Please share your trimming success story with us here!

 

I have had to discontinue making this an online interactive page because I was getting about 1000 spams a day.  I apologize that this is less convenient, but the spams were increasing exponentially.

To submit an entry, Download this Form, print it, fill it out, and then snail mail it to me...
OR open it, type in your answers, and email it to me.


  New entries will be added manually to the success story page daily from entries I get back via snail mail.

 

Please EMAIL me photos if you want some added to your story.


Two links with some great rehab stories:

Several interesting cases, including this horse:

         and after...     
http://www.healthehoof.com/home.html
(Fischer Equine Lameness Foundation, MN)
 

Lily, a knuckled-over mare:

      and after...     
http://www.ausequinearts.com/CaseLily.html


More barefoot success stories! 
Click HERE


A compilation of barefoot success stories,
edited by Yvonne Welz


Name: Merlynn Burns
Location: Pearblossom, CA
Contact Info: mgraphics@prodigy.net (661) 944-4877
Age, Breed, Problems: Shetland/Mini 4 yrs, foundered twice
Trim for others?: Possibly
Date: 3/24/02

Comments

Not finding any solutions and solid answers for the foundering problem my pony was facing, I did some research and found out about the Strasser trim. I implemented it the best I could by instructing my horseshoer to please trim her to a 30 degree hairline and to back the toe up. There was evident relief, even though the bars and frog were left alone. Later, after attending a Martha Clinic, I tweaked and continue to tweak the trim on my pony. Over a period of 2 months we have gone from  flat soles with long skinny frogs and oblong feet to rounder, concave, shorter, wider frogs and dramatic soundness improvements. Today, 2 months later she is galloping, bucking, and trotting happily with her "herd". She is still healing, but what a difference! I am very grateful for the knowledge that Strasser and her students have made available. I have every confidence in the correctness of this trimming method. While every horse is different and may require a slight variation of the trim - on the whole from what I have observed with many horses is that it is very successful.


Name: Joni Libert
Location: Kenai, Alaska
Contact Info: 907-283-5688
Age, Breed, Problems: 18/Quarter Horse/ Foundered
Trim for others?: Yes
Date: 3/24/02

Comments

Rescued an 18 yr old QH/Gelding in 2000. Foundered in all four feet. Foundered again after a "specialist" applied orthopedic shoes, & burned the bottom of his soles (to "toughen" them up, she said). Removed shoes 3 months later & began trimming on my own after reading an article on the "Strasser Method" in "Natural Horse Magazine" by Yvonne Welz. Went to 2 clinics, & became a "Strasser Method" student in 2001-2002. My horse is recovering nicely in spite of my initial inexperience in learning to trim. He will be used this summer for first time since his rescue in 2000. His demeanor & whole-horse attitude has changed for the better. He is not 100% sound yet, but his progress is steady. Without this trim (& lifestyle change) he would not have survived. I was told by a farrier to not waste my time, he would never be rideable & that I should euthanise him. Good thing I did not listen. Now my friends say he is one of the best horses they have ever seen, & he moves like a dream!


Name: Lana Gray
Location: Kenai, Alaska
Contact Info: peraxies@hotmail.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 18/Quarter Horse/ Foundered/ 1year/QH/ligament problems
Trim for others?: not yet
Date: 3/24/02

Comments

Dr. Strasser has become such an inspiration, and Hero in my life because of her knowledge she has shared. We were able to save our QH and save the life of a little colt in just a week's time. With proper living conditions and trimming, he is standing straighter, and able to gallop (for the very first time EVER). We believe it was because of the farrier he has the problems he has today. (The farrier threw him to the ground repeatedly, and knocked his hips out, causing ALL sorts of problems..) and, if it weren't for Dr. Strasser, the baby would have been shot because of his "uncorrectable problems." I now refuse to ride any shod horse, and cringe at the sight of old nail holes.


Name: Barbara Fey
Location: New Hanover, IL USA
Contact Info: Rt66Kix@aol.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 10 y/o QH, former racehorse and barrel racer; thin soles, thin walls, contracted heels
Trim for others?: not yet!
Date: 3/24/02

Comments

Tulsa had horrible feet. They kept getting weaker and thinner. His heels were all "squished" together, and his feet were very small for his body size. He's 16 hands, 1200 pounds, and wore a size 1 shoe. He was very tentative about his footing on different surfaces. I've had his shoes off since January 6, and his feet have gotten much harder! There is no white line separation in his quarters, and his heels are starting to spread out. He's much more sure-footed on trail rides, and is also much more free in his movement under saddle. When turned out he is so much more playful and energetic. The Strasser Method makes so much sense to me. If people don't have success with it, it's because they have only done PART of the method, not the entire thing. All the principles must be followed in order to get the best results. All the principles are a such a "sane" approach to horse care, and anything less is just substandard.


Name: Roxanne Hill
Location: Lee's Summit, Missouri ( Kansas City,Missouri)
Contact Info: 816-524-4741 zuzu@swbell.net
Age, Breed, Problems: 6 year old, Quarter Horse, contracted feet and heels
Trim for others?: No, but will help them get started.
Date: 3/25/02

Comments

My mare was 4 years old when I had a friend at a clinic point out that my mare's feet were contracted. She had been barefoot up till that clinic and I had shoes put on her. This friend noticed a hoof print outside in the mud were the ends of the shoe was almost meeting. She was telling me about it and I know that was my horse's foot. She wanted to see and then told me about Dr. Strasser's book. I ordered it as soon as I got home. I went to a team penning and my horse was dropping her hips really bad. I took her to the Vet the next day and he said she had sore heels and to get the shoes off. He said if I did not I would have a 4 year old with navicular. He offered to trim her and thin out the walls to allow the heels to spread. I told him I had a book coming and wanted to try it first. So that is how I got started doing Dr. Strasser's trim. So far it had been how she was trimmed that got her this way. It really made me upset that none of the farriers could recognize that there was a problem with her feet. I knew if I did not learn how to do this myself, I would have a navicular horse. I have been trimming my mare for 2 years now and it has been a slow process, but have made changes. Her foot has rounded out and not oblong any longer. We have gained 1/4 inch in width. Heels have expanded, but still have more to go. This mare is very comfortable now and is in less pain. This horse was very quiet before the trim and now has much more energy. I believe she was such pain before. I know it is just going to keep getting better, but takes time for the coffin bone to remodel.


Name: Teresa Ruth
Location: Boise, Idaho
Contact Info: truth@bcidaho.com
Age, Breed, Problems: Arabian gelding 9 years old shod 6 years, long toes, stretched white line, contracted, tender on anything but grass and sand when barefoot, starting to toe out badly
Trim for others?: Maybe
Date: 3/25/02

Comments

I learned via internet sources that while Cody was barefoot he was actually deteriorating - my (then) farrier said his white line was stretched and that wouldn't go away, but that it wouldn't hurt anything. When I said he was tender on rocks, he offered to shoe him. I began trimming him myself Oct. 2001 after a Mike LaGrone clinic; then a group of like-minded barefooters invited Kurt Schlagel, CHCS student, to Boise in December. He started digging out Cody's overgrown bars and backing up his toes to take care of the flares. He also did some vertical balancing of the hooves. After just three trims, Cody is now tracking a lot straighter, he is taking his leads fluently and can trot on gravel. His white line is tight, the hoof quality is excellent, and we're both very happy! I am able to maintain the hoof trim and feel confident that with occasional scrutiny by Kurt we will be on our own and in better shape than he has ever been in his 9 years!


Name: Teresa Ruth
Location: Boise, Idaho
Contact Info: truth@bcidaho.com
Age, Breed, Problems: Paint 10 yrs diagnosed navicular
Trim for others?: Maybe
Date: 3/25/02

Comments

I just bought this horse March 25, 2002 with the diagnosis of navicular. I have his x-rays from a year ago which show almost imperceptible changes to the right navicular area. When the diagnosis was made, the owner took his shoes off and put him in pasture and began trimming him herself (no knowledge of Jackson/Strasser etc). He went sound almost immediately and has not been lame since. We have a long way to go because now this horse has toes that are too short, heels that are long and run under and overgrown bars. However, I am confident that what I have learned I can dig out the bars, de-contract the heels and keep him going sound. After the first trim the day I brought him home (yesterday!) where I lowered the bars and the frog, which had also overgrown, he was noticeably less tender on rocks. He carried my daughter on a little ride along the Boise River and never took an ouchy step. This is a success story in the making, but when it is complete I will have bought a horse destined to be marginalized because of his diagnosis, restored him to complete usefulness and will own a horse with training and breeding I could not have afforded to purchase otherwise.


Name: Joanne King
Location: Nfld, Canada
Contact Info: taicho@roadrunner.nf.net
Age, Breed, Problems: 19,QH,diagnosed with arthritis plus really bad fencing accident
Trim for others?: Yes
Date: 3/25/02

Comments

LONG!! I live in a place with few horses and fewer trained farriers. Over the years I found it necessary to learn how to shoe myself. I took over my own shoeing when I started seeing a twisted hoof capsule on both my horses due to an imbalance. When my farrier moved away I took over one of his clients who wouldn't take no for an answer. There is one farrier left in this area that most people use. Skipper, not my horse, lived in a stall for more than 10 years with little or no turnout...his only exercise was when the owner rode. He had many, many lamenesses and he looked a lot older than he actually was. He was sold a few years ago and moved to a barn further down the road where he was turned out most of the time. He had to learn how to be a horse :-/ The one farrier that was left here began shoeing him at this point. He was becoming very stiff and the alpha mare began picking on him. At one point she kicked his shoulder and chipped a bone. He got even worse. He was diagnosed with arthritis and put on very expensive medication...$120 each month. Then he got cornered by the mare and tried to jump the fence and failed....this fence has the most powerful fence charger that you can get...designed to keep in the bull that used to walk through lesser chargers. He was constantly zapped for who knows how long...when he finally got out he was almost dead. His hind legs were completely shredded. If it were my horse I probably would have had him put down at this point. The owner chose not to and he began the long road to recovery. The farrier managed to get his shoes off and then he was just trimmed. The owner was told she would probably never ride him again. He was separated from the other horses and had to be forced to move. Eventually he started healing and moving around on his own a bit. His front feet were chipping so the owner had the farrier put the front shoes back on him. I discovered Dr. Strasser's methods quite by accident....I was looking online for help in shoeing a behaviorally challenged horse. Someone suggested barefoot and led me to the barefoot egroups. I saw right away that it made sense! I studied it intensely for a year and then decided to try it on my own horses. I've had no hands-on help...just the internet. But I also had experience with a rasp and hoof knife and had studied hooves a lot before starting to shoe my own. When my friend saw that it was successful she decided to try it on her 3 horses that I was still shoeing. Eighteen months after Skipper's accident...wounds still not completely healed....the owner decided to leave his shoes off for the winter and got the farrier to trim him. A week later she called me to look at his feet because he was walking on his toes. He had high heels, overgrown bars, frogs about 1/2 inch below the level of the hoof wall, severe contraction, a twisted hoof capsule, and was completely unbalanced. I trimmed him and sent pics to Lisa Huhn in New Brunswick for more advice...she was a big help :) After 3 trims he was galloping around the field chasing another horse, he's kicking at his stall door in the morning to get out...he had to be turned around and led out previously, he's off his expensive medication, he has weight on, he looks younger, his wound is finally healing and his owner is riding him again. The contraction hasn't even really been dealt with yet as 24 hour turnout is unavailable right now. Hoping for even more improvement when he is able to be turned out 24/7 next month :) This trimming method is wonderful!!!


Name: Debi Stocker
Location: Salisbury, NC
Contact Info: debistocker@hotmail.com, 704-630-6617
Age, Breed, Problems: mulitple
Trim for others?: No, but I'll happily refer to my wonderful farrier :) .
Date: 3/25/02

Comments

Our story starts about one year ago. We had a Morgan who had weak, shelly feet. He just could not keep shoes on. For lack of any other options, the farrier pulled his shoes off, and we hoped that his feet would toughen up. He went from barely able to walk on the gravel drive, to trotting on it soundly. No chips. The next horse is an aged gentleman with navicular. All the conventional methods had been tried (wedge shoes, etc...) This horse had been retired because he could hardly walk. Once again, we saw tremendous improvement. He is now trotting and cantering around his pasture, playing with his buddies. The third horse had such contracted heels, that the bulbs pushed together and looked like an arrowhead. This horse was so bad that our farrier asked to meet with the vet to confer. They tried a few different shoeing methods, nothing worked. So, the farrier pulled the shoes to see what would happen. Again, the horse improved dramatically. At this point, I got on the internet and really started researching. I ordered and read "A Lifetime of Soundness" and then gave it to our farrier. Turns out, he was instinctively doing pretty much the same trim (no, they didn't teach it in horse shoeing school). He has been doing lots of his own research. At the end of this month, I am going with my farrier, and one other person to our first Strasser Clinic. We can't wait! Oh, and yesterday we took 6 of our barefoot horses on a hunter pace. Over the rocks, thru the woods, into the rivers. All the horses seemed happy and comfortable, and at the end all of their feet looked pretty much the same as when we started. A few were tender on gravel, but it would be nothing to just slip on a pair of hoof boots if we needed to ride on gravel a lot.


