Hoofcare & Information for Barefoot Soundness

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

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These case studies are primarily horses that I trim, but many are also trimmed by their owners and by other farrier's and barefoot trimmers. Some horses
have passed on, but they leave stories behind to tell us who they were, they leave their foot prints here, very literally.

What I'm attempting to document is the beauty and resilience of the natural hoof. Many of the pictures show feet in transition, feet becoming sound.

It's my job to help the horse by restoring balance to the hoof capsule, and that it's the horses job to turn that shell into something he can run on,
barefoot, for miles. I take the place of rocks, sand, time and miles... I wear the exterior of the hoof the way a horse would if he was free to go wherever
he wanted. I read the hoof and do what it tells me needs to be done, and no more.

Please feel free to contact me about specific details or with questions. Linda

Name, Date Started

Description, Approx. Age & Occupation



Good Barefoot

Soundness Notes

Ace, TW 10/4/05 Trail Horse, teenager Yes Tennessee Walker No Shod in Natural Balance with wedge pads; had under run heels & long toes
Ace, QH 10/4/05 Trail Horse, teenager Yes Quarter Horse No Shod for at least 8 years. Had tall heels and contracted feet
7/ 2005
Top Ten Endurance Horse Yes Arab No I only trimmed Al a few timesa while he was recuperationg from a suspensory injury.
Interesting look at why horses break down!
Athena 11/2005 Endurance prospect, 4 YO No Arab Yes Club Foot - and thrush!
Azure, 1/2007 Retured teenager yes Akhl Teke No Was in constant pain from navicular and was scheduled to be put down; a remarkable turn-around.
Baby! 6/2005 Trail Horse, 7 YO Yes Arab/QH Yes Had to be tranquilized to be shod, naturally nice feet
Beauty 2/2005 broodmare, teenager yes Morgan yes These are some old shots (2005) of an experimental trim I was usingto show how rapidly quarter flare would decend when the wall was relieved.
Butter, 2/2005 Broodmare
yes TB yes

Significant thrush. lost the entire quarter on one foot and the
bar grew in to support that side of the hoof.

BC, 8/2005 OTTB / Dressage Yes TB (off track) No TB feet, chronic unsoundness, multiple track related injuries
Breeze,9/2005 Trail Horse Yes Arab No Jarring gaits , wry foot.
Cagey, 6/2005 Trail Horse Yes Arab Yes Perfect feet - a real Gravel Cruncher!
Cherokee, 7/2006 Trail Horse Yes Appy Yes Was flat soled barefoot until a bevel; got good concavity in the first month!
Great example of the power of the bevelled wall and at the bottom, of a foot that
the horse is landing on toe-first.
Cobre, 9/2005 Trail Horse Yes Paso Yes Great looking feet on a small horse. He naturally wears his toes so that they have a
full rocker.

Dali, 8/2005

Trail Horse Yes Saddlebred No Perfect feet now - were horrible

Desi, 10/2005

Trail Horse Yes QH No Marginally sound before shoes came off, now very sound
Durango, 2/2006 Trail Horse Yes Appy No Lives in a paddock with pea gravel and rarely needs trimming! GREAT Passive Conditioning testimonial! She lives in a pea gravel paddock!
Ebony, 11/2005 Trail Horse Yes Mustang Yes Perfect feet and a punch-line towards the end!
Eli,  4/2006 Trail / Endurance NO! Arab Yes Was Strasser trimmed and as a result his coffin bones dropped. This is a testimonial to Less-Is-More trimming. X-rays included to show 6mm sole thickness after invasive trimming, Had perfect feet until his feet were trimmed too thin. Is now back to having perfect feet.
Emmett,  8/2005 Lesson Horse / Trail Horse Yes TB No Pictures of shedding false sole due to solar abscess. Was chronically lame for years, has perfect feet now.
Fancy, 10/2005 Trail Horse Yes Arab No Founder that was initially misdiagnosed as contracted heels. THIS is a real horror story that illustrates how little our vets really understand about laminitis and founder.... this mare had separation at the corronet band, a founder stance and was on a bright green pasture, and her
vet mis-diagnosed her lameness!
Granddar, 10/4/05 Trail Horse Yes Arab No Chronic Side bone, needed wedges and pads
Jack Trail Horse Yes Spotted Draft yes Just a very flashy horse with awesome feet and movement
Jazz, 2/2005 Trail Horse Yes TB No Had soft weak "Mushroom Feet" TB feet and wa sthe butt of his vet and farriers
jokes, now he's a perfect GRAVEL CRUNCHER!
Leaguer 1/2006 Trail Horse Yes QH No Navicular, needed 4 degree wedges and pads; became totally sound and his vet looking at his x-rays, declared he couldn't see any sign that the horse had ever had navicular.
Lucas, 3/2006
Trail Horse / Dressage / Pet Yes TB (off track) No

