MamaTess Update. Not good, not horrible, nothing is certain… yet.

Thank you all for your well wishes yesterday.

I greatly, greatly appreciate the support.  It was a tough day and you all helped me prepare for today.


The vet came out to take Xrays today… (I had Xrays done right before that fateful trim… and she was fine.  That was two weeks ago…)

Silly me, I actually thought there would be no rotation.  You see, for all the laminitis I’ve seen in the past 23 years, never has there ever been rotation.

Until today.

It is not good – her future depends on the next week.  If we have been successful in stopping the cascade, then she will survive.  If she holds this amount of rotation, we can work with it.


As you know, the old tyme vet came out to help me with her on Thursday.  He felt very optimistic that she didn’t have any sinking and that we were dealing with abscesses.

I called the old tyme vet out to help me with Tess last week.  She was so uncomfortable.  Here she holds her foot in front of the fan.

I called the old tyme vet out to help me with Tess last week. She was so uncomfortable. Here she holds her foot in front of the fan.

And, the next day, she did show signs of abscess on her coronet band.

I felt good…  finally the abscesses were coming to the surface!  She would have relief.

Except, she only had minor relief.

He had put in poultice to draw out the abscesses and two burst on her coronet band.  I thought we would be home free now...

He had put in poultice to draw out the abscesses and two burst on her coronet band. I thought we would be home free now…



In the meantime, she wasn’t bouncing back as she had in the past.

To make things more difficult, Hubby had treated the well and when I soaked her hay, she wouldn’t eat it.  In fact, she wasn’t drinking any of her water.

As soon as I realized this, I remembered a Rubbermaid garbage can that I filled with water 8 years ago – in case our power went out and I couldn’t get water to the horses.  I have not used it and probably have only looked inside once in those 8 years.

I washed off the lid and opened it.

Phew.  Perfect well water.

I used that exclusively for her during the last three days so that she would have drinking water.

This is the garbage can that I had filled with water 8 years ago.

This is the garbage can that I had filled with water 8 years ago.


I wasn’t home, but the old tyme vet came out on Monday – just four days after he had been there – and was very concerned himself.  He wanted to do Xrays.  He said she didn’t look good and her coronet band felt wrong.  He thought she was sinking.


I knew she wasn’t bouncing back.

Hence my doom and gloom yesterday.  I was sick inside.

I tried to keep her comfortable.  I bedded her stall very, very deeply and bought fresh hay with a very low NSC level.

I tried to keep her comfortable. I bedded her stall very, very deeply and bought fresh hay with a very low NSC level.


The vet arrived at noon to take the Xrays.

Watching her be so stoic but in huge pain was killing all of us.

It took us an hour to take the Xrays.

She had rotation on the left that was bad – however she had enough sole to make it all workable if she didn’t rotate any more.

The right had only slight rotation.

However, she kept lifting her right foot.  She wasn’t standing on it well.

I listened, kinda numb.

I had thought she would be OK… I thought she had abscesses.

The bad news.

The bad news.


The vet carries clogs for foundered horses.  They can be padded to support the heel or walls or whatever area and they break over easily.

He applied those via casting material.

Tess gritted her teeth and let the vet do his thing.

She was so good.

He then tubed her with DMSO, which she hated.

I have never used that previously, ever.

Fixing the trim and preparing her feet for the clogs.

Fixing the trim and preparing her feet for the clogs.


As soon as we were done (3 hours later), Tess went back to her stall – haltingly and in pain – and immediately drank then went down.

She didn’t get up for 4 hours.  Flat out.  Very scary.

I went inside the house and nearly lost it.

Every time I ventured to the barn, she was down.

The last photo I took before she hit the deck and went down flat for 4 hours.

The last photo I took before she hit the deck and went down flat for 4 hours.

7:30 PM

I went out at 7:30 to find her by the tack room door…

Hmmmm.  She was still walking uncomfortably, but she was up and moving.

So, I gave her dinner.

She appeared by the tack room door. So, I gave her dinner!

She appeared by the tack room door. So, I gave her dinner!

She felt well enough to yell at Mayla.

She felt well enough to yell at Mayla.

I then decided to give her more clean water so I went into the wash rack and got her fresh bucket started.

Before I could fill it, she appeared!

She appeared at the wash rack as I was filling her water!  So I let her drink.

She appeared at the wash rack as I was filling her water! So I let her drink.

I heard a ruckus outside so I ventured out.

It was  just the dogs, playing…


The dogs had distracted me so I went outside of the barn.

The dogs had distracted me so I went outside of the barn.

When I came back in… I saw that Tess had moved to the back gate.

She had moved to the back gate.

She had moved to the back gate.


Yes, she is up.  Yes, she is moving in her new clogs… But, she had moved this much in the last few days and she still got worse and had rotation.

She wasn’t getting better.  She was getting worse.

So, I am not confident that she will recover.  I am not confident that she won’t recover.

I can only wait….