Name: Claudia Garner
Location: Horrell Hill Dressage Center near Columbia, SC
Contact Info: hhdressage@sc.rr.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 5 year old Trakehner mare, no initial apparent problems
Trim for others?: Only if they come to our farm
Date: 3/26/02

Comments

"Truly Scrumptious" is an impeccably bred Trakehner filly, born in 1997. Her full brothers and sisters (7 of them are very successful. She was inspected in 2000 by the American Trakehner Association. In what I thought then to be right, we put front shoes on her. She was extremely difficult to shoe, especially when it came to nailing. Her inspection result were all 7's with two exceptions: She got a 6 for her legs because of a slight "conformation problem" in the right front and an 8 for her trot. We waited to start her under saddle till she was 4 years old. The summer of her 4th year she was started lightly without any accidents. Meanwhile, she was barefoot and trimmed regularly, but always with problems. In the fall she started bucking. Turned out she needed to be trimmed differently (too much bar material); then the bucking stopped. In February of this year Martha Olivo came to teach a clinic and I learned about the importance of trimming to the dirtline and seeing the whole hoof correctly. For the first time this young mare stands still while trimming. Her trot is now a 9 at least. Without Martha's training with Dr. Strasser and her own ability to teach a natural trim, we would not have ever gotten such stunning results. I now trim all my horses myself and they are doing excellent. They have more reach and impulsion. They are lighter on their feet and more willing to work.

   


Name: Marilyn Verdeyen
Location: Kingman, IN (west central Indiana)
Contact Info: 765-397-3789 verdeyen@localline.com
Age, Breed, Problems: Founder /13 yr /TWH cross
Trim for others?: No, but could help them trim
Date: 3/26/02

Comments

My mare had a history of undetermined bouts of lameness and frequent abscesses that continuous front shoes and pads helped for two years. The entire summer of 2000 she was lame or off, the farrier didn't know what to do anymore and one vet couldn't find anything wrong, either. X-rays finally showed severe rotation, and that vet recommended egg bar shoes with wedges. Just a few days prior to that being done, I discovered Dr. Strasser's trimming method and it made much more sense. Shoes were pulled and heels lowered. It was really difficult in the beginning because she was so sore and I was basically learning as I went on what I now recognize as very damaged feet. Most of my information has been learned from the internet, but an early clinic with Martha Olivo helped tremendously. Then hosting a clinic with her, June 2001, so she could see and trim this horse, helped even more but we still had a long way to go. The summer of 2001 was much different. I watched this mare gradually start moving normally. She had always being short-strided, but she began to overstride! More recently she only has trouble on frozen ruts, otherwise she can run and buck and looks wonderful, she trots freely on pavement and walks across gravel previously avoided. Martha was able to trim her again March 2002 and correct a few things in my trimming, but we're almost there. A big thank you to Dr. Strasser and everyone making this information available.


Name: Marilyn Verdeyen
Location: Kingman, IN (west central Indiana)
Contact Info: 765-397-3789 verdeyen@localline.com
Age, Breed, Problems: TWH cross/14yrs/probable founder, stretched white lines, some contraction, tender on rocks
Trim for others?: No but could help them trim
Date: 3/26/02

Comments

This gelding never had lameness problems except for an occasional abscess. Shoes only during the best riding weather for a few months per year about ten years ago, otherwise barefoot. Since discovering Dr. Strasser's trim and trying to learn on my own, what's good for one is good for all and I needed the practice. Even my previous farrier confirmed how much better this horse's feet were becoming. I had always thought shoes were necessary to ride our gravel roads. He's gone from avoiding rocks to freely choosing to trot on all but the sharpest of stones while ridden, so far. Now I also have to learn to ride better because he's a handful! I've had help from Martha Olivo with this horse too, she's trimmed him June 2001 and March 2002. I also trim my 33yr old grade mare that always had great feet. She also wore shoes in the past for riding on gravel because of stumbling, and again, because I thought it necessary. Her feet now look even better and I believe this trim will make her senior years even better and longer.


Name: Patty Hansen
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
Contact Info: email: acerpatty@yahoo.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 9 yr old Appendix Gelding; Navicular Syndrome
Trim for others?: Not qualified
Date: 3/26/02

Comments

I have owned my horse three years. He was on and off lame the entire time. The last year, lameness was worse and continual; worse with work. He was diagnosed with navicular syndrome in 1998 and put on isoxuprine with shoes and pads. In spring 2001 I took him to be evaluated again to the University of Minn. Vet Hospital. He received a complete lameness workup, ie, x-rays, ultra sound, nerve blocking. They found no changes in the navicular bone and simply diagnosed him with soft tissue soreness in the right foot. I was told to ask my farrier to tweak around with his shoeing. My horse only got progressively more lame and I was advised to just give up and ship him. I persevered and discovered the Strasser method. He was trimmed with the Strasser trim in December 2001 and not just three short months later he is sound and I am riding him again. Thank you so much, Dr. Strasser!! Patty Hansen


Name: Debi Broadway
Location: Hazel Green, AL
Contact Info: trnghroses@aol.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 6 yr. old QH gelding: severe contraction, high heels, flat footed
Trim for others?: Not at this time
Date: 3/26/02

Comments

I have a QH I purchased 3 1/2 yrs. ago that came to me with feet in very bad shape. My farrier at the time, managed to make his feet look awesome during the 1 yr. he shod him. The horse seemed to move sound until one day the bottom fell out! He had a quarter crack at the coronet band, and was lame. I was referred to another vet who had his own shoer, 2 hr. trailer ride, different type of shoes put on and a patch over the crack. 2nd time I had to haul down there, he shod him, re-patched him and 3 days later...I HAD A VERY LAME HORSE!!! Switched shoers again, (recommendation of another vet), he shod him for 7 months and still lame. In desperation I called upon Charles, he believes in barefoot and has gone through a Strasser clinic and clinics with Martha. He came and said to pull his shoes off! I was very apprehensive, since his feet and hoof wall were so damaged already I didn't know how this would help. He pulled off the shoes, and in 3 weeks I began riding him again. He came up sore last week, and I wrote about it on here and called upon Charles again. This time I had attended one clinic with Martha, so over the phone he told me to look at his frog and see if it was grown down below the hoof wall and if so trim it up a little. Well, it was and I did, and there was a bruise under there, too. I am happy to say, my horse since yesterday has been a fireball again and seems to be doing GREAT! He is still flat-footed, but, I know it takes a while to undo the damage caused over years of improper shoeing. I honestly feel I can ride him right now with the way he's acting, and believe me, I haven't really gotten to ride him in over a year! I am seeing success right here in my back yard, and I own 3 other horses that have not ever had shoes o, and as long as they live with me, they won't! I am so happy to have been enlightened when it comes to the health of my animals, and after attending a clinic, to be able to help them myself in small ways instead of having to "wait for the farrier to arrive."


Name: Monica Meer
Location: Waukesha, WI
Contact Info: mmmeer@aol.com 262-968-9499
Age, Breed, Problems: 12 Yr. Saddlebred, foundered
Trim for others?: yes
Date: 3/27/02

Comments

In May of 1991 our 12 year old saddlebred foundered. We had only had her for a year. I was told she was barefoot all her life with no previous problems. I immediately called my farrier and my vet. The vet x-rayed her front feet. The left was rotated to 12 degrees and the right was at about 8 degrees. His instructions were to back up toes, give her bute morning and night, and dry lot her. My farrier was shocked that he didn't recommend shoes. Seeing that at that time I thought the farrier probably knew best; I asked the vet about shoes. He said reverse shoes would be OK. I had them put on. She seemed better for about a day or two. About two days later a friend came into my shop with a very good friend of hers. We started talking about the founder. She immediately told me to get the shoes off. She told me that her horse was put down due to founder and since that time she had been researching Gretchen's site. She gave me the site address and I began my mission. I immediately called my farrier and told him to come pull shoes and drop her heels. He thought I was crazy (after all, the shoes were only on for 5 days). He would only lower her heels 3 degrees at a time. He told me he could not take any more off for at least two weeks. That night she was pacing the fence line. I knew she was feeling better. I asked my farrier to come out sooner, that she was looking better already. He said he would not compromise the horse by taking more off. Well, needless to say she relapsed since he refused to come out sooner. In the meantime I was listening to everyone under the sun tell me what to do, when in my heart I knew Strasser's trim was what she needed. I called an old farrier in to help me out. He called my vet again and the vet told him to put on pads and shoes again. He told me that he had helped other horses before and that the trim would not do it. This was the stupidest thing I've ever done, but I let them put on the shoes and pads. The bad thing was that she literally had no hoof because of the way the farrier was trimming her. Her wall was shorter than the sole. After he put on the natural balance shoes. It only took a few days for her soles to be so terribly bruised that she could no longer stand. It seemed that it was crushing her sole. I had an emergency pulling of the shoes. She was really in bad shape now. I was continuing to bute her just so she could stand. I couldn't stand it any more. I purchased a set of knives, a rasp, a Dremel, and headed out to try for my myself. I was doing such a little bit, it really wasn't helping much. I was preparing myself and my daughter for the possibility that I would have to put her down. My last hope was to have Nancy come help me. I got in contact with Nancy Filbert, here in Wisconsin. I'll never forget the day she came. I was in tears when I greeted her, and I hugged her so hard she probably thought I was crazy. Nancy gave Star her first trim on August 18th. She walked off sound immediately after the trim. We left her in boots for the night and began her rehab routine the next morning. Star continued to improve for a few more days. Then it hit her. The circulation came back and she was sore again. We continued to soak and walk daily. I attended a weekend long Martha clinic up at Nancy's the following week, and had Martha out for more trimming the following week. Then I was on my own. After about another week, we began to ride her for our walks. Nancy came out several times for checkups and instruction. Star kept improving. By December, approximately 4 months after starting this trim, Star was sound again. I mean sound at a walk, trot, and run. She stumbles occasionally on the stones, but hey, I haven't even worked on toughening her up yet. She has been on soft ground for almost the whole time. By January, approximately 5 months since starting this trim, Star has grown a whole new hoof. There are no signs of any founder. Her hooves look perfect. They are better looking than my other two horses, who I also trim. I am very committed to this trim. It has saved my horse. I would like to personally thank Dr. Strasser for her research, Gretchen for your wonderful web site, Nancy for your trimming advice, help and friendship, and Martha for her clinics.


Name: Suzette Dybiec
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Contact Info: 614-481-5498 suzette@humanfactor.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 13 yo, QH, Toe Crack, High Heels, Overgrown Sole and Bars
Trim for others?: No, but could get them experienced help
Date: 3/29/02

Comments

I first read Dr. Strasser's book "Lifetime of Soundness" and Jaime Jackson's "Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care" in June 1999 (through internet research). My horse came with shoes (purchased January 1999) and I suspected they could be related to her head bob, toe crack, and lack of energy when riding. Arranged a phone consult with Jaime (June 2000) and pulled the shoes. At the time I boarded at a facility where full turnout was not an option and she was forced to stall 16 hours per day. For the first couple weeks, she could barely walk at times after stalling. I did not comprehend at the time how critical full turnout is when pulling shoes and I'm fortunate she never foundered. She continued to have the head bob, toe crack, and lack of energy and I submitted pictures of her feet to Gretchen late March 2001. She referred me to someone who could help me. She had high heels, and overgrown sole and bars. She was also clubby in the RF where the toe crack was. I committed to having her trimmed (by a CHCS student) every three weeks (and I learned how to basically "emory board" in between), moved her to full turnout, daily soaking, and riding as much as possible. Immediately after the first trim (April 1, 2001) she no longer had the bead bob and the toe crack has nearly gone away over the past year. She takes longer strides and has more energy. I trot her along the road in stones and she travels sound. We walk on the road to toughen her feet and she travels sound. She has developed a beautiful canter and travels with her ears forward and happy, where she used to pin her ears and act miserable. I am proud to truly have the best interest of my horse in mind and to have learned so much more about the hoof and trimming. And, due to the exhaustive efforts of Gretchen Fathauer and others, I have also found an information sharing group who are passionate about equine nutrition, saddle fitting, veterinary issues, and just about anything else that affects the well-being of horses. I will be attending Dr. Strasser's clinic in a few weeks and look forward to personally thanking her for her endless efforts in these last 20 years.


Name: Joanne Zabawa
Location: Omaha, Nebraska  USA
Contact Info: TJZRanch@aol.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 13 yr Quarter horse gelding - ouchy on rocks
Trim for others?: no
Date: 07 Apr 2002

Comments

After 3 years of barefoot riding - without a problem - we moved to a new location and started riding on gravel roads. My Quarter horse, Black, got ouchy on the rocks and I had him shod. I never believed shoes were good for a horse, but did not want to see him in pain. My farrier told me the only way Black could be ridden on the gravel roads was in shoes.

After attending a clinic with Martha Olivo - she trimmed Black in a natural style and connected me with Dr Strasser's books. I have continued to read and learn - following many barefoot advocates - about the Strasser style of trimming. I have followed the guidelines to natural horse keeping - out 24/7 - daily exposure to water - work on hard surfaces and varied terrain etc. After 1 year Black is not only walking on gravel without a problem, but he willingly trots, canters and gallops on the gravel roads when we ride -- he is very happy and healthy! I now maintain all 5 of my horses barefoot in with the Strasser guidelines for trimming and horse keeping. Thanks Dr. Strasser!


Name: Josh Wetzler
Contact Info: staceyandjojo@hotmail.com/ 336-492-7978
Age, Breed, Problems: multiple
Trim for others?: Yes.   I am a professional farrier.
Date: 23 Apr 2002

Comments

Please see Debi Stocker's above post for success stories.

Professional Farrier. I am well versed in the natural barefoot trim and living conditions. I have attended a Strasser Clinic, and will continue to further my education. I take extra time to explain to my clients exactly how and what I am doing. I welcome questions. I have a number of clients happy to give a recommendation.


