Can things get worse before they get better?

Hello and welcome. There are many discussion forums on the topic of barefoot hoofcare out there and lots of people ask very interesting and valid questions. Due to the fact that most of our SHP's are very busy and spend their time on helping the horses in need, rather than browsing through all these discussion forums and maling lists, we have decided to put together this Frequently Asked Questions list to aid the questions being addressed.

If you find your question is not on this list, feel free to use the link provided to submit your question.

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SHP Team

Can things get worse before they get better?

Postby tkaiser on Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:19 pm

Someone told me that sometimes a horse can get worse before it gets better. Is this right?

It is important to understand that damage can exist in the horse's hooves that goes undetected. It is possible that the suspension of the coffin bone is compromised or even completely lost in an outwardly appearing healthy hoof. Restoring hoof mechanism, therefore circulation and nerve function, will reveal this damage. The horse will present lame. Think about you cutting yourself in a frosty morning, when your fingers are really cold. You will only feel the pain of the cut after your fingers have "thawed-up", i.e. blood circulation is back and the nerves are functioning again.

This damage can also lead to an inflammation response, which is part of the healing process. While this inflammation leads to a faster metabolism and healing in the affected area, it also comes with hypersensitivity, i.e. the horse feels more pain in this area. The main purpose of this pain is to tell the horse to be careful and not overuse the injured area. This process is very well understood in humans and is the same process in horses.

Because of the correlation between the trim and the lameness, it is a common mistake to say that the trim caused the lameness. But in these cases, long term damage from improper hoof shape, possibly even shoeing, is the true cause. It is likely that this lameness was already showing to a small degree before the trim.

SHP's have been trained to identify when this may occur and will brief you if it is suspected in your horses. They are also trained to be able to handle any complications that might present. Remember, SHP's all over the world have successfully restored health to cases of founder with or without coffin bone protrusion by applying The Strasser MethodTM. And many horses have been transitioned to barefoot by this approach without showing any of these signs, some have even done 40km Endurance Rides 2 months trimming commenced. It very much depends on what your starting point is.
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