be about 15 yo.  She was found at auction in MA. Due to her severe lameness (grade5/5 at a the walk), no one wanted her and for several weeks she wasted in the auction pens.  She was shod, but according to the sellers it did not help, and even with Banamine she was completely lame on some days.  She was in danger of getting picked up by a slaughter-bound truck when by chance the current owner found her and purchased her for $400. 

(Click on thumbnails for larger views).

  lily002.jpg                      lily-fink0003.jpg

        Left Hind AP                            Left Hind Lateral

This horse clearly has a very advanced case of high, apparently articular, ringbone.  According to the veterinary diagnosis, it was the most severe case ever seen by that vet and the horse would never be sound for riding.

lhringbone.JPG        lhbfrb.JPG   rlh.JPG

Left Hind

The ringbone is clearly visible even without radiographs and the mare frequently favored the Left Hind.

Moving on from what is visible on radiographs, the obvious confronts the viewer: the horse’s hoof form is terrible and overgrown, the result of neglect or ignorance. There is certainly more than enough cause here for lameness of some degree.

2lhsolebf.JPG      1lhsolebf.JPG         3lhsole.JPG

LH before, fig. 1                    LH before, fig. 2             LH after, fig. 3

The bars on the Left Hind are clearly overgrown to the point where they are actually above not only the level of the sole but the wall as well, meaning the bar would be the first structure to bear the horse’s weight, upon weightbearing rather than the walls and sole.  Since the foot is somewhat contracted and the wall and bar material are very hard (as is typical in Morgans), the bars are not folding over onto the sole, the effect for the horse being like stepping onto the dull edge of a knife with each step.  No wonder she refused to put any weight onto that foot.

Fig. 1 shows the edge of the too-long bar (red arrow) as well as the desired location of the bar (blue dashed line). Fig. 2 shows the bar grown all the way around the apex of the frog (red arrows), also a source for pain. Fig. 3 shows the bars lowered and removed from the sole.  After this trim the mare was much more willing to stand on this foot but was still lame on turns.

Having become more comfortable on the LH, she now exhibited more clearly lameness on the Right Front and is seen holding that foot behind her, a sign of pain.


Further investigation revealed deeply imbedded bar on the RF front, which when removed, produced immediate improved soundness.

Right Front

1rfsolebf.JPG                        3rfsolaf.JPG   

Before                                                       After

 2rflatbf.JPG                   4rflataf2.JPG

Before                                                      After

Update:  The mare has been under the new owner’s care for about six months now.   After her first few trims she was able to place weight on her feet and move comfortably, so she was started on trail rides of increasing duration, sometimes as much as 4 hours long.  After the very longest rides she would show some signs of discomfort in her hind legs, which presumably was the articular deposits being worn away from the hours of movement. (This will be confirmed in the coming months with new X-rays).   But evn this discomfort is no longer present. It is apparent that the obvious pain and inability to place weight on the Left Hind was orginating from the large overgrown bar seen from the underside on the lateral side of the foot, even though this was never observed in the lameness diagnosis.  The lameness was all attributed to the ringbone.  She requires no boots on every kind of footing in the park where she trail rides. 

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  1. I love the great detail you put into adding all of these descriptive figures to your site. Keep up the good work! I’m glad to hear the horse was able to avoid the slaughter house!

  2. Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoy the site. If you let me know which figures are the most helpful, I’ll make sure to keep adding those kinds. Thanks again.

  3. Wow…these are great pictures. Thank you for taking the time to post this information and photographs for people to get help from. I asked you in the other post if I could have your blessing to briefly flash your ringbone photograph in a hoof care instructional video, and as I look at more of these, I have to admit, the foundered foot picture you have here is so impacting on me. I have other founder photos from different sources already, but as I look at the set of 3 photos you have on this site, close ups of the hoof wall clearly separated, and the toe not touching the ground, it really is illustrative about founder, in my opinion, and I’d actually be tempted to use them to replace a photo I already have… again, if I have your permission. It’s only for about 5 seconds per picture in one section about founder, of the entire 105-minute video, but I do think they are great pictures and I would love to use them. And of course, would be delighted to credit you as the source! Again, please let me know if this is ok. You can email me directly too at lucindac@earthlink.net or call. Thanks again Christina.
    (p.s. I’m eager to hear from you as soon as possible, as we’re about ready to publish the final version…so hoping to hear from you first!)

  4. This was extremely informative. Thank you.

  5. I have a 12 year old mare that was just diagnosed with ringbone in both front legs, rotation in her left foot and navicular in the same leg. Please help

    • Really? Ringbone in both fronts, rotation, and navicular?

      Sort of covering all the bases there, aren’t they?

      It’s impossible to give any specific advice without seeing photos of the feet but as you can see from the case shown here and others on this site, the key to solving many of these problems is correcting the trim. Loweing heels if they are high (rotation and navicular), bringing the coffin bone close to ground parallel and balancing medially/laterally will all help with ringbone.

      You can start by sending some photos for consultation advice if you like.

  6. Hello there-

    Thank you for this great article! I actually just purchased (sight unseen) a little quarter pony pinto mare from our local auction house here in WA (Ironically, she was $400 as well). Someone evaluated her yesterday and stated that she had ringbone in her left hind, just like this mare. her previous owner severly neglected her feet and I dont know how long it has been since she has been trimmed and had good care, but, this article gives me hope that she will be more than a pasture ornament with good care.

    Thank you again!
    Thank you!

    • Congratulations and good luck. The mare in the post was not neglected, they tried to do what they knew and thought to be best. She needed, and got at the last minute, knowledgeable help. I encourage you to try the best, most qualified barefoot trimmer you can find.

  7. What a wonderful and descriptive story. Thank you for sharing this. My own mare has been barefoot for 5 years now, she is now 16 years old. Last summer she was diagnosed with ringbone in her right pastern joint which was the reason for her slight lameness.

    I changed trimmers last summer after this diagnosis as I wasnt entirely happy with the trim she was getting prior to this time. I also got video analysis of her footfalls done and my new trimmer began trimming her according to these slow motion videos. He is very experienced, having trained and learnt from all the barefoot schools.

    Her feet are dramatically different now, and she is a lot sounder. Maybe very slightly unlevel on a circle but no where near as badly as last summer. I am going to get some more slo mo video done soon, so a year after beginning this trim to see how different the foot falls are now that her foot balance is truly correct according to her movement.

    It is my belief that my mare’s lateral cartilage ossification and subsequent ringbone originated from a lifetime of shoes. Whilst removing the shoes went some way to being more natural, the trim which was being applied after barefoot was still not balancing her feet correctly to her movement and conformation. So the ringbone resulted.

    Ringbone can definately be helped through correct and accurate trimming as well as a mineral balanced diet.

    I would very much like to link to this blog on my wordpress blog and to share this post on my blog too. Would this be something you would consider allowing?

    Many thanks

  8. Pingback: Ringbone? Or Poor Hoof Form? « Equi-libre Horses

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