Name: Kim and John
Location: North Liberty , Indiana
Contact Info: kijopainthorse@datacruz.com/574-287-6506
Age, Breed, Problems: approx. 11, Paint , founder due to allergic reaction to medication
Trim for others?: ??
Date: 14 May 2002

Comments

Hi, I just wanted to share a similar story that seems to be sort of common. I am not sure how this compares to the following methods, but it seems similar to what we have done. I have a paint mare that was in foal with her first baby several years ago. She was around four at the time, maybe five. She came home from the trainers/breeders and was shortly thereafter diagnosed with strangles. We doubted the vets opinion, as we thought it was a sliver from a wood board that the mare liked to hang her head over. So the vet wanted to treat her with antibiotics no matter what the cause was. We went with the vet's view (they know more than us, right!) She was on the medication for two days and one morning I went to turn the mares out and she did not touch her food. I moved her outside and she continued to talk to me. Finally I figured out that she could not bend her neck to eat due to the shots she was getting. The vet came out and said she was having a reaction to the medication and checked her feet. Said she was ok and changed the medication. Two more days went by, and by this time the mare could not walk. I was in tears.... The vet was back out. Checked her feet again and guess what she was foundering. I cried and cried. She was maybe three months in foal. The vet did a blood test on her, and sure enough, she was at toxic levels for the antibiotic--she never did have strangles. The vet then pulled her shoes off (which was a joke, I normally do not shoe unless they are getting used a lot, and she was. (We tend to believe that a horse is better in the natural state.) Our farrier puts shoes on to stay on and it took the vet over an hour to take two shoes off.) The vet set us up for the upcoming vet calls, telling us what to expect. The puss pockets and fever in the foot. The mare could not walk. We had been told to put shoes on her, to sell her, that she would never be good again. After the vet had charged us a ton of money and not really seeing any improvement, we decided to take her to our old-time farrier. It was so gross, he dug her foot out until he got to the infection in both feet, dumped some formaldehyde on her feet to stop the infection, trimmed the toes off of her front feet (our farrier already kept her lower than most on the heels) and sent her on her way. To our amazement she walked off the trailer, the best that she had walked in weeks. We then started a weekly trimming session on the mare. Or whenever we noticed that she was getting a little ouchy in her walk. My husband went out and bought a rasp and a pair of clippers, and kept the mare's toes chopped off so that she would roll over easier. This was the best money ever spent on her. The farrier would then do his main trim job about once a month. Her nails seemed to grow much quicker than anyone else's, and still do . The farrier continued to have to clean the sole of her foot out as it would grow really quickly. He had a couple of good clean-outs to get all the infection out. After a good year of doing trimming in this method the mare was getting back to "normal" if you call it . We continued to do more trimming on her for the next year or so. Now seven years later the mare gets around well. I have never had her feet x-rayed, but she does well. After all she went through she just hangs around and gives us some nice paint babies. We do ride her occasionally, but not long or hard. We don't want to have anything happen to her, as she does produce a nice quality baby (and spot, too!)  I guess my suggestion is to stay as natural with the animals as possible. Nature is better. Shoes are ok if you have a need for them, but most of the time it is unnecessary. Let the horses have room to move and stretch. I have seen too many horse people try to do what they think is best ....ex. stalling, shoeing, too many supplements--and end up hurting the animal.


Name: Tom Sheridan
Location: Elgin,IL
Contact Info: http://bigtimberranch.homestead.com/welcome.html
Age, Breed, Problems: 19 yr old TN Walker, had first bout at age 5, and many other painful bouts since
Trim for others?: ?
Date: 23 Jun 2002

Comments

Stepper was really having a painful bout with laminitis a few years ago. I had been monitoring him closely for years (due to previous attacks), but somehow he got a bad case. Anyway, somehow I found Gretchen or she found me. She came out several times and taught me a lot and I've had great success, and so has Stepper. I rode him last weekend and we were flying all over those trails, he really felt good. He's 19, had several serious bouts with laminitis starting at age 5, but the trim works. I still monitor his pasture and feed intake. He is muzzled on pasture most of the day, but gets 2 to 3 hours of free time without the muzzle every day. At night he is kept off the pasture and fed grass hay. He gets carrots and apples and a handful of pellets and blackoil sunflower seeds twice a day. In the morning I make sure he gets a flake of hay in his stomach before muzzling him. I highly recommend Best Friend Equine Muzzle, but I add a couple of small holes to allow for better grazing. Otherwise, he got frustrated and just quit trying to graze and stood in the leanto all day--not good, you want movement and exercise. The extra holes provide him just enough to keep him interested and trying. I am really thankful to Gretchen for all her efforts in helping fight laminitis, a horse's worst enemy. Tom Sheridan

Gretchen Fathauer's comments--

When I first saw Tom and Stepper, Stepper was very sore, contracted and rotated.  He was oozing abscesses everywhere; you could smell him 15' away.  When I got home, I had to disinfect my tools, my clothes--everything.  Even the bottoms of my shoes picked up the scent just walking on ground he had stepped on.  He improved soon after the first trim.  I went back one more time.  Tom had me look at the other horses.  One, a colt, was much worse than the others.  I asked why.  Tom said the farrier was still doing the colt, but that he (Tom) was doing the others.  I said, fire this guy, you are doing better!  Tom really picked up on what I was showing him very fast.  The next time I called, wondering why I had not heard from him in a while, his wife said he was out on trail on Stepper, and that Stepper was fully back in action again.  Tom picked up on what I was showing him about the trim and really followed through; he was rewarded with a quick recovery.  The muzzle he mentions is something I told him about.  For more muzzle info, Click HERE

June 18, 2003 update on the naturalhorsetrim list:

I have been using the Strasser method for some time now. Gretchen came out to my place and showed me what to do. I have a 20 year old walking horse that had his first bout with laminitis 16 years ago and several serious bouts after that. Through the years I have found the key is not only the trim, but my constant management of what he eats. I live in Illinois, so winter is easy, but the spring and summer is a problem. He is on a dry lot from 7 pm till noon the next day. While in, he is given all the grass hay he wants, at noon he goes out with the others with a grazing muzzle that has been modified to allow him to get something to eat. At 5 pm the mask comes off for 2 hours and he gets to graze normally. He gets magnesium blocks in his pen to supplement his diet and he does get treats apples, carrots and sunflower seeds for his coat.

I rode him yesterday and he was ready to go and in the best shape of his life. We even walked a 1/2 mile down a stream full of rocks and who knows what, with no problem. He used to have trouble going downhill and I would traverse back and forth to help him get down--now he flies down the hills. I use the natural trim on my others and have never had any problems, only sound horses.

Tom
http://bigtimberranch.homestead.com/index.html
 


Name: Maureen Gall
Location: Nellysford, Virginia (close to Charlottesville, VA)
Contact Info: waratah@aol.com (434 361 1406)
Age, Breed, Problems: 21 y/o App. foundered '97, flat footed, ouchy on gravel, on/off lameness.  17 y/o QH, no hoof or lameness problems at all.
Trim for others?: not qualified - but can refer to others in this area
Date: 29 Jun 2002

Comments

Six months ago, after finding the Strasser site and other barefoot sites, I located a nearby farrier who was doing the Strasser trim. Pulled my horses' shoes and have 6 months of gradual improvement in the App. Though the QH had never had a problem, I opted this trim for her as well and she is doing fine, also.

My dilemma is that I have relocated both horses to a farm/barn in Barnesville, Maryland (near Germantown and Sugar Loaf Mountain, SW MD). Health problems of my own influenced the decision to put these mares into semi-retirement with a NARHA certified therapeutic riding program. The barn is owned by an old friend and while comfortable with the care they will receive, both she and I have some concerns about the barn's current "traditional farrier" being willing/able to do this trim. With 6 months invested, I feel I owe it to my girls to keep them on it.

IF ANYONE OUT THERE READING THIS IS AWARE OF ANYONE WHO MAY BE PERFORMING THIS TRIM IN THE BARNESVILLE, MD. AREA, I WOULD BE MOST GRATEFUL TO HEAR FROM YOU.

Thank you. Maureen Gall


Name: Sonja Appelt
Location: Villach/Austria
Contact Info: 0043 676 350 49 15
Age, Breed, Problems: 4 y QH gelding, navicular\
Trim for others?: no, but will provide information
Date: 19 Aug 2002

Comments

When I saw & bought him last year, I didn't know much about horses. After the examination by the vet, he came up slightly lame (his shoes were taken off for that). Vet said it is navicular, I bought him cheaper. Heels were under-run, hoof walls thin & unstable, feet cold while still shod. With the help of a Strasser trimmer and frequent trimming myself, the heels are upright now. The hoof is currently too short, though, so he's very ouchy on gravel--will start to ride with hoof boots this week. I feel guilty for not giving him enough movement which would speed up his recovery, for sure. I learned trimming on a 3 day seminar. The Strasser trim works, and I've learned much in this short time!


Name: M Oswald
Location: Far  North Queensland OZ
Contact Info: Meadybites@hotmail.com
Age, Breed, Problems: QH X
Trim for others?:
Date:
04 Sep 2002

Comments

Although I have never had a horse suffer from laminitis I am still a big believer in the bare-hoofed horse. I have a 22 year old QH x mare who has never been shod nor has she ever been lame. I have just started her daughter and I have no plans shoe her even though we work on a large variety of soil types. I think is some cases the no--shoe method can prevent as many problems as it can fix.


Name: Joanne Husted
Location: Shingle Springs, CA
Contact Info: 530-306-3109
Age, Breed, Problems: 15 yr old paint mare
Trim for others?: probably
Date: 15 Oct 2002

Comments

Dancer, my paint, was my first horse purchase. I didn?t have a vet check, and didn?t think I needed one since I trusted the Ranch owner. Dancer did fine on the trail and I watched others ride her while she did sliding stops, spins, etc., with no troubles. She would trip every once in a while, but I see that a lot with horses, and wasn?t concerned. I asked the ranch owner about her hooves with the rings on them, and why was her toe filed back--her reply was, "that is just how she is made." 2 months later I had her re-shod. A few days later Dancer didn?t want to do anything, and shortly after that she threw her right front shoe and went lame. I took her to the vet, who knew right away that she was a founder case. X-rays showed severe rotation, with remodeling of coffin bone tip (long-term foundered horse), very near sole penetration. The vet told me that I should seriously consider putting her down. I agreed with her, and took Dancer home, thinking I would have it done very soon. The next day I found this web site, made a couple calls, had someone come out to give Dancer her first Strasser trim. It was amazing all the bruised sole that she took off. I went to a Martha Olivo clinic so I could learn to do it myself. I do the trimming myself now. It has been terrible watching Dancer go through all the painful abscesses, and in the beginning she would do a lot of laying down, and I would have to use the whip to get her on her feet. After each abscess she would have a period of relief and actually walk without me encouraging her. One morning in early September she was trotting and bucking with the other horses-- granted, they were little bucks, but she definitely felt better. April of 2002 was her first trim--I took her in for more x-rays on 10/11/02 (6 months later). The vet (a different vet than I originally used) was surprised that she could walk after he viewed the initial x-rays. He also agreed that his advice to me initially would be to put Dancer down, based on the initial x-rays. He couldn?t believe that she could walk on the asphalt without a limp. The current x-rays show a lot of improvement, and that her coffin bone is in the right position now, as well as the re-growth at the tip of the coffin bone seems to be normalizing a bit. She has a long way to go, but this is a huge improvement. She is limping again today and must have another abscess on the way, so this is just a small success story so far.


Name: John Ripley
Location: England Kent . UK
Contact Info: jj-commercials@zoom.co.uk
Age, Breed, Problems: 4yrs  standardbred slightly lame in front
Trim for others?: yes
Date: 30 Dec 2002

Comments

DEAR Sir/Madam--my name is John Ripley from England. I have a 4 yr. old standard bred trotter. He is slightly sore in front. I have been told it is due to not being correctly balanced in front. Could you advise me on how to shoe him so that his pedal bone and his navicular is level to the ground? I have seen several diagrams on this subject--toe too high or heel too high, but no one tells you how to acheive the correct level.

Yours, J. Ripley

Gretchen Fathauer's reply:  The acid test is a set of x-rays, of course--both one taken from the side, and another from the front.  Without x-rays, trim for the hairline, when viewed from the side, to be sloping down towards the back at a 30 degree angle to the ground.  Chances are you will have to back up the breakover as well.  The hairline, when viewed from the front, should be parallel to the ground.  If the hairlines adhere to these standards, you should be in the ballpark of having the bottom of the coffin bone ground-parallel.  Also, my site does not advocate shoeing, so you're on your own on that one!
 


Name: Paula Stich
Location: Tallahassee Fl
Contact Info:
Age, Breed, Problems:
11 y.o. Thoroughbred thin-walled, shelly, under-run heels--you name it...
Trim for others?: I'll help other people do it themselves
Date: 28 Jan 2003

Comments

Cosmo is a 15.3, incredibly athletic Thoroughbred gelding that has done eventing, dressage and now endurance. I always kept shoes on him, as his feet were flat, and his hoof walls were thin. I didn't know about the barefoot trim until his feet just broke down completely and I found this site and began to read and learn. I bought the Strasser book, LOS, and thought I have nothing to lose. Well, we are almost 2 years into barefoot with a "hopeless case," and low and behold, we finished one 50 mile endurance ride and 2 weeks later 2 50's back-to-back, all barefoot, and not even boots. Granted, it IS Florida and it was fairly sandy and limerock roads, but he did great--top-tenned one of the the 2 days he did. I have learned a lot, mainly don't ignore that little voice in your head. At the risk of offending others, listen to your horse and he/she will tell you...Thank you for this site and all the knowledge I have gained.


Name: Cheryl Henderson
Location: Jacksonville, Oregon
Contact Info: hndrsn@cdsnet.net
Age, Breed, Problems: 6yrs, qtr, navicular right fore
Trim for others?: still in the learning process
Date: 08 Mar 2003

Comments

Friend gave me her navicular horse, who had been treated by vets, corrective shoers, had blocks and the usual program given for conditions like this. On Feb 5, 2003 I got him after his egg bar & pad and other shoes were removed...hoof wall was torn carelessly when removing the shoes.

   

Anyway, he was so out of balance and all contracted. The right navicular hoof was round with a bulge in the front of the wall. Right fore heels were not overly long. The left front hoof was grossly out of balance with both heels being excessively long, and the outside 3/4" longer than the inside. The right hind had a bulge pushing out the front of the hoof wall and was round in shape. The left hind was so steep and round with a deep groove in the side wall by the coronet area. Both hind heels were not too long.

