The Progression (and regression) of Bonnie’s Hooves…

I thought it might be interesting to share all the photos of Bonnie’s hooves that I have taken over the last few years. I love studying hooves and learning all I can, so I take lots of photos of my own horses and spend hours looking at photos of other horse’s hooves. My hubby thinks I’m so strange. Especially when we are sitting in bed and I am on my laptop showing him the changes in my own horses feet over the years as well as photos of what I hope they will become with all my careful management. He just rolls his eyes at me. LOL!

Bonnie’s feet have progressed and then regressed a few times over the last few years. There have been times they have looked really good and times when they have been down right ugly. The interesting thing is some of the times they have been ugly she has been the most sound. I just sigh and keep on trudging.

To trudge: walk slowly and with heavy steps, typically because of exhaustion or harsh conditions.

Something I have learned over these last months is Bonnie is happier with more heel that she should have. There have been times I have just let her have that heel. Then she can walk without wearing her boots. I watch her and study her feet and decide she needs to have less heel so I trim some off and she is lame again. Last year I was trying to help her by actually trimming heel off. Then I started studying a different method of barefoot trimming called TACT and learned more about the inner foot. I learned a ton about helping my horses grow a healthy heel and heel buttress and found that trimming Bonnie’s heels wasn’t helping her. In fact it was causing her heels to be pulled UNDER her foot and distorting, thereby losing her heel buttress. The heel buttress is the shock absorber for the foot, so it’s IMPORTANT.

What you are going to see in these photos is how her heel has moved back under her coffin bone as I’ve been trimming her correctly. I’ve started trimming to the inner foot and that is what is changing her hoof.

In the first photos I was trimming her by taking her heels down and bringing her toe back. I was looking for balance, but trying to go slowly.

Bonnie before I trimmed her:

IMG_2650

bonniebeforemay2016
This is how she came to me. Long slippered toes. Her toes pulled her heel forward and under her foot. So actually she did NOT have a heel buttress here. The back of her foot is collapsed under the pressure. Photos from May 2016
bonniehoofcollagejuly2016
These photos were taken in July 2016. I had been trimming her heels down very slowly. You can see the founder rings in her hoof wall here. This was before she actually foundered here…

Bonnie was in great shape here. We walked regularly 4-6 miles all summer long. These photos were taken in September.

bonniehoofcollagesept2016
These photos were taken in September 2016. I had been taking her heels down some more here but you can kind of see how they are starting to pull under. Her periople skin is starting to stretch down over her heel bulbs. This is not a good sign. We had been going for regular walks and she was very active at this point.

After October and through to December Bonnie put on some weight. She was on dry lot with alfalfa mix hay and just ballooned up. I cut back on the amount of hay she got. I also had to split the mares from the boys because Zorro was still a stallion. He was the instigator of movement so Bonnie would tend to stand around and eat. She started to loose weight in November. Then in December she became laminitic after being out in the pasture for a couple of hours.

Now things are going to get ugly. She foundered in March of 2017 after her vaccinations and her feet took a turn for the worse…

SONY DSC
This is when Bonnie went down. She was down for about a week… This photo was taken in March.

 

bonniehoofcollageapril2017

These photos were taken in April 2017. She had been wearing boots since about December as she became laminitic in December after being turned out on the snowy pasture for a couple of hours. She was comfortable in boots so I kept her in them. Then after she was vaccinated in March she went down for several days and couldn’t stand at all. At this point there was NO HEAT in her feet. But this is what they looked like.

bonniehoofcollagemay2017.jgp
Photos from May 2017. You can see how the tubulous are curving under back at the heel. The periople skin is continuing to pull under the heel. All the sticky residue is from Magic Cushion. That stuff is horrible! I don’t even know if it helped her because she doesn’t get heat in her feet,  but instead struggles with poor circulation and very slow hoof growth.
bonniex-raymay
It was after these X-rays that I knew how much sole I had to work with. Not much! She had plenty back at the back of her foot, but it was forced out the back of her foot a bit more than I would like. As you can see she didn’t have hardly any sole at the tip of her coffin bone
bonniehoofcollagejune2017
This photo is from June 2017. Actually her feet don’t look so bad here. She was still having to wear her boots so she wasn’t sound. The founder rings are so pronounced. Here is when I started to work on her laminar wedge. She had so much dead material that it was causing her pain.
bonniessummercollage
This was a comparison between Bonnie before I put in the track system and then after. Not only did it help her with her topline but once she was able to be bootless the movement on the track really helped her hooves.
bonniehoofcollagesept2017
This photo is from September 2017. In these photos you can see that she is getting a little “hoof bound”, which means that her heel and toe are kind of pulling towards each other. She was living out on the track 24/7 in these photos. She was able to be without her boots. I wouldn’t say she was sound, but she was comfortable.
bonniex-raysept
This x-ray is from September of 2017. As you can see I did manage to get her to grow some sole in at the coffin bone tip. And I saw exactly how much bar material I could take out. So I did!
bonniehoofcollageoct2017
These photos are from October 2017. I think these feet look pretty good, but you can see the tubulous really pulling under at the heel. I want those to be nice and straight following the line of her hoof at the coronet band. I don’t want the periople skin pulled under the heel either. That will tell me that she is developing a heel buttress.
bonniehoofcollagejan2018
These photos were taken in January 2018. She was starting to have issues here. Our weather was starting to change and she was getting footie. I was starting to really think about how to grow a heel buttress here. I knew that just trimming the heels wasn’t going to work as that kept pulling the heels under the foot instead of setting it where it’s meant to be. So here I’m allowing some hoof to grow, as much as she can. She grows hoof very very slowly due to poor circulation.
bonniehoofcollagefeb2018
These were taken in February 2018. UGLY feet!! She was able to be without her boots here however. I wouldn’t call her sound, but she was getting around very well!
bonniehoofcollagefeb2018(2)
I had been keeping her toes back to help with break over. She had enough material at the back of her foot here for me to work with. So I started working really seriously with her bars and the heel quarters after this photo shoot. I also worked hard on her toe quarters. I had her on a very strict 2-3 week trim schedule starting in February. You can see how her hoof is jamming up into the coronet band above the heel quarter area. I started all the ponies on a very strict thrush spray at this time as well. It worked wonders on the other two ponies, but Bonnie’s feet became very hard and constricted. They shrunk at least a 1/2″ and got so tight it was painful to look at. I started her on the For Love of the Horse EMS/IR herbs in February as well and in April I started to notice her feet softening. I think the herbs were helping her with circulation!
bonniehoofcollagemay2018
These photos were taken on May 2, 2018. In these photos you can see how the tubulous have changed! They are starting to follow the coronet band which is also straightening out. The jamming is gone. I have been dressing down her toe area from the top to destablize that area which has allowed things to relax down ward. This also stopped the hoof bound issue that was trying to happen above. To get this hoof I kept the frog very cleaned up, trimmed up and got rid of any thrush that was trying to be there. I kept the heel quarters beveled and the toe quarters beveled. And I kept up on her toe, but from the top. I DID NOT TRIM HER HEELS OUT. She is also not sound right now. I wormed her last week and she is acutely laminitic from that. No more worming for her 😦

I have to get Bonnie to the vet for her blood tests and her x-rays this month. I will be sure to share her new x-rays then. I am very interested to see how everything is looking.

IMG_4829
Bonnie this morning, May 8th!

**UPDATE: This morning when I went out to feed Bonnie came striding up to me as though she hasn’t been acutely laminitic for the last week! So whoot whoot!! She is wearing her EasyBoot minis with a comfort pad in them. I am just so darned happy to see her walking around like that!

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