A Shetland pony that to all intents and purposes looked as if it had foundered in the hind feet was brought to one of my early clinics. The front feet were fine which didn’t seem to be logical as most ponies will founder in the front feet first, seldom just in the back feet. If you look closely at Pic 1 you will observe from the nipper marks that someone had attempted to just trim the toes. The story was that two farriers had in fact visited this pony a month or two apart, and the last one was only two weeks before the pony was brought to me.

On inspecting the pony’s feet, I found that none of the sole had been trimmed out, none of the frog had been trimmed out (refer Pic 2) and the pony was actually walking on the bulbs of the heels. On quizzing the owners, this pony had been like this for eight or nine months, in desperate need of hoof trimming and through complete lack of understanding of the horse’s hoof, neither of these farriers had been able to resurrect the hooves for the pony and had in fact told the owner that the pony had foundered beyond repair. They had both been paid for what they had done and the owners had been left anything but satisfied. The owners had then had the feet x-rayed, and found that there was no rotation of the pedal bone which gave me great hope.

In front of a class of 12 people, I then began to clean out the sole and pare the frog back. I found that there was about two inches of excess hoof wall at the toe which then allowed me to cut the heels down enough to achieve frog contact with the ground, thus restoring the pony’s feet to normal in one trimming (Pic 3)

This resulted in amazement from the class participants, tears of joy from the female owner and understandable anger from the male owner at the performance of the previous farriers. I then warned the owners that it would take a few days for the tendons to become accustomed to their new position and the pony should be rested. An email from the owners a week later stated ‘….we learned so much, but best of all is the complete turnaround of Cuddles. She is running around with real joy! In fact she has become extremely cheeky.’