I continue to have her on the special meds and anti-inflammatory meds.  I have added the Remission.  I continue to use herbs…and low carb everything.

I have no idea how this will go.  But, I am not ready to lose her and I know that she is a fighter.

I guess my end note for tonight would be:

Don’t do what I did.

Make sure you understand your horse’s anatomy and foot structure before you agree to a trim on a foundered horse.

Understand the mechanics.

I wish I had…  I simply trusted.


The general consensus from all of the specialists I’ve contacted is that the trim – taking away her support system of walls and heels and leaving a protruded frog – put undue pressure on her pronounced frog which created intense bruising under her canon bone which created inflammation … and the rest is history.

Many of you have written to me saying that the Barefoot trim is a lifesaver… And maybe it is for your horse with his anatomy and his type of founder.  I’m not arguing successful result for others.  I’m happy that it worked!

But, for my mare… it was not correct for her type of founder and for her conformation.  In fact, that trim may be her undoing.

Not any one trim will work for all horses.  It is all about the mechanics.

Huge Lesson – that I didn’t want to learn.  But… I know now.

And so do you.

My very kind mare.

My very kind mare.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!







HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

19 comments have been posted...

  1. LadyFarrier

    I’m sorry, but it’s impossible for one trim to cause instant coffin bone rotation. Not possible. Rotation happens after long time laminitis, even if it’s subclinical. The bone doesn’t rotate, anyway, the hoof capsule does. Make the capsule match the foot and let it grow under better conditions. It sounds like she was getting close to dropping anyway (long explanation, but you can have it if you wish), and a poor trim was the last straw, setting off a chain of events. I’m very sorry that you’re going through this with your mare, and I wish you and your family the very best outcome. It doesn’t matter if your horse is bare or shod, trimming is the most important part of the job, and someone made a mistake and didn’t see the signs. Very best wishes from an old crabby farrier who’s seen it, done it, wore out the T-shirt, and knows her sh!t :)

  2. Seabiscute

    Dear Dawn, we are all with you as you suffer along with your dear girl Tess. I am glad your old-tyme vet is helping. You are so caring, you probably haven’t stopped to think how much better off Tess probably is with you than with someone else who is not as thought-ful. But she is.

    Biggest good vibes coming your way — and Tess’s.

  3. Kathleen Sutton

    I am so sorry to hear about Tess. My Morgan mare Lyric has had some tough episodes of laminitis. She is IR and was diagnosed about 6 years ago. She was on pergolide and thyroid medicine amd every fall almost to the day around the end of October she would be lame on both fronts. About four years ago there was rotation. Last fall it hit all fours, yep front and back. No more rotation but she was in terrible pain. My vet uses what he calls lilly pads. Him and my farrier are a blessing because they truly care and work well together. We tripled her dose of thyroid medicine, stopped the pergolide and started her on a pill called Prescend. My vet said that with pergolide you are never sure of the shelf life. She only gets minimal grain, about 1/4 cup morning and night. I soaked her hay. After a week of no improvement my vet gave her DMSO in an IV. One huge dose once a day for two days. The smell in the barn burnt my eyes and I could smell it in the house. I really never saw an animal in so much pain. She would lay for hours and my vet said to let her lay down as long as she wanted. He also stopped to check on her while I was at work and gave her an acupuncture treatment. I am blessed to have my vet. After about three weeks of this I was ready to have her put down if she didn’t improve by the end of the week. She finally started to shows signs of feeling better. She would stand more often for longer periods of time. She needed a trim and the vet came out a nerve blocked her back feet so she could stand for the trim. She slowly got better and is doing great. You would never know to look at her and watch her run and buck. I dread the fall, I think it is hormonal with her. I am sending prayers for you and Tess.

  4. Annette

    Dawn: Rotation is not a big deal. The horse can grow out a totally normal foot within a year. You have to eliminate the causes of the laminitis and continually lower the heels and take back the toe. It is scary to see them lie down, but actually it is beneficial. If they are in pain, it is natures signal to get off the feet. I just got through trimming my foundered/rotated gelding. It is best to do frequent micro-trims with a foundered horse. I trim him once a week. I can’t use shoes b/c I trim too often. I have used casting. But again. it prevents constant trimming. I don’t trim the outer sole callus at all. ( the outer 2/3 of the hoof). I just trim around the frog, lower the heels and take back the toe from the top. The hardest thing for owners to do is nothing. If you do nothing except trimming and Laminox from Uckele the hoof will heel itself. My horse Sparky has chronic laminitis because he is Insulin Resistant. I have him on magnesium, chromium, jiagulan, and trace minerals to balance the hay. I also alternate between omega horseshine for vitamin E and Equine Chia from Horsetech. Mamma Tess will heal. I am sure of it. Hang in there. I know all about the mood swings that correlate with my horses ouchy feet. I wish I just had a normal horse like everybody else. One that has no health issues. HAH!

