Recurring Abscess with bone loss at P3

This horse developed some recurring abscesses in the right hind foot. They abscessed out, both at the bottom and directly above at the coronet. All together there were about four significant abscesses over the course of a year, that came out at the top. After that the horse stopped abscessing.

The hooves looked reasonable to begin with, but had excess concavity (sole contraction) in the hind feet. After the abscessing the sole contraction normalised and the hoof demonstrated normal concavity.

X-rays showed bone loss of the medial tip of the pedal bone.

The photos show the difference at sole level 5 years apart. Note how the damage is reflected in the sole contour. The horse now has a much healthier foot. Despite the bone loss, sole production has recovered and a bit of extra laminar horn is filling the gap.

Right Hind hoof, 5 years apart

Despite the bone loss, the focus on developing a hoof with integrity, allowed the area to heal over. Only a small amount of widened white line remains in that area. Other than that, the white line appears tight and the horse has not been lame since the last abscess burst.

More than likely, the sole contraction contributed to the tissue and bone damage in that area. The abscessation was the body’s mechanism to remove any foreign body (bone fragments in this case). Once those were out, the area could heal over.

Continuing Education and Holistic Hoofcare Seminar in the USA

I had this great opportunity to be invited to present at the ESANA CE and the Holistic Hoofcare Foundation Seminar in the USA a couple of weeks ago.

What a great bunch of people. And, as so often happens in these seminars, some great aha-moments were had by the participants. When you see a horse change from tense and tight in the muscles with a toe-first loading stride, to one that relaxes, drops the shoulder blade, and strides out better – just in the one demo trim – that is truely special.

Even more exciting when you get feedback like this:

“… I got the most significant release indicators I’ve seen in ages….craned his neck all the way around, ears up and big licks and chews.  Moreover, he moved so much better right away and particularly in the morning when we got a blanket of light snow to usher in a new era. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude. “

“I can not recommend Thorsten Kaiser more! He gave an outstanding seminar this week. I highly recommend him to anyone remotely horsey related. “

Interested in our Seminars or Professional Training? click here.

Equitana Auckland 2019

Thorsten will be presenting two seminars in this year’s Equitana in Auckland.

You can download the exact time table from here, once it is available.

Understanding the difference between Laminitis and Founder

Friday, 22nd November, 14:30 | Equine Mind Coach Classroom 1

When people get asked about the difference between these two conditions, often the answer is that they are the same thing. However, they aren’t. This presentation is going to explore what Laminits and Founder mean to the horse and hoof, how they can be recognised, how they can be differentiated from each other, how they interrelate, how they can be treated, and most importantly, how they can be prevented.

The presentation is going to show that Laminitis and Founder are not mysterious conditions they are often made out to be, but rather that they can be dealt with logically and systematically.

Boot Fitting Strategies – How to make Booting work for you!

Saturday, 23rd November 09:30 | Equine Mind Coach Classroom 2

In Saddle-Fitting, there are two main strategies to fit saddles: 1) fit to the existing horse’s back, and 2) fit to where the horse’s back is intended to develop towards and fit for that. In Boot-fitting, we find the same two strategies.

This presentation is going to discuss the two approaches and weigh up their pro’s and con’s with each other. After the presentation, you will be able to make a more informed decision on which approach might be more suitable for your horse.

Looking at Bar Distortion

Here a nice little dissection video of a hoof in the way we look at hooves at our hoofcare seminar. It’s always great to see when people walk away from a seminar with enriched understanding.

A little video for you to share my excitement as I dissect a frog out to peek inside this foot!Hoof

Posted by The study of the equine hoof on Saturday, 24 August 2019

The key thing to understand here, but not mentioned in the video, is that some internal structures, aka pedal bone, navicular bone, and deep digital flexor tendon are descening slightly on weight bearing. When you see how little space there is from the top of the collateral groove to those descending structures, then it starts to make sense, that if the horn is not “moving out of the way”, aka is not descending as well, the soft-tissue in between will get compressed. Since this is is uncomfortable to the horse, the horse will choose not to load the back part of the hoof, i.e. it will not demonstrate a heel-first loading in movement or it will stand under when at rest. Unfortunately, this is easily mistaken for conformational issues, or we here statements like “that’s just how this horse is”, but we must realise that is a compensation issue.

The purpose of trimming such a foot must be to establish the correct deflection of the hoof capsule in the compromised araes and with that establishing comfort. This will alter the way the horse chooses to load the feet in movement and rest. In order to achieve this, the trim must focus on the internal structures and hoof deformations at corium level, rather than aiming for a certain look on the outside. Illustrated here.

If you would like to improve your understanding of the hoof, come and attend one of our seminars.

Trimming Impact On Horse Stance

Why do we see this instant change? Horses choose a stance that is most comfortable to them, or rather, is least painful for them. In the before-trim photos, the horse unloads the heels by standing under and putting more weight on the toes. Once the hooves are trimmed for comfort, then the horse finds it quite pleasant to load the heels and chooses to stand with vertical cannon bones, which allows it to use it’s stay-apparatus.

These photos show the immediate impact of a physiologically correct trim on a horse’s stance. On the left is how the horse chose to stand when it was “due” for a trim.  Here we see how it stands under with the front end and compensates by standing under with the backend. Immediately after a trim, the horse chose to stand “square”, aka vertical canon bones.

This illustrates the meaning when a horse is “due” for a trim. It should not be driven by a trimming interval as we set it in the calendar, but rather should be dictated by the horse’s comfort level, which we can gauge by its way of standing. If it chooses not to stand with vertical canon bones, then the horse is compensating for some discomfort in the body. This can be a number of things, or combinations thereof. However, more often than not, as shown in these cases, the hooves are a major contributor.


Below an update of this horse. At the next trim, 3 weeks later, the horse is standing under again, see blue lines. I also placed the original red lines on it from the first comparison. However, the horse is not standing under quite as much. Immediatly post-trim, the horse stands square again.

This hightlights the point made above. As time progresses between trims, most horses tend to start compensating for uncomfortable feet again. A physiological trim can remove the pain sources and allow the horse to stand correctly. Trimming intervals must be chosen based on when the horse starts to compenstate, rather than an arbitary date in the calendar.

Another aspect to point out, the better the boarding conditions support the horse’s needs, the later the compensation will set in.

De-contracting a 6-year-old’s hooves

6yo with very contracted feet. I cropped the toes off so we can just focus on the heels and bulbs. Note the distorted bulb line, the central sulcus pushed very high and narrow, and the medio-lateral heel angles very shallow. On the right, greatly improved hoof morphology and a horse with a much better loading pattern and muscle tone. Done over 24 trims.

Before trim and after 24 trims

Hoof With Frog Removed

This dissection shows how the collateral groove is distorted upwards into the hoof (yellow line left). In relation to that you can see how long and incorrectly proportioned the bar is. The green line shows how the bar should run and where the bottom of the collateral groove should be. The yellow line is too close to the DDFT and the Navicular Bone and the full bar blocks the horn movement in that area. The result: horse with heel pain. Barefoot trimming should work towards the green line to get the horse comfortable again. This means one has to trim for change, not maintenance in a case like this.