This is what his movement was like: He walked with a thud to the right fore, and a swing paddle limp on the left. His head and neck bounced deep with each movement. Going into a turn was awkward and sore. He was braced going down the paved driveway...and really had discomfort on the steeper part of the paved driveway. I began to trim with what I learned from Martha Olivo and her assistants Carol and Karen last November '02. I balanced the sides, opened the heels and lowered gradually every two days the first week. I stroked and massaged his legs and tendons each day. I also had him stand in the stream for 15 minutes each day.

On the eighth day he had already gained measurable frog and bulb size. His hair line looked good, but his heels were still a bit high and his sole was too flat. He still moved about the same in rhythm, but easier. Then I took him to the Ashland trimfest and Karen, who is one of my mentors, gave him a professional trim. More concavity, as I did not realize the pink I was seeing was old bruises. I would stop and think I was getting to close to sensitive material. This professional trim really boosted Sterling physically and emotionally.

On the 25th day his soles, frog and bulb looked fantastic. His round rear feet now have an oval shape. He has deep depression grooves on two of his feet. Older bruises are still surfacing. The new horn is full and gives the image of what his angle and growth will be in the months ahead. These are the 1st month results--I take him for walks around the forest and on the paved 1/2 mile driveway. He did a perfect haunch turn, out-walked me, trotted when I let him go free to the lawn, and cow-kicked at another horse at a feeding site. Except for his showing a difficult stance, some limp and one stumble in the beginning of going down the steeper part of the driveway. You would not think he had any issues by his movement. I bought him some Old Macs and plan to get him on some longer walks. To encourage daily movement he is in with my other 9 horses on 15 acres of forest with a stream, rocks, granite, mud, packed dirt. I hide their feed in flakes throughout the area, making them all have to walk around to locate where it might be. All of this gain in such a short time! Makes me realize the benefits of a barefoot trim and movement are an amazing remedy. I am so happy for him.


Name: Lori Savage
Location: Floresville (South of San Antonio), Texas
Contact Info: 830-216-7793 or email las_whinny@yahoo.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 18 year old foundered (penetrated both fronts) Arabian stallion
Trim for others?: No, but willing to take rehab cases here and CSHS available (comes every 3 weeks) for trimming.
Date: 17 Mar 2003

Comments

Winsome Star foundered in July/August of 2000, after being "shot up" at a show by 2 strangers. Vet speculated on any number of tranquilizers, and I myself suspect corticosteriods because of the rapid and severe laminitis that resulted. "Winnie" rotated 15 degrees in both fronts, and was also a "sinker," where the coffin bone actually sinks downward in the hoof capsule. All advice at that point was to put him down, in spite of the fact that he came trotting off the trailer at the vet hospital to be x-rayed. We called in a leading specialist at that point, and worked with him for about 1-1/2 years, using fairly conventional methods, though he did try to lower heels, etc., when he thought the horse was beginning to recover. The specialist pretty much gave up when Winnie did not respond, and we called in Rachael Coggins, then a CSHS student (after Gretchen recommended her to me) to help. Before Rachael could even make it out to see Winnie, he had sole penetration. All vets but one said to put him down. The one actually saw him, and said "hey, he's still walking and trying, can't hurt to try." Rachael began trimming Winnie and teaching me in December of 2001, and Winnie had progressed greatly since then. He is still recovering, but is now chasing the 3 year old gelding around the pasture, neck wrestling and rearing to box with him, and walking/trotting to pace the fence line when we move his mare (almost ready to foal) up for the night. He is resting his hind feet more (like a normal horse relaxing), and can even buck (uh, oh). I've ridden him a few times, and will do more, I hope, this summer as the days get longer. The lack of riding is not due to any problems of Winnie's, but a lack of time on my part. He is again going through some bad abscessing on his right front (originally clubby anyway from an old trailering accident), but does not seem bothered by it. The addition of LaminaSaver to his feed seems to also be helping, though from what I've seen on their site, they indirectly support the Strasser method, or something similar, to make this product actually work.

       

       

Winnie--shod February 2001, and then sole penetration Dec. 2001

   

January, April 2002

Anyway, Winnie would not even be here today if it weren't for the Strasser method, and Gretchen's site!!! Thank you!!!!!!


Name: Trieneke de Jager
Location: Nederland
Contact Info: tj66@home.nl
Age, Breed, Problems: 10 jaar  3 jaar kreupel
Trim for others?: nee
Date: 25 Jul 2003

Comments

Renate Huttman was de eerste die tegen mij kon zeggen, waarom mijn paard kreupel was. Dat konden de dierenartsen mij niet vertellen. En hij was afgekeurd voor de sport met andere woorden hij mocht naar de slager. Renate heeft hem getrimd en met succes. Na een jaar trimmen heeft mijn paard weer meegedaan aan een endurance wedstrijd een rit van 58 kilometer en met succes met een gemiddelde van 13.75 kilometer per uur.

Trieneke de Jager Groningen Nederland
 


Name: Sue Bates
Location: west TN
Contact Info: bsbates@netease.net
Age, Breed, Problems: 19 yr. old Arabian mare
Trim for others?: maybe after more practice
Date: 08 Aug 2003

Comments

Discovered that our 19 yr. old Arabian broodmare (w/3 mo. old colt at her side) is actually foundered rather than arthritic, as our Amish farrier had indicated. Just a bad call on his part; he's usually VERY good and we trust him implicitly. We only acquired her about 2 1/2 yrs. ago and it appears that this is not her first case of founder. About 8 wks. back I'd had him put shoes on her front, thinking that it might help her 'arthritis' or tenderfoot or whatever. It worked for about 3 wks. and then she began getting worse again. The last 10-14 days she's really been spiraling downward. Finally, a vet call confirmed founder and I discovered the Natural Horse Trim site after doing an online search for a cure. By this time, she was bad enough that she spent much time lying down, with weight loss and obviously in much pain. Hubby & I managed to get the shoes off of her last weekend while she was laying down, and I then began working on trying to regain the ground-parallel coffin bone in her front feet. Bless her, she was MOST co-operative!! I've continued working on her almost daily, just a little at a time since I can only 'do' her when she's down and I'm far from expert. We have already seen improvement!! Her weight is coming back, her eyes look better, the back is more concave instead of arched upward, she spends more time standing and she's moving around a bit more. Unfortunately, while doing her back feet tonight, I discovered a small penetration of the coffin bone in her right rear foot. It's no larger than the tip of my little finger and I'm hopeful that the trimming that I did on her heels tonight will help to give her more relief and begin to affect a cure for the problem. Her toes have never been overly long, so I'm assuming that most of the problem has been the result of whatever initially caused the founder and the high heels. I have already told several people about the site and am so thrilled to see the old gal improving in such a short time! Both my hubby and I were dreading what we were sure was her impending demise; fearing that one morning we would find her dead when we went out to feed. The last couple of mornings she has been back to her former self of calling for breakfast and standing there waiting for it to be served! Same at nighttime! Bless her heart! Today was her most mobile and upright in days and days. I think there may be light at the end of the tunnel..... :-) Thank you for your website, Gretchen!!!


Name: Trieneke de Jager
Location: The Netherlands (Groningen)
Contact Info: tj66@home.nl
Age, Breed, Problems: 11 years warmblood (17h) foundered for 3 years
Trim for others?: no
Date: 29 Sep 2003

Comments

My horse Harry was foundered for 3 years, and the vet never found a solution for the problem. So the vet wanted to put him down. I couldn't accept it. So I found a Strasser trimmer from Germany. After 1 trim Harry moved a lot better. After several trims my trimmer taught me how to trim Harry by myself. After a year of trimming, Harry came back into the endurance sport. I want to thank Renate Huttman for trimming Harry. And Dr. Strasser, because her method saves horses.


 

Here is a photo of me and Harry after a 30 mile ride, from Groningen to Hooghalen, to visit my family.


Name: Barbara Blount-Powell
Location: Gainesville, fl.
Contact Info: barbara@reasonabledoubt.org
Age, Breed, Problems: 20, TrakX, navicular/ringbone
Trim for others?: no
Date: 02 Oct 2003

Comments

This is a success story, but a bittersweet ending. I have been working on my horse for over two years after attending my first (of two) clinics with Dr. Strasser here in Florida. When Dr. Strasser saw my horse Segen, "Strudel," at the first clinic in Ocala, she predicted 2-3 years of rehab for his severe ringbone and navicular. Since the beginning of this year I have been lucky enough to have the hands-on work of Anne Daimler, a certified trimmer; she came once a month to improve the work and keep the progress going. She brought more aggressive technique, and a consistent approach that I had not developed. Over his rehab time Strudel had steadily improved his stance and form ("goat on a pinnacle" to perfectly square, upright pasterns to a lovely normal curve), but he continued to show a hitch at the trot. One day in July I suddenly noticed he was trotting nearly perfectly. By August he WAS perfect and Anne was saying - "Why isn't he back in work!" Such joy. Unfortunately, he also began to inexplicably lose weight towards the end of summer and show a general lack of condition. After a peculiar colic and some suspicious blood work, an ultrasound and other tests at the vet school on Sept. 10 confirmed the worse. He had a large neoplastic tumor in his abdomen. My best friend, counselor and therapist of 15 years was gently released as the prognosis was terminal with much potential suffering. I grieve for his loss, but I am so thankful for all I learned from his journey. Dr. Strasser was right on in all she described and predicted. I was able to look back over his history of shoeing, lameness, conventional treatment/shoeing, and finally, corrective natural trimming and lifestyle changes and see an unbroken cause and effect relationship matching perfectly with her theories. I hope to prevent future problems with my young horses and hopefully pass on to others what I have learned. Here's to you Strudel, my friend! Out of your suffering, may others benefit.


Name: Jacqui Johnson
Location: Tenerife, Canary Islands
Contact Info: jacqui.johnson@travelshoptenerife.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 13 /navicular
Trim for others?: no, but happy to refer to my farrier
Date: 21 Oct 2003

Comments

My 13 year old gelding started having problems in March 2002.The vet wrongly diagnosed tendon problems, and after 1 year of unnecessary treatment and bouts of lameness with months of stall rest, said that there was no solution and that I should think about retiring him. My horse means too much to me to give up without a fight, so I moved him to a stable where he could be loose 24 hours, and called in another vet to check him out. In 15 minutes the vet diagnosed navicular syndrome, which I suspect was his problem from the beginning. Terribly upset with this news I decided to try and find somewhere for an an early retirement, but at the same time began searching on the web for information on navicular to increase my then very superficial knowledge. The sun came out, I found information on the Strasser trim and not only that, this marvelous lady actually answered my email. In July 2003 my horse's shoes were pulled and he was given his first trim, 4 days later he was walking almost soundly and now 3 months later I am trotting and cantering him. I have had the most invaluable help from my stable owner/farrier who has trimmed every 10 days and given my horse his new lease on life. I would never have believed it possible, and just hope that more professionals will bow their heads and just give it a try - it really works. I will never be able to say thank you enough to Doctor Strasser who has researched this method and Mr. Gomez who has helped me put into practice.


Name: Sandy Judy
Location: Gibsonville, NC
Contact Info: 336 698-0784
Age, Breed, Problems: 6 year old Oldenburg w/contraction, shod w/heel pads, over-at-the knee
Trim for others?: yes maybe depends
Date: 24 Oct 2003

Comments

In fox hunt school, a woman came from the local pony club with her daughter and horses to be the fox and hounds. We chased them. I was impressed with her gelding until I looked down and saw him standing buck kneed, and asked her if I could look at her horse's feet. She said yes, and was very open to discussing his problems and telling me about him. He is a 6 year old Oldenburg, and she has had him most of his life. I talked to her about barefoot, showed her my nice Holsteiner, whose feet have almost fully de-contracted after I went to a Nancy Filbert workshop earlier in the year. Lynn was very interested, and immediately asked me if I could come trim her horse. I have never trimmed anyone else's horse before, but I said maybe I could at least educate her and get her started. I told her to get a farrier to come out and pull the shoes and call me. I didn't really think I would hear from her so soon, but this was on Sat. when I met her, and she called on Monday to say she had the shoes off and would I come out on Tues.? Lynn was very interested in everything I knew to tell her about the Strasser method. I brought a dissection and a half trimmed foot so she could visualize the problem. I talked to her for at least an hour before I touched her horse's feet. Then we went about documenting his problems, which we wrote down in a little folder I had prepared for her of material that would help educate her after I was gone. She had already ordered Strasser's books, video and the beginner's trim kit offered on The Horse's Hoof and soaking boots. So when we looked at the horse's feet, they were contracted beyond the vertical on one side of each front. He had curved upwards hairlines that were not even close to 30 degrees. He was actually less buck kneed since the shoe removal. Lynn even said that she remembered that his feet used to be bigger! Most people don't remember. We took pictures of before and after the first trim. I cleaned out around the dirt line and found mountains of pooled bar. I took his heels down, did opening cuts and quarter scoops. I did everything I knew to do and it took me all afternoon. I came back a week later, and she had her trimming supplies, so I showed her how to do some of the trimming, and told her to ride him on pavement and soak him daily, and to call me with any questions or if anything came up. So far so good. She is an optimistic, open-to-learning person, and I think she will get along great with this. I just returned from another Nancy Filbert workshop and need to employ what I learned with her horse.


