I spent some time watching videos by “The Happy Hoof” by Linda Harris on YouTube today. I watched several videos of differing laminitic and foundered horses and two videos of her trimming foundered ponies. One pony had long slipper feet like Bonnie did and the other had been trimmed by Linda a few times prior to the making of the video about trimming and rasping back to the laminar wedge.
The laminar wedge is horn that fills in the space created when the coffin bone rotates or displaces in the hoof capsule during laminitis. -Laminitis and the Laminar Wedge: Take It Or Leave It | EasyCare
You can read more about the laminar wedge and see some great photos HERE.
The video I’m going to share here from “The Happy Hoof” is about what happens in the foot when laminitis occurs. I found it very interesting and also very enlightening! The simple way she explained it made a few things very clear. I knew that when laminitis occurs there is tearing of the hoof wall from the interior of the hoof. That sounds painful. I knew that often the horse will grow long ‘slipper’ feet and the heels will become underslung but TALL. But the way she explains what is going on was a light bulb moment for me!
Bonnie hasn’t really been 100% sound since she came here. She has always been very ouchie on the rocks when we go for walks and would appear stiff when walking in the dry lot. I thought she was just out of shape and sore footed because I made some significant changes to her angles over the summer, but now I’m thinking she was lame from laminar wedge! As far as her toes had grown and stretched and as much as her heels have grown tall and moved forward tells me that there was some significant white line stretching. I have been very careful about keeping her trimmed and addressing any flares as they appear, but I hadn’t really given laminar wedge much thought at all. I always rocker her toes which probably is what made her comfortable enough that she could go for walks, but I didn’t do much to get rid of it all together. This is apparent in how her hooves have been growing. There isn’t as tight of a connection as I would like to see, even with all the attention I’ve been giving!
Enter this video:
So. I came home and went to work on Bonnie’s laminar wedge. This was probably one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done on a horse and I’ve worked on some gnarly hooves!! But digging into the toe area, hoping that it was dead material was just stomach turning. **I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU TRY THIS IF YOU DON’T HAVE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE TRIMMING HOOVES**
In another of the videos I watched today she said that often times the white line won’t look stretched because the sole has grown along with the hoof wall and they are pulling the heels forward, sort of keeping things looking ‘normal’. But if you get down the to the real foot you will see stretched white line and THAT is where you need to work. As you dig down into that toe looking for that stretched white line you may see some blood droplets. She said that is because that laminae is tubular and the blood will travel from the live part of the hoof down into that stretched laminae. But if you keep going the blood will disappear. EEEEK!!!!! This is the part that made me nearly throw up. Luckily I was already sitting.
I trimmed up around her heels because they are so long. I need to get them down to in order for her to have a balanced foot. So I took out quite a bit of bar and then pulled some material out from along her frogs. It’s so hard to see in the photo but there is a nice bit of room there now.
Trimming out material in her toe area and running across some blood now and then made my heart stop each time. But I pressed on with Linda’s voice in my head. I was surprised to watch the blood disappear with my next swipe, just as she said it would happen! When it started to stay pink I stopped. Bonnie is still wearing boots so I feel she has some good protection from the elements and bacteria. But I clean her feet every day and apply essential oils so that will help as well!
This photo shows just how wide that laminar wedge is. It’s harder to see it in the other photo. I was surprised! I was very careful around the tip of the coffin bone and didn’t take very much sole from there, only what shed off on it’s own. I didn’t dig any deeper there.
These were interesting. I can see that by bringing her heel down a bit and taking some toe off (from underneath) her coronet band started to come down! Amazing! Of course it’s minute but every little change matters. I really like how her toe is pulled back after.
Left: Left front foot with trimmed laminar wedge Right: Right front foot with trimmed laminar wedge
I am so sad at the condition of her hoof walls. She has been wearing boots non stop since the beginning of March. Being in the boots has a drying effect on the hoof wall but makes the soles of her feet so soft. I am looking forward to the day when she can get around without them! I would love to hear your take on the big yucky GRRR line up there close to her coronet band. I’m guessing that is when she foundered in December? Could the vaccine episode show up that low already?
So you are probably wondering what happened after I tortured her? I know my hubby was wondering what the outcome was… and he really isn’t interested in any of this, nor does he really care! LOL
I led Bonnie off with her SoftRide boots on and she walked right out! She strode across the gravel no problem, making me regret not videoing her walking out to the trimming mat, over the gravel, before I trimmed her. She didn’t not stride right out. She gimped. Then she proceeded to walk all around nearly dragging me. Her shoulders looked freer and she seemed so happy. Most of the time, unless I had the camera out, she had her ears pricked forward and was eagerly looking for a chance to snatch some grass (which she did NOT get!). She bossed Sky and basically seemed so relaxed. When I put her back in her pen she motored all over the place. Twice as active as before!
Here eyes are bright and happy!
I think it was a success today! I will continue to work at the laminar wedge from both the bottom of her foot and the top. Next time I trim I will take some off the top. And I will keep you updated of course!