Was unsound in shoes and had extremely weak and sore feet complicated by
bad knees and thrush; a "can't go barefoot" horse.  He had thrush all through his transition and eventually that got to his knees and his owner reshod him. She couldn't understand that incredible pain in his heels would eventually affect his knees.
I'm sorry, Lucas, we tried...

Lyrical Hal,  1979 A Memorial Yes Standardbred Yes A memorial, a wonderful partnership...
Maple, 10/2005 Trail Horse No PMU Yes Perfect feet
Nasty A Memorial Yes QH Yes A memorial to the most special horse of a very,very special friend... Nasty had Cushing's, and trained Kathleen to reach out and help hundreds of other horses...
Nicky, 6/2005 Pasture Pet, 30+ YO No Arab Yes Perfect feet; see what 30-something legs look like when the feet have been
kept balanced for a horses lifetime! Mild Laminitis shots at the bottom of the page.
Nipper, 3/2006
Western Sport Horse Yes Q?H No

Nipper is one of those horses who has it all! She has a severe wall crack from a coronet injury, and started out with extremely contracted heels, Wry feet, horrible thrush, high heels, long toes and needed LOTS of body work for an assortment of old injurries.

There are great examples of Wry feet, flare, wall cracks and contracted heels on these pages!

The most important thing that Nipper has? A loving and devoted owner who provides anything Nipper needs. When I die, I want to come back as Jill's horse...

On the March 24 page there is a GREAT shot of dropped quarter flare!!

Piper, 6/2005 Dressage
Yes Swedish WB No WB Gelding that had a very hard transition because his soles were too thin when I pulled his shoes. Compared to what I do now, this was an invasive trim because I removed bar and trimmed the wall shorter than I do now.
Promise  10/2005 Western Sport Horse
Yes QH No GREAT illustrations of what toe-first movement vs correct looks like! Make sure to check out both pages! Also great pictures of contracted heels and Wry foot shape. Promise is a paint mare with tiny feet, very high heels and very rough gaits; long inside walls behind triggered stifle and hock symptoms; contracted heels, small feet
Rio 10/4/05 Dressage Yes TB No TB feet, needed wedges and pads
Robby Trail Horse Yes Arab Yes Perfect feet - a Gravel Cruncher!
Robo A Memorial Yes TB (off track) ?? Great memorial to an OTB with awesome feet and great heart...
Samson, 11/2005
Trail Horse / Western Sport Horse Yes QH No

Navicular, needed wedges and pads. Had wry feet as a
result of long term thrush that went undetected until the vet took X-Rays.

Samsons x-ray page shows the effect of long term weighting the outside walls or "Wry Foot" stance; the coffin bone remodels.

Scout 11/2005 Trail Horse, Aged Yes QH No Extreme, Navicular, needed wedges and pads
Shiraz 11/2005 Trail Horse Yes Arab No Extreme imbalance, thin soles and flare
Shivon,10/2005 Trail Horse Yes Paint ?? Founder. Pretty paint mare with extreme rotation.
Sonny 12/2006 Trail Horse Yes QH no

Fantastic turnaround from platter-flat feet with no concavity to a Gravel Cruncher.
This photo series left me speachless!

Stella A Memorial Yes Saddlebred No This mare never, ever stopped moving until she died...
Stretch 10/4/05 Trail Horse Yes Foxtrotter No Wobbled when he walked, unstable behind. Hock & stifle problems , needed wedges
and pads
Tramp Trail Horse Yes ? No Has Cushing's. feet were horribly imbalanced and long wall.
Tinker Trail Horse,
18 YO
No Welsh Pony Yes Perfect feet
Wink, 2006 Dressage / Trail Horse Yes Hanoverian No In process rehab of a mare that had "Seasonal Unsoundness"; in her case it was
probably a very subtle case of Thrush and Laminitis.
Zoe Broodmare Yes TB (off track) No

Zoe had been lame for years; her underlying problem was sub-solar abscessing that was a result of either environmentally induced injury or Cushing's... we'll never know the real cause. Good picture of a true "False Sole"


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