Name: Wendi Cope
Location: Scappoose, Oregon
Contact Info: hopecreekconnemara@msn.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 5 year, Connemara/POA mare, foundered all 4 w/sole penetration
Trim for others?: yes
Date: 28 Oct 2003

Comments

Willow foundered on May 15, 2003. She was standing all alone, away from the rest of the herd in her 40 acre field when I checked them and went to see what was wrong. She was severely colicking, and did not want to move. It took me over 2 hrs. to move her to the barn. The only vet available came out and treated her for colic, but did nothing for the laminitis. Monday at noon our regular vet came out and gave the diagnosis of founder, and gave me a bunch of drugs to give her, along with recommendations to keep her deeply bedded in a stall & wrap the feet with bandages and duct tape. She was supposed to "recover in 3 months," but instead got more and more sore, and lost weight, and stood there with her rump pressed against the wall trying to hold herself up. She gradually stopped eating and drinking, and was in a pathetic state by the time the drugs were almost gone, and then the worst thing was we noticed that after her trim by our regular farrier, there was a paper-thin layer of dead sole between the ground and the coffin bones on all 4 feet. One hind, the worst one, had a crack around much of it where it looked like the hoof was trying to fall off. It took about a week for the paper thin sole to wear off the bones, which then even stuck out. I was ready to end her suffering, it wasn't fair to her, but between several events centering around this more natural type of trim and finding your invaluable website, where my skepticism stopped, Willow had a way to possibly survive this horrible comedy of errors. I found thru the United Horsemanship site some Hoof Grooms that were near us and called them all. Two ladies answered and in a few days, wonderful Terry Barrall came out and did the first trim on Willow. She observed the growth that Willow did have (about 1/4th inch in 3 months) was crumbly and soft and abnormal in angle. She told me that Willow had to move to heal, so with the help of some wonderful friends, made a walking track with mats, carpet and carpet padding so she could slowly do her laps every day. She started soaking daily in apple cider vinegar and we put some tea tree oil on the rotted area also. I devised some "sandals" for her out of knee pads from the local store which helped to keep her feet cleaner and promote air into the area. She had been consistently chewing off the other wraps for the last few months during the vet's treatment, but seemed to like the sandals and the diaper that we put on under it. She did her best to hobble along and we did have to show her the whip on occasion because she just didn't think she could walk, her feet hurt so much. Terry came back weekly for the next few weeks and another wonderful and ever so helpful lady, Diana Jones, came out too. On the 4th week I took over the trimming duties with Terry helping me. Willow has slowly improved the whole time, her appetite has returned and she started drinking a LOT! The walking improved slowly, and her hoof growth has accelerated and looks more normal in both angle and consistency. During her recovery process, there have been many times that she is very sore with horrible abscesses that have come out, but it is all part of the healing process. I have learned how important it is that she gets all the things she needs for recovery - MOVEMENT, a consistently proper trim (weekly at LEAST), nutrition, soaking, companionship,& pain relief. She gets HT20 supplement that has amino acids and a beneficial bacteria complex, as well as vitamins for hoof growth, BL Solution, limited amounts of bute that we are decreasing, Willard Water, timothy grass hay and pasture and no alfalfa. We found some soft rubber hoof boots on eBay from Marehaven Ranch that helped tremendously (we modified them somewhat), but I think the most single important thing is the way she is trimmed! And trimmed often. Make that 2 things, because the MOVEMENT that causes the blood to circulate through the foot is absolutely essential. Within one week the amount of growth is incredible! I see why the trim must be kept up! She has grown 1 1/4" in about 10 weeks and the growth is normal looking! She has been walking well for the past few days without any boots or wraps and the coffin bones have been completely covered for about 3 or 4 weeks. It looks like she will make a complete recovery and be able to enjoy the rest of her life! A HUGE thank you to everyone that has helped in Willow's recovery!!!


Name: Howard Henneman
Location: Deer Park, TX
Contact Info: hhenneman1@msn.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 12 years, Quarter Horse, Severe Founder
Trim for others?: Yes
Date: 31 Oct 2003

Comments

Martha--

I wanted to write you and thank you for the knowledge I received at your clinic in Houston. TX. I bought a 12 year old mare that was seriously foundered and very thin. As I brought her home I went straight to my vet to get her checked over. He x-rayed her front feet and you could see the serious rotation of the coffin bone, and the left had protruded through the sole. She had severe infection in the bones of her feet. He thought she should be put down, but I wanted to try to save her.

It was really hard to tell if she was a good horse or not--she was so thin that she was literally hide hanging on a skeleton. She has a Quarter Horse tattoo, so I knew she was a registered horse and a race horse. I want to trace her through her tattoo and hopefully get her registration papers transferred.

Any way, the place I had her for the first few months was right along a highway, and she was in sight of everyone going by. I got several notes on the gate about my cruelty to animals, the sheriff deputy came to see me and the Humane Society sent an agent to check me out because the mare looked so bad and was so lame. Everyone checked me out and left satisfied that I was rescuing her, not neglecting her.

I had been studying the treating founder without shoeing website and even though I used to shoe horses several years ago, this was a bit out of my league. Your January clinic here in Houston caught my eye and I attended. The knowledge I gained that day was tremendous. The day after the clinic, I began her trimming. It was all from the heel for several weeks, because there essentially was no sole in the toe area. I took off toe wall back to the white line, and her feet were still elongated with very long toes. Star, as we call her, was too sore to stand much, so she would be laying down most of the time. I would get her up and make her walk some. I had her on a good feed program and she began gaining weight. She started to look like she might survive. I kept trimming her every weekend, still from the heel only, and I kept taking the front of the toe back a little each time. A couple of times she sort of went backwards for a short time--the first time was when she shed the entire sole of her left front. I was a bit unsure at that point, but I stayed with what I had been doing and she continued to improve. Then she developed a bad abscess in the coronary band, and again she seemed to loose ground.

She gained a lot of weight over the first three months and she even became butter ball fat. I was a bit concerned that she might be carrying too much weight and would be harder on her feet.

The joy I felt the first time I saw her trotting around the pasture, and the first time she ran and bucked just because she felt good is something I would have trouble relating, but I think you might know what I mean. It has taken several months, but her hooves are no longer elongated and she has good healthy sole on all four feet. She travels pain free and we have been riding her quite a bit. She is a great mare and a real joy to ride. My son rode her today, and when he came back he related how he had let her run full out back in the pasture and she was tremendous.

Anyway, I'm just rambling. I just wanted to say thanks. I have often wished I had taken photos of her original condition and the progress through her recovery, but I just kept trimming the way you showed me and she is near 100% today.


Name: Tom Baker
Location: Spencer , Ohio
Contact Info: peniel@bright.net
Age, Breed, Problems: laminitis and crooked hooves
Trim for others?: yes
Date: 29 Nov 2003

Comments

I got interested in trimming after my wife and I rescued a Tennessee walker with terrible hooves. I do not even have enough knowledge to describe what we saw in the hooves. One of the front hooves was about six inches long and kind of turned outward to the outside; the other front was so short it looked like it broke off, or someone tried to cut it off. The rear two hooves were not too terribly bad, but needed attention. The horse had laminitis and looked like it hadn't eaten for months. I had a farrier come out to look at this horse, but he seemed uninterested. He did an initial trim and basically said it was really a waste of time. So I started researching on the internet and came across the Strasser trim. I went down to the farm hardware and purchased my own hoof knife, rasp and nippers. The nippers didn't get used the first year. I was too scared! So I started paring and rasping every day at first for about three months. Not knowing much, I just tried to shape the hooves to what I thought was normal at first. Then I started to get into the natural trim. The horse was stiff and limping when we first got him, and wouldn't even trot. A note, "be careful, I did quick this horse--boy, did that teach me a lesson!" But after a \while I really couldn't believe what I was seeing; the hooves started to look so beautiful, and he would trot, canter and gallop through the pastures like a 3 year old. He now has a new home, and I wish I had pictures--he is absolutely gorgeous! I feel really good saving this horse's life. Since then I have taken on 2 more horses with laminitis. 1 is doing great, and one I am currently working on has laminitis in three of her four hooves. Still worried about her, but things seem to be improving. Just thought I would share my story with everyone! Thanks, Tom


Name: Sandy Judy
Location: Gibsonville, NC
Contact Info: shjudy23@aol.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 9 year old Hanoverian mare
Trim for others?: no
Date: 23 Dec 2003

Comments

Attached are two photos side by side of my mare, Dewees' left front foot. I regularly fox hunt and trail ride her. She is 9 years old and I bred her and raised her along with 2 younger siblings. I took the most recent photo in Dec. of 2003. The other one was taken 6 months ago on June 20th.

I've been trimming my horses with the Strasser method since June of this year. They were all barefooted approx. 2 years ago, but I had someone doing a Jaime Jackson type trim and I wasn't getting any progress on de-contraction, and they were starting to wear out their toes.

I think these photos speak volumes about the amount of de-contraction even a novice trimmer like myself can get in a short amount of time. Anne "Tree" Coley trimmed for me at least twice; once shortly after the 6/20 photo and once more about 8 weeks ago. I have done most of the trimming and all of the rehab in between. (The recent photo shows notches I cut for extra traction on slippery ground;. I had also cut an edge on the heel/bar triangle for extra stopping grip, but you can't really see that on this photo. She didn't slip much at all the last time I hunted.)

Her frog is obviously much healthier now that she is getting blood flow to it. It had been fungus-ridden and ragged. Both her front feet are much rounder, like they're supposed to be, and the central sulcus is completely open now. Her hoof wall doesn't show hardly any signs of wear, even after a hard hunt like we had during hunt week, where we went up and down a gravel road and negotiated trails and creeks with lots of rocks.

You can plainly see how pinched the foot was in the earlier photo.

Needless to say, I'm very happy. It's a whole different feeling riding a horse that can actually feel the ground beneath it! Even at a full gallop she takes care where she places her feet, and I feel confident that she can carry me anywhere the shod horses can go.

I think I can get a little more de-contraction, but I feel I have made a lot of progress, and it can me clearly seen in these photos.


Name: Adrianne Smyth
Location: Hertfordshire, UK
Contact Info: adrianne@toddsend.freeserve.co.uk
Age, Breed, Problems: TB. horse, attacks of  laminitis since 4 yrs
Trim for others?:
Date:
03 Jan 2004

Comments

I wrote to your site to say how my poor horse was actually waddling about with his chums in the field after six weeks of trimming and 24/7 turn out; this, after being condemned to death because his pedal bone had gone through the sole. Thanks to our wonderful trimmer, Kathy Clark, masses of mouse mats, and plenty of walking for the last six months, on Christmas Day I had a wonderful ride on him, culminating in a gallop up our long field - sound as a bell!! So if I can do it, so can everyone. My horse is now as happy as can be, and sounder than at any time since he was four and we (misguidedly) put shoes on him. Thank you, Dr Strasser and Kathy.


Name: Kelly Swanson
Location: Michigan
Contact Info: klynn051@msn.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 7 year old AQHA diagnosed with navicular
Trim for others?: learning to currently
Date: 13 Feb 2004

Comments

This past summer I was offered a beautiful jet black AQHA gelding for free. The horse had recently been purchased for a hefty sum of money for their daughter as a hunter/jumper prospect. A short time into the serious training, the horse became lame. After a series of vet treatments, bute, several different kinds of shoes, and even referrals from Dr. Rick Redden in Kentucky, the horse was diagnosed with Navicular. I had owned horses when I was younger, but everything I knew was outdated. I contacted his vet, who told me that on a scale of 1-10, the horse was an 8 or 9 in seriousness and pain. Stable personnel told me he laid down quite a bit, and when I walked him on a lead he'd stumble repeatedly. I began serious research and found the barefoot trim to be very encouraging. I located Ruth Green here in Michigan, who agreed to trim him. I told the current farrier to pull the shoes immediately, and asked that an herbal supplement of Devils Claw, Turmeric, Willow Bark and Ginger be added to his food. The stable people though I was a ignorant city girl with a bucket of herbs who thought she was going to 'save' this horse. I knew I was right, and I wasn't going to let anyone deter me. Ruth took one look at my horse's feet and said "no wonder this horse is lame" meaning the long bars, long toes, and contracted heels. She trimmed him and he was instantly better. I walked him off the trailer at the stable when we returned and the manager said "He's not limping!" I brought him home with a 24 hour turnout, and he runs like the wind for the sheer fun of it. He prances and tosses his head and is exquisite to watch in the pasture. He feels so good, and can be a bit of a snot under saddle sometimes. As Ruth says, "A lame horse is a tame horse." I am currently learning how to trim my own, and tell every horse owner I can my story. Take those shoes off, let the horse be a horse, and don't listen to anyone tell you they need shoes. This works.


Name: Julie Lander
Location: Sidney MT
Contact Info: lander@midrivers.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 8, mini horse, foundered, and had what we call 'rocking chair hooves'
Trim for others?: NO
Date: 29 Mar 2004

Comments

We got Zoe last year. I was told she had foundered before. I have 3 small boys, so we taught her how to pull a cart, and they rode her, but she was best pulling the cart. We got her in May and she was out on pasture, and did great until Dec., our first cold blast. She went lame. The person I got her from trimmed her before we got her, and I had someone who said he was a farrier come out and do her in the Oct. she hadn't grown much. I think the active daily cart rides helped. Anyway, he didn't take much off anywhere. Well, come end of Dec., she went lame for about 2 months coming and going. I tried to get others out, but no one seemed to want to do a mini. So I called up the guy I got her for and told him I really need him to come over and help me trim, and teach me how he does it. I felt so bad--we have a mini donkey who wanted to play, but you could see it in Zoe's eyes that she wanted to, but she couldn't. Her front feet were like rocking chairs; she stood on the back side of the heel. Well, I started looking on the internet about how to trim foundered hooves, and went to the library to find any info. on how best to do it. I found Jamie Jackson's book and I found Dr. Strasser's website, and have not stopped looking at hooves since. So Dan came over and trimmed her. He was not worried about taking the heel off, but the toe. I mentioned it to him, but he was concerned about the toe. That was on a Wed. I went out on Sun. and took off about 1/2" on the heels in the front, and it was like magic--she stood on her hooves. Before, she was still rocking back on them. So I left it until Wed., and did a little more on the heel, and she actually was trotting away from me when I went to get her later that day. On Sat. I again did a little more work on her heels, and she can rare up and kick now--she has always been able to roam around, but she is now feel like doing so. Today which is Mon. Dan stopped back over to see how things were going, and took the rest of the toe in the front off. I didn't mess with the toes a whole lot--not knowing when to stop was my worry. Anyway, I still plan on getting the heels down more. Her hairline slope is about 40 degrees and I am thinking that might be the reason she carries he back leg differently. Almost uncomfortable like. Anyway, THANKS for the great info. She would not be where she is now if I would not have took the heel down, and I still have a ways to go. I look at my mini donkey's feet--he will be a yr. May-- he has nice short heels, real flat frogs, and I am wondering if there is any difference in donkey hooves and horses? I wish I would have took picture, I am not kidding it was like MAGIC!!

