Hoofcare & Information for Barefoot Soundness

Linda Cowles Hoof Care - Serving the greater SF Bay Area and Northern California

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Navicular Syndrome

November 16, 2005
November 21, 2005
January 4, 2006
February 9 , 2006
May 29, 2006
June 15, 2006 - X-Rays
July 10, 2006
August 2, 2006
September 7, 2006

Samson is a 9 year old paint who has been conditionally unsound in shoes for about 5 years. He blocked sound with symptoms of navicular, but x-rayed fairly clean. His owner has had to bute him for riding, and decided to try barefoot as a last resort because she knows that bute is only masking a problem that will continue to get worse.

His feet were very contracted, and tried to get him sound and he remained slightly off on the front. The owner got new X-Rays in June and her vet noticed what he suspected was a cavity of thrush against the frog corium at the sulcus. As we continued, we began to realize that his problem - all along - has been a very stubborn case of thrush.

What We Learned from Samson:

  • Thrush can cause the hoof capsule to distort when the horse changes how he uses his feet
  • Thrush is common with contracted heels, and may be a primary cause of tightly contracted heels
  • Soaking works much better than topics for controlling serious thrush
  • It takes more than just soaking to eliminate thrush
  • Boots and correct movement are critical for quick rehab when the back of the foot is poorly developed or painful

What is it with all of these great horses who have Navicular Syndrome? What causes it? Long toes and low heels... Often my clients tell me that the vet assumed the problem was navicular because the horse became sound when the area was blocked.

Samson is a cow horse. We aren't sure about his background. He's extremely polite and willing, one of the easiest horses I've ever trimmed... his foot is where I want it before I've even finished reaching for it. According to Vicki, he had a hair trigger (to put it mildly) when she first got him, so she's tried to get him to relax a bit and has done a great job with him.

He's Scouts pasture mate. I encourage clients to let horses live communally whenever possible because it helps rehabbing horses stay active.


The Shoes

Samson was shod in Natural Balance shoes. His heels were very contracted and his frogs atrophied.His sole seems fairly thick, though, and shed easily, and his heels were in better shape than I expected considering how contracted they were. His digital cushion is very under developed.

Setup Trim

I took his shoes off, did a very simple trim and left him a little on the long side because hooves like these change dramatically in the first week.

Front Left

Front Right

Linda Cowles Hoof Care
Serving the greater SF Bay Area & Northern California
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