Chapter 18 – What can you do to help the professional you have employed?

Regardless of whether or not the professional ‘expert’ you’ve employed is also the same person who will be physically working on the case, there are a few things that will be helpful

It will be helpful to maintain short intervals between trims, usually two to three weeks between trims for some length of time before lengthening the intervals, as the feet get healthier. It will be helpful to try to do minor touch-ups in-between trim visits. This is a good idea because you can help your farrier / trimmer maintain proper balance in the feet in-between his or her visits. If you are not physically able to do so, don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world. It would merely be of help.

You can also help by maintaining written logs of your horse. The logs can be as detailed or as cryptic as you like, but the more detail you can provide, the better. This is a good idea because you can start to see patterns in behavior, health and so on. These daily (or weekly) logs can be shared with your vet and farrier so they can get a clearer picture of how your horse is doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Good detail to include would be the date and time, weather information, feed information, general behavior of the horse, exercise and movement information, condition of the ground surfaces, amount of time grazing and / or stall time, and what the horse’s overall mental state was that day. Always insure you list anything out of the ordinary that happens; such as the day you first suspect an abscess brewing or the day it ruptures, the day medications where given and what they were, the day any type or amount of feed was changed (even hay), and be sure to note the subtle changes in personality or behavior. Not all will be bad, but be sure to list both good and bad. No detail is too small or insignificant. The one detail you pass off as insignificant can very well be the one key that makes all the other pieces of the puzzle fit together for a given situation. The smallest details often times play the largest rolls in determining cause and affect. They may hold the single key to clear understanding and help make the correct diagnosis of a given problem so that the correct course and treatment may be started.

Another good idea to keep, along with the daily logs, is a photographic journal. Usually these are most affective if done just prior to and just after a trim, but they can be done at any time. Pay close attention to taking correct pictures of the feet and of the body. Any other pictures you would like to take (I call them scenery pictures) are up to you.

Another very necessary and useful tool to work from are x-rays. They are vitally important to making sure the proper amount of work is done and in just the right way. Without x-rays we cannot determine if or how much a coffin bone has rotated. Refer above to get instructions on how to take them. When to take them would be prior to the first trim by the founder specialist and at least every six months after that until your specialist releases you from the treatment program. Occasionally, it will be a good idea to have x-rays taken every three months, but six months is the usual norm. Every second set of x-rays can be just the lateral views if finances are an issue. That would mean that the first set should be a full set (laterals and front/back, known as A/P views), then the next set can be just laterals. They simply help to visually see the progress that’s been made and will help to determine if any changes are needed to the trim in order to continue the progress.

Your horse may have special needs or requirements outside of the founder issue. Never hide any pertinent information about your horse. Previous injuries, illnesses, previous founder episodes, any metabolic issues, etc. should be remembered and disclosed. Your horse’s treatment plan may be influenced by it and progress could be hindered by not disclosing it.