Gretchen Fathauer's comments--a 40 degree hairline slope is actually too much.  Or are you talking about the toe angle?  I'm glad to hear she is better.  Re longears feet, there are differences.  The heels can be pretty wide, but the quarters are not much wider than the heels.  Horses have a rounder footprint; mules and donkeys have a more oval footprint.  There is also less of difference between toe angles in the fronts and rears on donkeys and mules than there is on a horse.  Shoot for the 30 degree hairline slope.


Name: Sarah Block
Location: Shelton, CT
Contact Info: 203 924 5644
Age, Breed, Problems: 18, Arabian, no major problems
Trim for others?: yes, currently for free, uncomplicated cases, for experience
Date: 02 Jun 2004

Comments

I stumbled on the barefoot philosophy from searching the internet, and I am hooked. I now know that shoes have caused and are causing problems. I used to wonder what on earth was the matter with all these horses going lame, and thought perhaps it was diet, or some other global cause, but it makes such sense that the culprit is nailing metal onto a living structure!!! I have been trimming my horse from someone showing me in one session, and from all the wonderful sites online, and my horse is doing great. His feet are neat and round and look great. I trim him every two weeks, or just whenever there is something to trim. He did a hunter pace type event, and was so energetic and fun I nearly cried. At that same event, I gazed at feet with a new eye and saw pathological feet everywhere. So true that we have drifted away from normal! Barefoothorse.com is a wonderful site. I have also been riding in the bitless bridle and am looking into a treeless saddle. The less we do to this noble animal, the better, in terms of gadgets. I will trim for experience, uncomplicated cases, until I get some sort of certification.


Name: Dorothy Jackson
Location: Hodgen, OKlahoma
Contact Info:
Age, Breed, Problems:
18, Missouri Fox trotter, Founder and seriously contracted heels
Trim for others?: Yes
Date: 24 Jul 2004

Comments

Got Pam on April 2. Started shoeing her to correct terribly overgrown conditions under shoes, but found I needed to do something else when she was poked with a heel nail. Decided to start the Strasser trim in mid-May. It was an old case of founder, but the contracted heels looked like brick walls back there, they were so hard and so very contracted, with the buttresses turning around and almost completely pinching out the frog. Wish I had pictures, but I need to buy a digital camera. As of this date, July 24, 2004, a little over two months into the trim, I have succeeded in getting the buttresses to at least turn straight instead of poking in and they have opened somewhat, more on one foot than the other. Founder ridge is growing down and new growth is coming in quite tight. Pam is surprisingly nearly due to deliver a foal in August. We are waiting to see what we will get, a registered Missouri Fox trotter filly or a colt. These horses are tough, no doubt!


Name: Gayle Cameron
Location: Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Contact Info: cameron.gayle.g@edumail.vic.gov.au
Age, Breed, Problems: appaloosa, 15HH, 14 yr old-very heavy horse-flat feet
Trim for others?: a bit far for me to travel! If travel costs are paid!!
Date: 30 Dec 2004

Comments

I began trimming my own horse, Banner, in May,2004, after attending a weekend trim clinic. I bought my boy back, lame and all after a 5 year gap of not knowing where he had been sold to! Vets said- "Put him down, or companion only", due to pedal osteitus and sidebone. It wasn't good enough for me- and I'd promised Banner I'd keep him forever- never to be sold again! So, I trained on my dead horse leg- but even the trimmer thought he would be a tough case. Banner abscessed straight away, left front. It has grown down to ground level. (December)In that time he has reverted back to totally sound-beautiful flowing movement-huge suspension in trot(too big to sit on !) We progress together- and we are back into dressage. I wish I could send you a picture of him- he is fantastic! His foot size has downsized laterally by 2 cm and lengthwise- 1 1/2 cm- he is still pretty flat- but its only been 7 months- he is growing out quickly- and lives on rocky hard ground, 24/7


Name: Amanda Gordon-Young\
Location: Geelong Australia
Contact Info: redwalpark@hotmail.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 5 year old Welsh Mountain Pony, constantly foundering in Spring.
Trim for others?: Yes! Let's spread the word!
Date: 30 Dec 2004

Comments

Chelsea was 'abducted' from a friend by us. She was a 4 year old Welsie who was having trouble with foundering. Her hooves were very long, and heels soooo high! The farrier had trimed the toe to be neat, then rasped off all the founder rings on the hoof! Chelsea looked like she was walking on coke cans. Heels so badly contracted on all hooves.(I kid you not) We started by trimming as much of the toe and heel as she would let us. This tooks ages as her feet were so sore, she could hardly take her weight on the others. We trimmed whlst she was standing, trimmed whilst she was lying down. We waited a couple of weeks between trims. Never have we been agressive with the trims, because we felt that it was important for her to be able to keep moving. 6 Months later, and whilst her feet are still not the best looking in town, all the rasped hoof has grown out and her heels are well down. The toe was so thick that we are still working on it. But Chelsea now gallops up and down the hills, and her weight is well in check. She has also started to chip her toes naturally. She is happy, sleek and we are starting to break her in.


Name: Dorothy Jackson
Location: Hodgen, Oklahoma
Contact Info: (918) 653-3751
Age, Breed, Problems: 18, Missouri Foxtrotter, Foundered on both fores and the most extreme case of contracted heels imaginable
Trim for others?: Yes
Date: 03 Jan 2005

Comments

I bought Pam in April 2004 shod and pregnant. However, she was foundered on both her front feet with one foot more foundered than the other. Estimate of rotation was in excess of 20 degrees, but this was not the worst of it. Pam's heels were more contracted than any of the heels of any of these horses on the natural horse trim website. Her buttresses were so contracted that they nearly touched each other and were as hard as bricks. Her frog was practically nonexistent having been reduced to a THIN SLIT. She also showed so much distress and pain that she continually rocked on her heels and toes on her fores, her eyes were bulging from her sockets and she had respiratory problems. In spite of this, she was ridable on very rocky terrain in shoes. I started using the natural horse trim on Pam in May of 2004. It was easy to get the heels down and the rotation took care of itself over time. However, the heels presented a very big problem and still remain partially contracted as of January 2005. I used the method of trimming the heels that removes all the heel in the back of the foot as suggested by Gretchen which opened the heels enough so that I could feel better about it and so could Pam. When the founder cleared up better and she had good attachment, I began to steepen the hoof wall to a more natural angle for Pam. I rasped back the toe quite a bit and even undercut it a little and the hoof began to become more round and less oval in shape. Also, the opening cuts on her heels finally began to work again. The too long toe had caused contraction to begin to form on her rear heels, so I did the same on the rears. We are making sure that her heels don't get too high, while at the same time keeping that toe back to the point where her foot looks right. This gaited horse has hoof angles that are the opposite of those that are commonly reported by Strasser in her work. This is evidenced by the natural angles of the colt she bore while we were doing all this to her. He is lower in angle in his rears and steeper in his fores than he is in his rears. This is what makes these horses perform gaits like Foxtrot, running walk and rack.

Gretchen Fathauer's comments--I agree that backing up breakover is part of what is needed to expand heels.  However, in cases of contraction beyond the vertical, there are specialized opening cuts needed.  I don't show these on my site because they need to be done only temporarily (to avoid getting heels more under-run) and by someone with the training to do them, and the horse needs to be on a specific kind of footing.  I do not agree that all foxtrotters have steeper fores than hinds.  My old horse, Max, was a gaited foxtrotter.  His hinds were steeper than his fores, just as Strasser describes...which was in line with his hind coffin bones being steeper than his fores, as seen on x-rays.  I have more often seen steeper fores than hinds in donkeys and mules, most of which weren't gaited.  There are other conformation differences in gaited horses aside from their feet...

As much damage as Pam has had in the past, I would not be surprised if there was considerable coffin bone loss in her fores.  Here is a foundered cadaver specimen, both before and after dissection, showing how the loss of the 'vertical toe height' of the coffin bone has resulted in a steeper coffin bone, with less solar concavity:

   

X-rays of both Pam and her foal would be very helpful for seeing what is really going on inside their feet.  Foals can grow high heels very fast if they aren't active enough on breed-appropriate terrain, so seeing what the angles of his coffin bones really are would be very helpful in trimming him.

I do not advocate 'taking all the heel off.'  I do talk about low heels, quarter scooping, opening cuts for contraction if the horse is moving enough on firm terrain, shortening bars so they are straight and end halfway down the frog, not letting bars lay over the sole in the bar/heel triangle, and backing up breakover.   

The only photos of Pam I have seen are recent, so I really can't tell if there has been heel expansion since how she was earlier.  I have not been sent any photos of how she was earlier.  However, this recent photo is of a still very contracted foot:


Name: SUE MARTIN
Location: BRISTOL UK
Contact Info: 07889957580  MOBILE PHONE
Age, Breed, Problems: WELSH COB
Trim for others?: YES
Date: 07 Jan 2005

Comments

My Cob, Tinker, developed severe laminitis in Feb. 2003.  I tried the remedial shoes route.  He was still lame.  I found out about Dr. Strasser's methods, and duly had Tinks trimmed that way.  We had some ups and downs, and some scary moments.  I've been studying hoof care for over a year now, and trimming Tinks and my Dales pony, Henry, with very good results.  I trim friends' ponies, too.


Name: Elizabeth K. Swank
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
Contact Info: ekswank@hotmail.com
Age, Breed, Problems: TN Walking Horse, 8 years old, trouble gaiting
Trim for others?: Will help
Date: 19 Mar 2005

Comments

   

I was raised with TN Walkers my whole life. We mainly trail ride and shod all our horses....it wasn't even an option not to shoe...but whenever I would watch the farrier, I would cringe thinking how "unnatural" it all was..... In 2002 I was given a TN Walking mare who had been "ignored" for a few years...I jumped at the opportunity to "doctor" her...I spent hours researching...especially after owning her two weeks, she foundered (which had been a recurring problem prior to me getting her.) Unfortunately, she was too neglected and I was too new to the barefoot world. I kept her barefoot, but she was trimmed by a farrier. Eventually my mother went to some barefoot clinics....but only was able to trim her once...she then coliced and had to be put down. It was then that I realized "we" are killing our horses....they live very crude, inhumane, and uncomfortable lives....

I was very depressed, but my parents pushed me into getting another horse (which turned out to be great!!) But at the time....I didn't want any horse ever again....  Mother found Strut, an 8 yr. old TN Walker gelding, the very next day. He had been out to pasture and barefoot for two years (with regular trims by a farrier). We bought him, and before we even trailered him home, my mom was trimming him the natural way. Unfortunately, he had really contracted hooves. He also would not gait properly. We thought it was because he had been used in an "English" manner, and taught NOT to gait, but we soon noticed he was landing toe first and was choppy. We continued to do a natural trim. About two months after getting him, we did a trim and then went trail riding. In the middle of the trail ride, his behind all of a sudden dropped (I thought he was spooked and going to rear), but instead he began to rack down the road and pass all the other horses...it was SO amazing! My mom commented, "What kind of horse did we get???" Everyone was SO impressed. Upon closer inspection later, we discovered he was starting to land heel first, and just looked more flowing and smooth in general. His body was lining up correctly to do what was natural to him. God created this gaited horse, and if given a natural environment, they will do what God intended even better than when infringed upon by all of man's cruel contraptions.

I have owned him over a year now, and his hoof is still transforming. He was really tender in the beginning, and I had to use boots, but just recently I decided to go without boots, and over gravel and rocks he flew--he paid no attention to any of the terrain--he just flew over it. I consider him "COMPLETELY" sound and HAPPY. I even plan on showing him this spring, which other walking horse people laugh at me for mentioning because he is barefoot. Unfortunately, the walking horse receives the most abuse to their hooves, more than any other breed....talk about barbaric. I board my horse with other "show" walking horses, and when in the field (the ones that are actually allowed out of their stalls for a couple hours a day) I can pick my horse from a distance. He is the one walking or gaiting in a flowing fashion--no awkward steps or movements. There are also some padded horses where I board. I can hardly stand to look at their hooves. I cry regularly, especially when they are "soring" them (a common practice). I can no longer stand to be witness to the abuse, so I am moving my horse to my parents' home an hour away. I will miss having him nearby, but will be pleased to no longer have to view the abuse done to these horses every day. TN Walkers have such a docile temperament, they take this abuse and still are calm and affectionate. It is really sad...

Anyway, without natural/barefoot trimming, I would more than likely ignorantly resort to all the mechanical methods of shoeing my horse. Thanks to the more natural option, my horse is happy, I am happy, and my pocketbook is happy....since I now do all my own trims.

I highly recommend the trimming books by Jaime Jackson and Pete Ramey.

Gretchen Fathauer's comments--I cannot agree with you about recommending these books.  Much of their approach depends on the horses getting enough movement on firm, abrasive terrain to self-trim.  Jackson shows shortening toes from the bottom as the first step of the trim, shooting for a target toe length and toe angle first.  With rotated feet, this can frequently result in over-thinning the sole in the toe area, and heels too high to get a ground-parallel coffin bone.  There are other trimming protocols that are safer for rotated hooves.  This is why I am more in favor of the Strasser series of trimming steps.  Since most of my readers ARE dealing rotated hooves because this is a site about founder, that's a major consideration.  If your horse had been foundered, and not just heel-sore, you might have had a tougher transition to barefoot.


