I had a lovely email last week from a lady who had contacted me a while ago. It got me thinking about what I write on the blog, and the fact that sometimes I maybe don't explain things as clearly as I should, for which I apologise and which I will try to correct in future blog posts(!)
As usual we had tried the conventional treatments (bute, heart bar shoes with gel pads, box rest, starvation diet, etc,) all of which helped temporarily but we were back to square one once we tried to go back to her normal routine. My vet was suggesting months of box rest, which I was against on welfare grounds. By this time the veterinary & remedial farriery bills were into the thousands and no longer covered by insurance, I was at loss as what to try next.
A friend suggested I look on the Horse & Hound website where there seemed to be an argument raging about barefoot vs shod horses and Rockley Farm was mentioned. After reading your past blog posts and buying ‘Feet First’ I thought” what have I got to lose?”, and contacted a local trimmer. This was against the advice of both my vet and farrier, so I remember feeling very apprehensive.
However, after a lot of research and creating a mini track at the top of our field, I bought some padded old mac boots and turned her out for the first time in weeks. This was at the end of December last year and despite some minor setbacks (due to my lack of willpower regarding treats!) she has gone from strength to strength. She only wears her boots in front now and only on long hacks, the mini track has now expanded into a track and paddock which she shares with my daughters horse (now also without shoes!) I know you don’t really approve of hoof boots [I don't use hoof boots and they do have drawbacks but boots can be a boon when used correctly, as they clearly are here - thats a blog post for another day!], but they have been invaluable for her.
You never seem to write much about laminitis on your blog, so I thought I would let you know how your book and blog has helped my wonderful horse."
Its an absolute joy to know that the blog has been useful - I never realised when I first started it (purely so I didn't need to share quite so many of my thoughts with the dogs and horses) that it would grow to be something which other people might find a help, so thats an amazing bonus.
It became clear to me very early on that if you have a hard-working barefoot horse, hoof health has to be optimal. If hoof health is to be optimal then nutrition, biomechanics and exercise have to be optimal.
Horses and their hooves need the same things for health - to cover many miles per day on varied terrain and to eat a high fibre, low sugar diet with a good mineral balance. This is safe for laminitics because its safe for all horses - its what they have evolved to require.
Sort the diet and the biomechanics, add in lots of good quality exercise and her horse can be a horse again - and both hooves and horse benefit :-)