Verso is a wonderful Andalusian stallion trained to upper level dressage... I'll get more details and professional body pictures to fill in later. He was imported several years ago. He's been in shoes while in the US.

Verso is very respectful and cooperative, a delight to deal with. I typically trim him solo, in his stall or paddock.

Verso had 3 significant quarter cracks when I first started working with him, and at one point they had been open and bleeding. He has had a number of hoof care professionals work with his feet, most recently a vet who tried to suture his primary crack with wire and patch it with Adhere.

This Verso Top Page is a summary and contains a partial selection of pictures. For more, please visit the links in the menu to the right!


05/16/2013 - ASSESSMENT

Hoof pictures are further down the page, Verso's problem was extreme imbalance on all four feet that accumulated over a period of years. His heels were extremely contracted and his frogs were atrophied. His digital cushion wasn't horrible, though, and he had decent sole thickness. The biggest thing he had going for him was a wonderful owner committed to doing whatever it took to get him sound again. He has a balanced diet, a large pasture near a busy arena, and the time off to rehab without pressure to train.

When hooves get this bad, the last thing many farriers consider is a month or two barefoot, but its what has worked for me consistently. Many of the better farriers I work with say its what they recommend also, but many owners are terrified of taking a horses shoes off, partially out of fear that they'll hurt their horse, and partially because they want to keep the horse in work.


We are lucky to have a wide variety of easy to use boots to help horses through the transition period, with more boots and glue on shoes coming to the market every year.

I sometimes use glue-on boots and shoes in rehab, but when the hoof is this distorted, the best option is removable boots and pads, moving to barefoot in pasture or turnout as soon as the horse is comfortable enough for it. Glue-on boots and shoes are more flexible than metal shoes, but still lock in distortion relative to being barefoot. The distortion drops out of the wall fastest when the horse is barefoot on softer terrain such as pasture, sand or deep shavings.

I pulled Verso's shoes, and fitted him for front Back Country Gloves, which he wore in pasture the first week, and then worn while moving between pasture and stall for a month or so. He was barefoot in the pasture and ridden barefoot in an arena with very nice footing. He moved comfortably in boots from day one, and after the first 6 weeks started moving as well as he's ever moved barefoot in lessons.

I trimmed him every 3 weeks, as needed.

I recommend pads in the Back Country Gloves for thin soled or tender horses, but didn't have the boots on long enough to need pads. I also recommend Gold Bond Foot Powder in boots if they are left on for hours at a time, but Verso only needed boots for a brief period.



The pictures of the front feet, below, shows the extreme heel contraction and quarter flare that often results in quarter cracks. The two top pictures are of the same hoof, the left picture is a weighted shot, and the right un-weighted... notice how the weighted shot shows the wall pushing up against the lateral cartilage The wall has relaxed in the picture to the right.

The picture above right shows the largest quarter crack on the front right medial wall. This is the crack that was stitched with wire and patched. To remove, I rasped off the patch and wire, then pulled the embedded wire out.

The pictures below are 2 shots of the left front medial crack. There was a smaller crack on the right front lateral.



The top two pictures are of the right rear hoof, which had extreme distortion in the medial and lateral heel. The medial heel dropped significantly in the 30 minutes between when the shoe was pulled and when I started to trim it.

06/21/2013 - SECOND TRIM

Heels are relaxing, but it takes time, and exercise. The challenge with Versos feet is encouraging the wall that is flared up into the coronet area to wear faster at the ground than the normal area without making him sensitive. I do this by beveling the wall immediately above the edge to encourage it to wear faster than the remainder of the wall.

At this point the quarter cracks are growing out nicely. I do not fill the cracks because 1) it doesn't make the horse more comfortable and 2) caulk can trap bacteria and be detrimental. I use the rasp to smooth any edges that could get caught and watch them grow out.

The pictures below are of the right rear. The medial wall is bulged out, and this will need to grow out and be trimmed away; it isn't going to relax more than this. You can see that I've beveled the heels in a way that encourages wear in areas that need it most, but there is only so much we can do... we need to see what type of hoof we have in 6 months, after all of this has grown out and been trimmed away.



08/13/2013 - THREE MONTHS TRIM

These feet are starting to look like something at this point. Verso got a few days of a little alfalfa for a treat, and ended up with some wall separation as a result.... now we know he's sensitive! These heels are still contracted, but are much more relaxed, and the cracks are growing out nicely... he's regrown almost 30% of the wall in 3 months.