Name: Claire Lacey
Location: Clarksville MD USA
Contact Info: wallstreetblues@juno.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 15 y.o. 16.3hh QH Gelding. contracted heels
Trim for others?: Maybe
Date: 24 Apr 2005

Comments

This gelding belongs to a very good friend of mine. When she bought him 7 years ago he had been trimmed & shod to obtain tiny QH feet. This guy is built like a dually! He is 16.3hh 1300lbs & like sitting astride my coffee table. He has since been shod all kinds of ways to get his feet bigger. Latest theory was new balance shoes, which have front half of shoe bevelled towards toe to move the  breakover point back under the horse more. I have been working with the Strasser method almost a year, & seen great results with ALL my horses, so I discussed this with his owner & we agreed to try it. We pulled his shoes last Thanksgiving. We trimmed him 2x a week & lunged him. Two weeks after initial trim I was riding him. We do dressage, so that is what I was working on. Immediate differences we noticed: Saddle fits better. Much longer stride. Happy to move forward & keep moving. Much more relaxed & much improved self carriage. He has continued to improve with reduced oversensitivity in his back. We showed last weekend & beat a whole bunch of extremely nice Hanoverians & thoroughbreds who were all very good movers! This stuff is so cool! I would recommend it to anyone. I also noticed this spring that when the ground near the creek thawed, got pocked & refroze--the only horses that had sensitivity issues with it were the 3 with shoes on. The only horses that abscessed this spring were 2 of the 3 with shoes on! They are all scheduled to go barefoot in very near future!


Name: S. D. Bell
Location: Springtown, Tx
Contact Info:
Age, Breed, Problems:
5 year old paint
Trim for others?: no
Date: 06 May 2005

Comments

My paint gelding foundered in July of 2004. We assume he foundered because of grass (even though he had been on pasture 24/7 since birth). The bone was almost through the sole. The vet said he should not be able to walk in his condition (it was that bad). I followed the vet's recommendation of shoes, but I decided to quit after reading your site. The shoes were not reset. I have been using the rasp on him weekly. I took him back to the vet 8 months after the initial founder. The pictures showed a hoof that was almost "normal". He is not on any medication and runs the pasture like a frisky colt. DO NOT SHOE - TRIM!!!

Gretchen Fathauer's reply--you can't do a good job with just a rasp.  Before problems with uneven sole thickness and overlaid bars start cropping up, get a hoof knife!  You can actually do an entire trim with a hoof knife.  You can't with a rasp.  Eventually, trimming with a rasp only,  you will end up with a hoof that looks like you ran it through a bandsaw in one pass.  In other words, the sole will be much thicker near the middle than out towards the walls, and the frogs and bars can get overgrown.  This will result in less hoof mechanism and circulation...and sore heels, after a while.  What it won't result in is a hoof capsule shaped like the underlying structure.  I recommend the F. Dick hoof knives with the short blades and bigger handles.  www.thehorseshoof.com carries the right ones.


Name: Sandy Judy
Location: Gibsonville, NC
Contact Info: shjudy@nuvox.net
Age, Breed, Problems: 9 yr. old Quarter horse mare diagnosed with navicular
Trim for others?: yes (enrolled in 2005-06 SHP course)
Date: 04 Jul 2005

Comments

If any of you have read some of my other stories on this site, you may be interested to follow up with this new one. I met another mother while we were watching our sons in a golf tournament. There's lots of time to talk between 18 holes! Anyway, I told her I would help her get started, as her mare was currently shod and diagnosed with "what might be navicular." I explained about the trimming and lifestyle adjustments when we were watching golf, and she had gotten the books and had her farrier take the shoes off her horses 3 weeks prior to me coming. I took pictures, and here are the "before and after" of the whole body shot. What a difference I was able to make in this mare's conformation! She still has some severe problems: contraction beyond the vertical, etc., but at least she has a start. The mare is bred, and she figured this was a good time to "try this barefoot stuff." Since this was the first trim, I expect the success story to follow soon, but I thought you might like to see how much difference one trim can make.


Name: Olivia G.
Location:
Contact Info:
Age, Breed, Problems:
19, Quarter Horse Mix, Ringbone and Severe Arthritis on Both Front Legs
Trim for others?: NO
Date: 21 Jul 2005

Comments

My horse has SEVERE arthritis and ringbone.  I had stumbled across a site talking about barefoot horses and I thought I'd give it a try.  I just got him trimmed for barefoot on Monday, July 18th, 2005, and no shoes or anything.  He was sore for the first day, but over a two day time span, I went out to the pasture and called him. He came walking up to me, but something was different.  He wasn't limping at all!  He came up, I gave him a treat and went over to feel his legs. HIS RINGBONE HAD DISAPPEARED OVER THE COURSE OF TWO DAYS!  So thank you whoever invented the barefoot method - you have truly given Smokey a new lease on life :)

Gretchen Fathauer's reply--I have a hard time believing ossifications disappeared in just two days, but I could see fluid buildup reducing faster.  I would sure be interested in seeing some x-rays!  Is the ringbone on the joint surfaces, or outside the joints?  That would make a difference.


Name: Clarissa Hine
Location: Weston super Mare, UK
Contact Info: clarissa@trymdata.co.uk
Age, Breed, Problems: 11 yrs old cobx 15.3 with sidebone - lame for 3 years
Trim for others?: no - contact me by email for name of my Strasser trimmer
Date: 30 Sep 2005

Comments

Meesha has had sidebone for 3 years. She was diagnosed after nerve blocks, x rays - the works - as we were being told that sidebone on its own does not usually cause lameness. However, the sidebone is large on all four feet, but on the offside front it's huge - the largest the vets or farrier or my trimmer had ever seen.

I tried everything--bute had effect at all, the rest seemed to have no effect.  We tried magnotherapy boots, pads in shoes etc and were having sidebone shoes fitted.

I always had a nagging doubt at the back of my mind about the shoeing - sidebone is caused by a number of things, one of which being concussion!!  When I approached my farrier, who Meesha has had from day 1 of shoeing, he told me that she would not be sound without shoes - so, even though she wasn't sound with shoes, I kept with it even when she was sectioned off on a small area of field. At the recommendation of vet, she had front shoes on, as I was told this would help her (was told to put her on box rest, and I refused to cage her up for that long!).

After trying everything, the only thing that seemed to help slightly was soft ground and cortaflex, but she was very up and down - hopping lame one morning and slightly better later on - it was a while before she was back into ridden work, and it was then that we realized that she was much better with exercise as well.

At my wits end I searched the internet and came across the details of a site and they put me in contact with my Strasser trimmer. I had Meesha's shoes removed 4 days before the Strasser trimmer visited, and the farrier was very scathing about Strasser, and said I would be calling him in the next few days. He also added that horses like Meesha are usually ok without shoes. (Why didn't he tell me this 3 years ago !!! She was never in hard work and had good feet). After much laughter from the farrier, he removed her shoes and was on his way - I held my breath as I untied Meesha (her feet hadn't been trimmed at all yet) and walked her over the very very hard stones in my yard to the field - I watched gobsmacked as she didn't bat an eyelid and walked over them like they were grass. The next day the vet came for injections and her comment was that this was the best she had seen Meesha since the sidebone had been discovered 3 years ago - she was also gobsmacked at how Meesha would walk across the stones without even thinking !!

I was over the moon - the Strasser trimmer visited 4-5 days after the shoes were off and I was astounded at how much care and time she took before even touching Meesha's feet to find out the full history and talk me through the procedure. She trimmed Meesha's feet (taking off very little) and the result was fabulous - Meesha was not only walking better than she had in 3 years, but for the first time in a long time was happy to pick up the good front foot whilst putting all her weight on the bad one. Before the trimmer arrived, I had tried to pick up her good foot, but couldn't even get it off the floor to pick it out.

She is improving every day, and she is also having equine touch (very reasonably priced) to help. All I would say to anyone in a similar position is - FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS - LISTEN TO ADVICE - TAKE IT IN - EVALUATE - BUT THEN - FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS.

My only regret so far is that I did not do this 3 years ago !!! If I can be of any help to anyone else in a similar position please contact me and I will pass on contact details of those who have helped me.


Name: Bonnie Bates
Location: Hauser, Idaho
Contact Info: 208-457-9954
Age, Breed, Problems: 9 YO Quarter Horse, Ringbone, long heels, bars, toes
Trim for others?: Yes
Date: 19 Oct 2005

Comments

I met her about a month and a half ago. Beautiful horse, but she could not walk at all on her right fore. She had to hop, and her right front leg jutted out at a staggering angle, her muscles were severely atrophied on her right side and she was on her way to being euthanized for "incurable" ringbone. She had high heels, long bars, long toes--and looked very painful. I trimmed every week, twice a week. It took about a week to see that her hop was slowly turning into a lame walk, Then slowly her lame walk turned into being able to stand square, and almost look relaxed! Then she could walk pretty well going UP, but going down a hill would cause her to still look lame. Today she can walk freely both up and down hill, she is not trotting or galloping around just yet, but WOW! What a wonderful difference! Thank you, Strasser and everyone who had added to the knowledge pool of this wonderful lifesaving normality for our friend, the horse! Yaaay!!! Bonnie bates, Hauser, ID


Name: Frieda Bruck
Location: Zimmerman, MN
Contact Info: Bruckzim@aol.com
Age, Breed, Problems: 23, QH, Contracted feet, lameness, thrush, COPD, skin allergies
Trim for others?: No
Date: 10 Jan 2006

Comments

Lewis is a 16 hh bay QH gelding who has been my good buddy since I bought him in 1994. He and I had enjoyed trail riding for many years, but our time together took on a whole new dimension when we joined the Sherburne County Mounted Patrol unit in 2002. Lewis and I loved the challenge of working with the public, representing our county in parades and competing at state Mounted Patrol events. Unfortunately, Lewis' health began to decline shortly after we joined the Mounted Patrol. He had always had poor quality, contracted hooves which I, as an uninformed horse owner, tried to take care of by having him shod frequently and treating his recurrent thrush as effectively as possible. It seems strange to me now that my interest in all other aspects of horse health didn't apply to hooves. I cleaned out Lewis' feet, shined them up a bit for parades, and left everything else to our farrier.

A critical incident happened just after Lewis and I had to do some hard, fast work on pavement at a Mounted Patrol event (related to a child's injury during a parade). Cantering on concrete with his borium tipped shoes seemed to push Lewis over the brink into a health crisis. Within weeks Lewis went from a healthy horse with "bad" feet to an animal that couldn't breathe, covered with welts that he chewed and rubbed to a bloody mess due to extreme itching. Lewis' medical record during that awful period doesn't adequately reflect the distress we were both were experiencing. Dexamethazone seemed to help the itching, but he broke out in new hives from any bug bite, so I invested in a Swedish bug blanket which covered him from hocks to nose. As long as he didn't get new bites and was covered completely, he seemed to be recovering--at least while he was on his medication. When we tried to wean him from the Dex in late fall we found that he had developed a severe breathing problem. He was put back on the Dex, along with an anti-histamine granule to deal with his dry cough and now recurring skin allergies. The vet discussed management options for COPD and we tried Azium and Ventipulmin Syrup, but we still were dealing with critical breathing events that required IV Dex. Lewis' labored breathing was so distressing to us both that I began to consider having him euthanized.

During this period Lewis' hooves were so bad that the farrier left his feet bare, saying that there was not much wall to nail to anymore. Lewis was very tender footed over the winter, but since he couldn't walk due to his heaves, anyway, the sore feet didn't seem to be an issue. In spring of 2003 I was giving Lewis a week-by-week extension of life, hoping to see an improvement in his breathing, but determined not to let him suffer. So when my daughter, Tracy, called with a suggestion that Lewis' health problems might be related to his feet, I was hesitant connect the two. Tracy said that the farm where she boarded her horse was hosting a Strasser Hoof Seminar and perhaps they would take Lewis as a participant.

Cynthia Niemela and others at the seminar were very honest and made sure that I understood that Lewis might be too sick to deal with having his hooves worked on. They also made it clear that there was no documented evidence that connected these two problems. Since I felt this was Lewis' last chance, I told them I understood the situation, accepted the possibility that he could die during the process, and sent him to the clinic.

To make a long story a little shorter, not only has Lewis developed real-honest-to-goodness healthy horse feet -- but within several weeks of his first trim, his heaves disappeared! His allergies to bugs have diminished so much so that I was able to not blanket him totally last summer for the first time in three years. He still gets bumps from the bugs, but does not develop hives or the extreme itchiness that drove him to throw himself on the ground in a frenzy and chew and rub his skin to a bloody pulp.

We still use Boa Boots on his front feet whenever we're working on gravel or rocky soil and he has a bit of recurring tenderness in his right front that I think I'm going to start padding for this spring. After abscessing almost constantly for two years, his foot quality is unbelievable. Lewis is 23 years old this spring, and his overall health is excellent. His coat shines and he is a much happier, more energetic horse. Whenever we work Mounted Patrol events and someone mentions Lewis' boots, they frequently get the story of how horse health is related to hoof health. I wouldn't say that every horse can be cured of heaves by a natural trim -- but it most certainly saved Lewis' life.


Name: Lei Ryan
Location: Mount Jackson, Virginia
Contact Info: gardenie@aol.com
Age, Breed, Problems: Client horse foundered, was unable to save, started looking for other answers after this happened to him.
Trim for others?: Yes
Date: 30 Jan 2006

Comments

I had a horse in training several years ago. He was a superb athlete. He foundered in his hind feet, which I felt at the time was singularly metabolic. I took him to the local vet clinic, and he continued to worsen, and then went to another. I was not the decision maker after he went into clinic care. However, they were not able to save him with conventional means. This broke my heart. I started searching for answers. I looked at my own horses and was disappointed in how they looked, their soundness, and the options for "traditional" care.

