Lindsay Cotterell DAEP, Dip.IAZ



"Never a truer word spoken".  


The Managing body of the RDA establishment owning this pony contacted me following advice from their vet.  The vet advised removal of her shoes and to start a program to address hoof imbalance.  Several years had past since this pony fractured her pedal bone and historic xrays showed this had completely healed.  However, recent xrays confirmed the visual indicators of hoof imbalance and poor palmar health (health to the rear of the hoof), were causing uneven joint alignment, lameness and ground parallel P3 (Coffin Bone) - as shown below by toe dubbing, pinching of frog by shoe, loss of wall structure resulting in higher placement of nails and a poorly fitted shoe.  The combination of hoof imbalance, very weak internal arch apparatus had led to ground parallel P3 and excessively high placement of nails to sensitive structures.  She displayed a short and choppy stride and her compensatory postural stance was exacerbating back pain.  She was unsound on all four hooves.










When the shoes were removed it becomes even clearer why her fear of pain was acutely justified.  Here you can see all periphral wall matrix had been removed.  The frog, heels and palmar processors of P3 and navicular apparatus were receiving the full weight of the horse and this was the case for each hoof, with and without shoes.  The removal of the wall matrix, imbalance and ground parallel P3 all combined, meant that the very structures that should be protected from impact, namely P3 and navicular apparatus, were constantly receiving the full force of impact and weight of the horse.


To alleviate this discomfort, and provide the support needed Poly Flex Wraps were applied for two cycles and the material moulded into a periphral wall. Not only did this provide the support required to weak structures, it critically allowed for controlled, 3 dimensional distortion to start the process of recovery and regrowth of structures.  Hooves were clean traxed through the Poly Flex Wrap.


This pony was clearly in discomfort and it was having an effect on her behaviour which meant she could not be used for her very important and responsible role of helping and teaching disabled and able bodied people to ride.  Each farrier visit had become an increasingly stressful experience for the pony to the point where a higher and higher level of sedation was being used and even a twitch. This was also causing stress and concern to all those involved and could not continue.

The first xrays with blue markers gives an example of a healthy internal arch and correct suspension of P3.  This hoof will be able to utilise and dissipate dynamic and static energy correctly upon impact and throughout the stride phases.  It will also provide a solid foundation of support for the whole horse, with balanced joint alignment and enable the suspensory and stay apparatus to work efficiently and correctly.


The shod hoof and pink markers displays a hoof with a very poor internal arch apparatus - ground parallel P3.  This horse will be experiencing pain and discomfort during dynamic and static movement as the forces of impact will be felt directly into sensitive structures, the palmar processors of P3 (2 protruding areas at the back of P3), the navicular apparatus and throughout the body of the horse resulting in postural changes leading to discomfort.


A good way to describe the discomfort of a ground parallel P3 is to imagine repeatedly jumping from a height, landing flat footed and without bending your knees !

Example of a healthy and unhealthy Internal Arch Apparatus/ground parallel P3

Solar PFW1.P


Discussions were held with the Stable Manager and Vet and a very gentle program of rehabilition was arranged.  Initially, total rest was recommended to allow for inflammation to subside.  The first 3 weeks were spent on bedding and rubber matting with regular short periods of turnout in the nearby indoor school.   Even at this early stage improvement was significant in both movement and general wellbeing and she was often seen trotting in the school during her turnout time, with increasing stride length and elevation.

A Program to return health begins....


Weeks later the next stage in the program was reached and SOS Therapeutic Hoof Pads were fitted into hoof boots and in-hand work began with daily walks with hoof boots and SOS Pads and light ridden work in the school without boots.  Spectrasan was used to control fungal infection and to strengthen structures



Progress to Date....

Below is the pictorial records of progress.  I believe the most significant change is that after six months and for second time this lovely pony coped with my visit and trim without any sedation or use of a headcollar while in her stable.  In fact, last visit she offered me each leg and even tried to place them on the hoof stand for me. Previously, she would break out in lines of stress sweat and be tense with anxiety.  I am also delighted that she is now back in work helping disabled and abled bodied riders and her true gentle nature is shining through.  













Healthy Internal

Arch Apparatus

Unhealthy Internal

Arch Apparatus



Rose Otto and Wild Yarrow - deeply inhaling and relaxing - alternating inhalation from both oils and she became very still and relaxed. Evidence has shown that chemicals contained within Rose can help address the area of the brain that contain traumatic memories/events and Yarrow contains chamazulene proven to help with inflammation and is thought to provide calmness and support which is why both oils have been observed to have a synergy when used together.


Her next selection was Bergamot providing balance to the mind and body.  She deeply inhaled and was immediately affected closing her eyes and she went into a deep state of relaxation and stood opposite the oil left on the wall for up to 10 minutes.


The last selection was Dandelion Root Powder and Nettle Leaf Powder which she really enjoyed.  Both found to be supportive for the liver and kidney and has been used for centuries as a tonic and detox.  They each contain a very wide range of compounds.


Using Zoopharmacognosy will help her associate my visit to trim with  calmness and peace and help her deal with the past trauma she experienced.

Left front

Right front

Right front

Right front

Right front

Right front

Right front

Right front

This is a very good example how a poor internal arch leading to a ground parallel P3 is causing discomfort to the back of the hoof (caudal) aspect, as this pony''s posture indicates she is trying to alleviate weight to this area.  You can also see the strain leading to inflammation to tendons and around the fetlock joint.  This posture will have an uncomfortable and detrimental effect on the whole body.


Gradually as health returns to the digitial cushion, cartilages and all structures suspending P3 -  the internal arch - this in turn alleviates pressure on tendons and ligaments.  You can see the increase in heel height and caudal health.  She is now able to utilise and dissipate the forces of impact far more efficiently and continues to improve her hoof structures, strength and posture.