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During a panel discussion at the 2005 International Hoof-Care Summit, I outlined a different style for trimming ponies that have suffered from chronic founder. To further explain the grooving procedure, the following case history deals with helping a pony that had foundered on fescue grass sometime earlier in its life.
As shown below, the growth lines were three to four times wider at the heel than at the toe, indicating poor circulation in the front portion of the hoof. The coronary band is apparently jammed and shuts down the blood supply, which causes this condition.
In dealing with these chronic founder cases, I’ve had good luck cutting a groove around the entire hoof. The groove should be cut completely through the horny wall to the insensitive laminae or white line. Failing to cut through the hoof wall will not get the desired effect.
Ponies laying down for as long as 20 hours a day have experienced marked relief in just a few hours after this procedure was performed. Since the animal can’t explain where it hurts, cut around the complete hoof in order to leave no doubt that pressure has been relieved on the entire upper portion of the hoof. The groove should be cut approximately 1/2- to 3/4-inch below the hairline.
The accompanying photos of the pony’s right front hoof offer a good idea of the changes that took place over a 1-year period.
Grooving has always worked well for me. I have performed this procedure for more than…