  5. Robynne Catheron

    Dear Dawn, bless your heart. You must be just aching over your Tess’s pain. Please know that prayers and positive thoughts and virtual hugs are on their way to you both.
    Shannon Carner of Carner Equine Podiatry in Virginia is the best in the business (after Pete Ramey and Jaime Jackson), and is willing to travel anywhere. She has clients as far as China aand Australia, and her success rate with founder is phenomenal. She has a very good page on founder. Also, I highly recommend reading the article “Distal Descent of P3” by Pete Ramey. Both websites are easily found on Google, both articles are written for us laymen, and you will be extremely knowledgeable about founder afterward.

    Keep your hopes up, God answers prayer :)

  6. may

    Dawn – I wish I could give you a hug right now, and sit for a while with you in the barn with Mama Tess. You are the most engaged, loving, knowledgeable, and heroic horse owner I know. Tess knows you’re there for her, doing everything you can. Hang in there!

  7. Mary

    Oh Dawn…BigHUGS for you and healing prayers/light to Mama Tess.

    Hindsight is always 20/20 but the one good thing about your blog is it’s alerting your readers to THINK about different options if their horses ever get laminitis. Your blog is so informative about alot of products/issues. I know it is because of you, my Dolly is on Omega Alpha products and moving better because of it. I know it’s your blog that introduced me to Equine Colic Relief. Heck, it’s even helped me in the “underwear” department with your link to Riders Warehouse. ( :-D ) The list can go on and on.

    Again, healing thoughts to Mama Tess.

  8. David

    Dawn, I am so sorry to hear about Tess and the bad trim. We use the remission on our horses and it seems to do a good job keeping the hind gut working and the DSMO should help with the inflammation and subsequently the pain. We were lucky not to get any rotation so didn’t have to deal with that. We did have to stop a vet in his tracks once when Maya foundered because he took out a hoof knife and was going to start cutting without even asking or explaining (very scary). I must say that the trim that you describe is certainly not a wild horse barefoot trim at all. It is the kind of trim that gives barefoot a bad name. We have been using a wild horse trim studied and developed by Jamie Jackson for years and I can attest as many others can that the trimming method that Jamie developed will never cause harm to a hoof. This is a trim developed out of studies that Jamie did of the wild horses of the great basin. If you want to learn more please go to this website (association for the advancement of natural horse care practices). I do know that you are in pain and under a lot of stress now with your girl Tess because I have been there before with mine and I wish for Tess a great recovery. It sounds like the vet you have on the job knows his stuff. I do hope that when things are better and you have some time you will look into the AANHCP and their horse keeping methods. Nothing that they recommend would ever cause harm to a horse and the trim methods have been a saving grace in the lives or our beautiful horses. I should say that my only affiliation is that I use the wild horse trim on my horses. My best to you and all of yours. David Schmidt

  9. Barbara Wood

    Dawn–sending virtual hugs and prayers for you and precious Mama Tess, as well as wise decisions for your vet. I can’t even imagine the pain you are in, and I dread the day it comes for us. Thank you for keeping us posted.

  10. KD Huff

    Pulling for Mama Tess. I’ve only been through one bout of laminitis with my mare and it was scary enough. You are one tough lady…. hang in there…don’t beat yourself up…. Tess is a lucky horse to have you.

  11. Jill

    I have not written to you before. However, I’ve been reading your blog and keeping up with you for quite some time. In fact, I feel as if you are my friend. Just want to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and expecially MamaTess.

  12. Mary Wilson

    I know how gut-wrenching founder can be. My Arab mare foundered in her right front a few years ago, fortunately with only a little rotation, similar to that in the right side photo of MT. My farrier is the best in this area at treating foundered horses. We put support shoes/wraps on both front feet, did only minor trimming to even out her feet trim and simply let her feet and soles grow out around the foot until she had enough to support the rotation. Took several weeks, and now we leave her front feet long, but even. I pray every day that she does not have another episode and I pray Mama Tess recovers and has no more rotation. My thought are with you both.

  13. Kathy Anderson

    Good luck to you with Mama Tess. It is so hard when our horses get older & the problems take longer to resolve.

  14. Deborah Carlino

    Please don’t beat yourself up! In reading your blog this past year, you second guess yourself all the time. You did what you thought was best, Mama Tess knows that. We all know that. Just keep taking care of her the best you can (as I’m writing this through tears for you and Tess). Hang in there and know you have the prayers from all your readers.

  15. Jean Brown

    I am so sorry that Tess is still having problems. Do not panic when she is lying down though. It is good for her to lie down and get her weight off of her feet.

  16. Kelly Kujawa

    so sorry for all you r going thru with ur beloved horse. Jesus please make it get better now please do.

  17. Chris

    Dawn, I just wanted to let you know that prayers are winging their way from me to you and your beautiful girl. Keep your chin up (as we say here in England), I know how painful this must be for you but just wanted you to know that we are thinking of you! Chris xx

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