I stopped training other people's horses, and focused on my own animals while working in another job. And I studied and read. I continued to compete in eventing sporadically.

I was on a "mad" scientist type adventure, trying different methods of husbandry, glue on shoes, etc, but what kept me most interested was barefoot, 24/7 turn out, and boots. I have one horse in particular, an intermediate level event horse, who was notoriously bad-footed...he was my main teacher. He kept telling me "Barefoot or Boots, but no nail-on shoes." And I finally succumbed to the truth--it's barefoot that's best.

So now I have one mare that came to me with her first and last set of shoes on, she's 5, TB, rock-hard feet, super jumper. Was champion in her first hunter show and great scores at her first dressage show as well. She trail rides over rocks and everyone I ride with are still shoe folks, so she always wows them.

I have a rescue TB ex-racehorse mare, also 5, who was lame when she got to me, and who is now barefoot and sound. I am currently rehabbing another former racehorse--a four year old, he's still a bit footy, but is coming along by leaps and bounds.

The intermediate level TB event horse is still going, and I hope to bring him out with the intermediate level Trakhener that went away for leasing a year, and I'm having to redo him to barefoot... I'm still not sure about whether they can return to that level barefoot, but I'm game to start out this year and try.

I also have an Arab/Appy that came with some mental baggage. His feet must have been killing him...huge heels and bars, and oh my! But now, his feet are rock-crushing and grow like crazy! And he's pretty much over the mental stuff as well.

What strikes me most is how much better balanced, how much more correctly muscled, and how much HAPPIER my horses are. Good riding certainly sets this off, and makes it work, but that treating horses like horses makes a great difference.

Anyway, after doing my own for a couple of years, would be happy to help people looking to care for their horses a better way.


Name: Demetra
Location: Shawnigan Lake, BC Canada
Contact Info: diallahurricane@shaw.ca
Age, Breed, Problems: 8 year old Appendix Quarter Horse, Mechanical Founder caused by farrier
Trim for others?: No, but will share more story details if anyone interested.
Date: 02 Feb 2006

Comments

Hi there -

I hope our story will help you trust your instinct about what's best for your horse and trust those who risked "normal" and "what everybody else is doing" to find a better way to care for our horses feet! Hats off to them! Yippee Yi Oh Ki Ya

Introduction - Finding natural hoof care and my horse -  I was visiting a ranch in Colarado in 1997 and met Bergy Bergeleen, who first introduced me to "The Natural Trim." I watched as he took a number of critically lame horses and trimmed them, and they walked away without discomfort and moving naturally. I was amazed..so I bought his tapes and book and became very interested in a more natural approach to hoof care. About a year later I bought my appendix quarter horse from a working cattle ranch in the Chilcotin, in the interior of BC. From the first moment I set eyes on her, I knew she was the one! My first ride of course convinced me, and my second was pure heaven -the rancher allowed my friend and I to ride out and move cows for the day from the lowlands to the high country. I think it was 10 hours in the saddle - man, did we walk like cowgirls that night!! and I really got to see what my horse could do. She amazed me with her agility, energy and confidence.

Coming home I had a difficult time finding her a home with natural living conditions, as I didn't have my own property. I finally found a stable where there were large turnouts during the day, but locked in stalls at night, which she didn't much like. There were good trails in the area and a riding ring with lights for the dark winter nights.

Our Barefoot Journey--I'd had trouble finding a good farrier at the time, so tried a few people, but still knew her hooves weren't what they should be. Only four months after I brought Dialla home to the island, I encountered a farrier who professed to be doing "The Natural Trim" like Bergy Bergeleen, and I talked to a few people who liked his work, so made an appointment for him to do my horse. That's when our barefoot journey began...he spent several hours trimming my horse, albeit very slowly and taking lots of time to talk and measure, etc. After about 2 hours I started to get a little worried, thinking I've never seen a farrier take this long before?! When she started becoming very agitated and upset and was pulling her feet away very forcefully, I should have stopped right there, but instead of listening to my instinct and my horse's body language, I trusted the farrier. He should know what's best, right? Anyway, he talked a very good talk...by the time he was finished, he had trimmed her feet SO SHORT that within about 4 hours, the stable owner called me (around 12:30 am) to say my horse was in trouble...so I called my veterinarian and he was there in about 20 minutes. She was in serious trauma, she had wedged herself into the corner of her stall to stand, as the pain in her hooves was so extreme. Every inch of her body shivered violently due to the shock and pain of founder. My vet was amazing with her; I feel he saved her life, he performed a miracle that night for which I shall be forever grateful. Once she was as comfortable as he could make her, I curled up in the next stall that night in case she got any worse.

Tradition vs. Barefoot--Her rehab started the next day using traditional methods (stall rest, wedge pads, Bute etc.) My vet had recommended a couple of farriers to continue rehab. I called one of the farriers and asked him some questions mostly about her chances for soundness in the future. He indicated it wasn't likely she would ever be completely sound, and my heart sunk.

One of my girlfriends called me the next day and she told me about a barefoot trimming method by Dr. Hiltrud Strasser. She had had her horse trimmed a week prior by one of Dr. Strasser's hoofcare specialists, Sabine Kells. I called Sabine right away and asked her some questions, which she was able to answer, and I then asked if she'd come and see my horse. She came the next day and spent 4 or 5 hours with me explaining the trim and showing me her client records, which were meticulous with before and after photos and many details. She was able to answer all of my questions, especially the one about soundness. She indicated absolutely she would be able to help me to get my horse sound. There was something about her professional approach, her confidence and her way with my horse that I knew this was my only option.

In the meantime I read Dr. Strasser's books, "Lifetime of Soundness," & Jaime Jackson's book, "Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care," and a few others, and spoke to many people...to learn as much as I could about barefoot horses.

We moved my horse right away to my girlfriend's farm, where she had more space to move when she was ready, and a paddock buddy who encouraged her to get up and move around a little at first. I owe many thanks to my girlfriend and her horses for helping save my horse! Anyways, she laid down for about two weeks and got up and walked around a little. Sabine gave her her first real natural trim to get her hoof mechanism where it was working to heal her hooves.

No more blankets, being locked in a stall for the night, eating too rich food or grass, and lots of movement. Once she could comfortably walk, I took her for walks every day, sometimes twice a day....

Sabine trimmed her every week for a while, then every other week, then once a month, etc., to ensure her hoof mechanism and her comfort were balanced. Did you know a horse grows a new foot approximately every 8 months or so?

I had many naysayers during this time; they judged and condemned me, and even gave me articles that proved what I was doing was wrong. It was a very difficult journey at first, but my horse's well being was my priority and I had no trouble following Sabine's directions. I stayed very focused during those early days, and associated with my friends and family, who were supportive and encouraging. At that time (1999) barefoot trimming was not done by many people--it's quite amazing how quickly things have changed--Hallelujah!! Many of my horse riding friends who were all well shod, now have barefoot horses...one of them has 6 barefoot horses and proclaims the joys of barefoot to everyone who will listen.....hhhhmmmm, interesting hey?

Sabine was so patient with me, teaching me the finer points of natural trimming. My horse slowly responded to our care, and walking became easier and more comfortable, then she started trotting and cantering around. Those were great days!

Dr. Strasser even came to Vancouver Island and I attended her two-day clinic. We learned by trimming horse cadaver feet that had been frozen, then thawed, so they would bleed just like a real horse, so you learn quickly what not to do....

Well, within a couple of years, my horse was back to her natural self doing everything I'd hoped and more. I had hoof boots for her, which she wore for about 2 years. But now she can go anywhere and do anything I want her to do without boots.

Our ranch vacation I took her up to the Nicola Valley to Quilchena Ranch for a week two summers ago and she trotted and cantered all around up in the high country, barefoot and lovin' it!!

It's funny, when people I'm riding with notice her barefoot, they say..."Oh, your horse is barefoot?!" and that's it...most ask no questions, but keep on riding their long toed, high heeled, shod horses.

Well, that's OK, barefootin' isn't for everyone, and you can't convince anyone to do it, it has to be a personal,  passionate choice! After all, it's our differences that make us so interesting and passionate...well, I wish your journey is as filled with learning and growing as mine was....God bless and keep you all AND....

Happy Trails to you, until we meet again! Happy Trails to you, keep smilin' until then! Who cares about the clouds when we're together? Just sing a song and dream about sunny weather. Happy Trails to you, until we meet again

(sung by Roy Rogers & Dale Evans-- not sure who the songwriter is, though?


Name: Janey Burnes
Location: United Kingdom
Contact Info: janey_hs@hotmail.com
Age, Breed, Problems:
Trim for others?:
Date:
11 Oct 2006

Comments

Interesting to see that you've got Fiona Dean listed as being able to help with laminitic horses in the UK.

Particularly as she's been successfully prosecuted for causing undue suffering and cruelty.

How do you condone that???

Gretchen Fathauer's comments--I do not have any trimmers listed on my site, and have not had for several years.  I link to Yvonne's site, with caveats that I can't personally recommend anyone whose work I have not seen.  I don't know where you are coming up with this stuff about me recommending specific trimmers in the UK.

One thing I don't "condone" is your vitriolic entry here.  Apparently you are part of the witch hunt crowd over there I have been hearing about.

I have--finally--gotten a response from Fiona on this case.  She wrote: 

"I was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering by omission to provide timely veterinary assistance--these are the words of the court. I was found not guilty of causing unnecessary suffering for inappropriate trimming. In truth, the judge felt that I should put a horse down without the permission of the owner (who was abroad) or her mother (who was regularly visiting the horse) said, "all vets say that." The time of omission only was applied to the time the owner was abroad. Once the owner had returned and was responsible for the horse it was no longer my duty of care.

"You may ask why was the owner not prosecuted, seeing as she left the pony to suffer for 3 days. The answer is that for any Act that is heard in a magistrate court, the evidence needs to be laid in court within 6 months of the event. The RSPCA were asked by the judge if they had given this owner immunity.

"They didn't have to give this owner immunity because the time that had elapsed between the event and the court hearing was well beyond a point where she could be prosecuted. Besides, if they prosecuted her they would not have been able to make the case against me--she was their star witness.

"The pony I was looking after was never seized by the RSPCA, it was thankfully euthanised before that occurred, one week after my vet had recommended that it be put to sleep. (There was no problem proving the vet had been. The problem was proving that I had said to the owner that the vet had been and recommended euthanasia. The owner denied me telling her this.) The owner was abroad, but failed to have the pony euthanised for 3 days after her return.

"Thus, the trimming is not relevant to the case, but the RSPCA just wanted to make out that it was.

"It is also important to note that this type of conviction does not mean that I had to have the intention of causing unnecessary suffering, quite the reverse. The circumstances simply had to happen and whether I intended to omit or not

"--Fiona Dean"


Name: Theresa Hawkins
Location: Anton, TX
Contact Info: 806-632-4524
Age, Breed, Problems: My 7 yr. old spotted saddle horse (Blazer) road foundered.
Trim for others?:
My farrier will.
Date:
16 Jan 2007

Comments

I had hired a new farrier who was very generous with the amount of sole he took out. The first time I saw the soreness was right after the farrier?s trim.

But I supposed maybe Blazer was just sore from me exercising him that same day.   He seemed to be OK after a few days.  A few days after that, my friend and I decided to ride some of the farm roads near my home (which are considerablly hard dirt roads) and Blazer had never seemed to mind (we had ridden those same roads many times before). But this time (after his trim) he was very uncomfortable, so we cut our ride short.  After about two weeks of not riding him he seemed to be OK. Six weeks later the same farrier came out and Blazer again was very sore and didn?t want to go riding AT ALL.  I thought he was just being fussy, so we went for a long ride.  I learned a very hard lesson----the next morning he could hardly walk.

The two bad trimmings and the excessive concussion set the stage for this nightmare!

I got on the Internet to look up laminitis and all the symptoms.

I found your website and began reading all I could about Dr Strasser?s method.

I also called my vet and we loaded Blazer in the trailer very carefully.  The vet confirmed it was founder and started a three week treatment of grass hay( only) and many foot soakings (he had three abscessed feet). Later the vet explained he wanted to put heartbar shoes on Blazer and see if that would help the coffin bone from rotating.

I remembered your warnings about the conventional ?HEARTBAR? method and wasn?t convinced that I wanted Blazer to experience that type of treatment.  During all this, my father had a heart attack the same day we took Blazer to the vet.  So I was gone for three weeks while Blazer was being treated and stabled at the vet?s facilities.

The vet called (while I was still attending my dad)  and said it was time for Blazer to be fitted with heart bar shoes and I gave in and said, ?go ahead.?

Fortunately, I came home two days after they had fitted Blazer with those shoes. He looked like he was carrying cinderblocks on all fours!!!!!!  I couldn?t stand it!

I had found a farrier that was familiar with keeping the coffin bone ground-parallel (that was a miracle within itself) and we took off those heartbar shoes and followed your instructions on pushing the toes back and lowering the heels.

We trimmed every week in the beginning four @ least 3-4 weeks and then went to once every two weeks, finally graduating to every four weeks and now every six weeks. I also soaked his feet in sea-salt for the first 3-four weeks to make sure the abscesses were healed.

I also spent every day praying over his feet.

Two months after starting this treatment my horse was galloping and bucking in the field!!!!  Yeah!---there is a natural way to help heal our horses!!!!!!  I also followed the instructions about allowing him to be around other horses and not be in isolation.  I put him with a young foal and she gave him plenty of exercise!

Thank you so much for your sharing Dr. Strasser?s method. You were a God-send!!!!!

Theresa Hawkins


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