top of page

Rehab Update- Navicular in Horses

Rehabbing a horse with navicular, navicular syndrome or whatever label you want to put on it, is not easy.  To say this has been a long and bumpy ride is an understatement.   You can read a previous post here on this same horse.

April 2012

Trying out a new farrier:  Hoping he is addressing the underrun heels and long toes,  Horse exhibiting heel pain, off and on again lame, short choppy strides, persistent thrush in spite of soaking, treating nearly every day for weeks and weeks….

Oct.  2013

Splash has gone from bad to worse.  He is now in excruciating pain after what I THOUGHT was a reputable farrier addressing my horse’s hoof issues – long toes, low heels and heel pain, lameness (natural trimmer too nonetheless who professed to be an expert in the field).  This horse was in SO much pain I seriously considered the kinder thing to do would be to put him down.  I could not stand to see him in pain and felt things were beyond repair.  Thankfully we kept trying.  Keep reading!

fall 2012 

  In the above photo the left front has already been trimmed.  Splash was looked at by the former farrier just days before this photo was taken when I called to let him know the horse was in terrible pain and please come and look AGAIN at the long toes, low heels.  I fully expected him to come out and trim some toe off!!  Even my untrained eye knew this was not a ‘balanced’ hoof.  I was told it is fine- no problem with the trim.  He described the hooves as ‘balanced’ and said the vet who took the xrays showing negative palmer angles ‘did it wrong’.  Whatever.   New farrier came and took these photos and trimmed as much as he could in one trim.  Splash was immediately more comfortable.  I had a glimmer of hope!!

Enter Lauren Michelle McGarry of Red Horse Equine Arts!  Lauren Michelle came to our rescue when the farrier who took the photos above was booked.  Even though LM lives a distance from me she was willing to travel and do what was necessary to give Splash his best shot at getting better.   LM could take you thru this process and give all the technical jargon of what she did with her trims.  I will spare you that and just encourage you to contact her directly and ask away!   I can say she was patient with Splash, who now was hard to trim due to sore feet and a fair bit of farrier anxiety!

Lauren Michelle helped me get Splash fitted with EasyBoots and pads.  He has been wearing them all winter as well as getting regular trims.  I had him on a supplement with natural anti-inflammatories from SmartPak called Rehab Pellets.  He also is on Joint Jolt.  

This is Splash in mid March:

coming in from pasture before his trim

after trim, with boots

after trim without boots

Splash is showing some soreness still in these videos although not a lot– he typically does move a little off after a trim due to standing on 3 feet.   The trims usually take longer than what is normal, due to my farrier’s trimming speed but also still overcoming Splash’s inability to stand quietly with a hoof up for long periods of time.  I think it is partially a behavioral thing and partially a pain thing– but the good news is he is getting better and better!  He is SUCH a good horse it is not in his nature to be resistant or pushy so I am not worried.  I see as we address the feet issue and he is pain free, the behavior improves.  

I took the photos and videos that follow today.

His heels have come WAY back since 9 months ago.

Even in this still photo you can see he is more relaxed thru his body and extending his foot more forward.

He is standing more square as well.  His feet are more under him.  At his worse, he would stand stretched out in what looked like a founder stance.  He had stretched white line with damaged lamini from the long toes in addition to heel pain from the low heels.  Poor boy!!! 

He is coming along.  More than being able to see changes in his hoof is being able to see changes in his movement and lack of pain.  SO grateful to see that.  

I did not have the heart to take video when Splash was lame.  It was hard to see him like that– and for him to be lame more times than not.  I didn’t want to record it but now I wish I had so I could show you the progress.  Believe me to see him making progress is such a relief!  

The video was filmed while Splash was boot and bute free!  I typically put Easy Boots on him but lately he seems to be doing well without.

PS- Please ignore the dog!  His favorite time is when the horses are turned out and he can chase them in the pasture- so he was annoyed they weren’t going out to pasture- as was I AND Splash!  🙂 

It does my heart good to see Splash buck out on pasture now.  We are seeing light at the end of the tunnel!! Lauren Michelle and I both feel he is going to be sound and recover from this ‘man-made’ terminal condition!

Happy trails!


Update:  June 22, 2013 issues Another farrier change has taken place.  Due to time and travel issues and the fact that Splash was not cooperating with LMM I had Mike Bagley come back and trim Splash.  Splash was developing a habit of pulling away from LM and making it difficult for her to trim him.  Sometimes this was due to pain but I could see now it was a becoming bad manners as he has been in less and less pain.  Splash was standing quiet for me to work on his feet, even untie and loose in the arena so I made the decision to not put LM thru struggling with him anymore and called the previous farrier who did a nice job on Splash to come back.  Mike works fast and handled Splash well.   I can see this is what this horse needed.  First time Mike was out he trimmed Splash in about 20-25 min.  Splash tried a couple times to pull away but didn’t get away with it and very quickly stood nicely.

I am very pleased to say I have begun riding Splash as he is staying sound.  I rode him last week 3 x – trying to keep him at a walk for the most part so he can build back condition.  We have taken some leisurely rides on farm fields and country lanes.  Initially I can feel he has some tension and apprehension as we start off with somewhat choppy steps but is soon walking freely and with nice, long, relaxes strides.  I think he was in pain for so long he braces himself expecting to hurt so needs a bit to see it will be okay.   I can see Splash is enjoying himself too as the fear of pain goes away.  I am not asking for tight turns although I can see he is pivoting on his own at liberty which is very good.

This horse is one of those ‘one-in-a-million’ no spook, point and go, responsive and well behaved trail horses that everyone wants.  Whoever had him before me (I got him out of a kill pen 3 years ago) put some time into his training.  He is very well trained- rides light and responsive but not at all hot headed or pushy in any way.   That is one of the reasons the ‘farrier issue’ of not standing did not make sense from an over all look at this horse and his way of being.  He is one of the most willing and sweet horses to ride and handle otherwise.  I ride out alone and even with no riding in over a year I could hop on and go back on our old stomping grounds.  He has been worth the effort to get him comfortable!!   My plan from this point is to continue slow and steady and get him back physically in condition as much as possible.  I have no doubt years of hoof pain have taken a toll on his joints so I have him on a good joint supplement too.  I am continuing to hope for the best!

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page