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I met Levi on July 6th, 2009.  He had recently been taken to the veterinarian for radiographs of the front hooves and was diagnosed with incurable founder.

In the words of his owner Priscilla, "On June 4th, '09  we went for a second opinion.  After looking at the x-rays, the vet looked me in the eye and said "I can give you no hope for him, he is not safe to ride".  I thanked him for his honesty, paid my bill and left with my horse.  Approximately the 1st of July, I was able to contact Blaine.  Over the phone he was giving me instructions on proper feeding.  On July 6th of '09, Blaine came for the first trim.  At that time he recommended the blood test and to remove the stall mats and put in pea gravel for footing.  The first time we had the gravel down, Levi romped and played in it.  That was the first time in months we saw him playful.  Blaine has been a real God send to us and Levi."

Priscilla was referred to Owl Canyon Hoof Rehab from another veterinarian and trainer in Cheyenne, so she gave us a call... Immediately we went to work recommending:

  • Have a blood test done to determine how bad his insulin/glucose ratio was currently at

  • Advised the owner to take him off grain, and start soaking his hay to eliminate the excess carbohydrates in his diet and level off his metabolism

  • Suggested that she provide an area of pea gravel for him to stand in to help support his coffin bones and provide stimulation to promote new sole growth. She filled the barn floor and paddock area with 4" of small  pea gravel. 

On the first trim there was 3/4" of exposed red keratinized lamellar* wedge showing between the sole and the hoof wall. We followed the founder trim protocol as set fourth by studies performed at Auburn University. This involved removing the load bearing forces on the hoof walls and lowered his heels to bring the coffin bone back into proper alignment. This made Levi much more comfortable. The load bearing forces will be kept off the hoof walls until complete reconnection of the dermal laminae of the coffin bone and the epidermal laminae of the hoof wall has been achieved. There are two important reasons for doing this:

  • To place the break over in the correct relationship to the coffin bone allowing for proper movement of the horse.

  • Without a strong connection of the hoof wall to the coffin bone the hoof will fail reattachment to the coffin bone leaving hoof wall unable to physically carry any load without further damage.


Once the hoof walls attain reattachment to the coffin bone with healthy laminae, they will then be trimmed to the appropriate length to equally share the load with the sole and frog.

Priscilla started exercising him on a regular basis using Easyboot Epics with 1/2" comfort pads. She started with 20 minute walks and was riding him several miles within a few weeks! The following pictures show the progression of healing. As of January 2010 he is completely sound with only 1/2" of detached hoof wall left to grow out.

See the gallery below to see Levi's journey back to health.

Levi Fully Recovered

*Keratinized Lamellar - The epidermis consists of a keratinized stratified squamous epithelium and undergoes an orderly pattern of proliferation, differentiation, and keratinization. These lipids are arranged into lamellar sheets that constitute the epidermal permeability barrier. (ScienceDirect.com)