What is hoof orthopedic treatment?
Orthopedics is the branch of medicine that addresses the correction and prevention of deformities, disorders, and injuries of the skeleton and associated structures. This includes the horse’s hooves as part of the musculoskeletal system. A Hoof Orthopedist carefully examines and works within the natural mechanics and physics of the horse’s musculoskeletal system and applies hoof physics.
One main advantage compared to other trimming methods: No abrupt changes of the limbs!
The main difference between hoof orthopedics and conventional hoof trimming is the departure from the practice of radical hoof wall cutting. A crooked hoof wall will still be crooked if you merely cut it. Instead, the negative forces which have deformed the hoof are reversed through continuous and precision working on the hoof by applying abrasion where there was none before. Parts that were not used and were causing instability are now included in the overall load. The horse can now use its limb differently and will walk its way into a naturally corrected shape. Corrected physiological development will begin when new horn material is produced as a result of the very first treatment!
The principal goal is the healing of unphysiological hoof conditions rather than simply treating the symptoms, each hoof's individual and unique shape will be considered.
Founder of OrthoHoof ® - Hoof Orthopedic treatment in New York
Certified Hoof Orthopedist of the German Institute of Hoof Orthopedics
Trainee Instructor / CEO since 2003, serving and teaching clients throughout Central Europe since 2001
Quarter Horse Breeder and licensed Trainer
What we offer
Treatment of unphysiological hoof conditions
Effective and regular hoof care should be a priority, one that enables the horse to have the best possible quality of life. The objective is to achieve the best possible condition for each individual hoof of each unique horse, taking into account its genetic predispositions and any diseases during this process.
Common conditions include:
Navicular disease, joint or cartilage disease, laminitis, lines, cracks, bruises, and abscesses.
These are common diagnoses to a certified hoof orthopedist and can be prevented through hoof orthopedic treatment. For the most part, these conditions are caused by deformations of the hoof. Therefore it is helpful to look for a correct assessment of the hoof before the horse shows signs of lameness or other symptoms.
Change from shod hoof to barefoot
Treating hoof diseases is only possible by regular trimming in short intervals on the unshod hoof. To change undesirable conditions the horn needs to be exposed to abrasion to make revision effective.
Shoes will not repair those conditions. They actually become unnecessary once the hooves are trimmed properly and the horse is given time for recovery.
A shod hoof suffers from a lack of stimulation from being fixated on the stiff iron. As a result the hoof produces horn of inferior quality. In addition, the hoof wall is perforated by the nail holes and often is marked by cracks and fissures. This can lead to the breaking off of larger parts of the horn. As a result, the horse may instinctively walk on the sole exclusively for a while but the sole is not suited to carry the weight of the horse by itself, therefore, there must be a transitional period where the hoof can improve and better quality material can grow back.
There is no such thing as a horse "being too old" to go barefoot since the natural production of hoof horn material does not alter with age.
There is no healthy horse without healthy hooves. Unphysiological hoof conditions - hooves that are not in balance - have a negative impact on the overall health of the horse.
Hoof orthopedics is the key component for treatment options of pre-existing or degenerative defective conditions which cause severe problems in the horse’s biomechanical system and affect the ability to move properly.
Through treatment, the horn can develop in a positive way and its physical state will improve.
Visible results and improvements of the hoof condition can usually be achieved within a short time frame.
"What a magician Nadine is! For the first time in 52 years, not one of my horses need to wear shoes. This is due to her special trimming method. I am so pleased!"
Juckas Stables, Bullville, NY
Blue Arrow Farm, Pine Island
"It will be 4 years I have owned my Jewel, an 11 year old quarter horse mare, and for 4 years I have been working with her feet . I did not realize Jewel had a club foot when I first got her but I quickly learned that she had major hoof issues. Until I met Nadine all I could do was keep Jewel comfortable while trying to find the answer to fix her. I have tried : Cloud boots, special shoes, different medications, and salt soaks to name a few, all costly and very time consuming. Three months ago, Nadine started working with Jewel and she has literally changed her life and mine. I used to fear when the farrier would come, cutting and shoeing would leave Jewel lame for days. When Nadine finishes working on Jewel with no cutting, no shoes my mare is comfortable and sound . Anyone looking for that answer to prayer when it comes to horses with hoof issues, Nadine with OrthoHoof is definitely the way to go!"
Sunny and his mom, Jo-Ann Floridia
"I met Nadine when my horse Sunny had been lame for almost two months. I had three veterinarians and two farriers check him. They all told me the same thing. He would require pain medication and stall rest . I was also told I would have to consider putting him down at some point. A friend told me about Nadine. She came and checked him. She told me he would get relief but she had to treat him monthly and I had to stop his bute. She explained her method was different than what we have in the US. I trusted her immediately. Sunny has not been lame for more than 18 months. He is being ridden and his hoof walls are almost normal. I cannot describe the depth of my gratitude for this Lady and her methods. I stopped crying and Sunny jumps and kicks on his way out to pasture."
Chloe, a 9-year old Quarter Horse mare, had been diagnosed with two abscesses. She was given "special shoes" ( see below ) that were intended to protect her from...
What does the ideal hoof look like?
The ideal hoof is a healthy hoof which has a load that is distributed uniformly, meaning that each part of the horn capsule carries weight equally in the moment of the limb`s main load. The structure in the horn capsule sets the shape individually for each hoof.
The hoof orthopedist makes sure that the hoof becomes more balanced - not by radical wall cutting but by applying specific precision filing techniques.
Is there a complete cure for laminitis?
Yes, there is! Taking into consideration the biomechanical processes that are occurring and knowing that it is not the coffin bone that rotates but rather the horn capsule in which the bone is held, the consequences of laminitis and the changes to the hoof capsule are 100% reversible by hoof orthopedic treatment. Even chronic conditions are curable depending on how much the sublamellar dermis is already damaged - the best possible conditions are achievable.
Why the short intervals?
The horn of the hoof wall grows about 8mm (about 5/16ths) per month. Depending on the usage of the horse, the corresponding material at the bearing edge is exposed to ground reacting forces that can deform the horn permanently. With the first treatment, the new horn grows back to a new shape. From there on the hoof orthopedist does not wait until the hoof gets out of shape again because only short maintenance intervals guarantee the further restoration of its natural physiological shape.
Can every horse go barefoot?
Metal shoes provide protection from abrasion when the abrasion rate exceeds the rate at which the hoof can grow new horn material. This condition was common in the past and occurred when horses were used for hard labor for many hours a day presenting shoeing as an indispensable option. Today we have alternatives, temporary hoof protection without the negative effects that shoes will invariably cause, this also allows for convenient treatment at any time when required.
New Windsor, NY 12553, USA