Fighting Founder With Hospital Plates

Veteran Texas farrier says these devices are valuable tools in the worst laminitis cases

While Working extensively with laminitic horses over the years, I have used the heart bar shoe with great success, as have many farriers all over the world.

The heart bar simply works. The key word is “simply,” as the concept of the heart bar is a relatively simple one. But, while punching ready-made heart bars and nailing them on seems almost effortless, we need to go further when individual horses have the most devastating ailments. These animals are those that are truly foundered, not just laminitic.

These are usually horses that no one except the owner wants to deal with. Most bleed profusely from the anterior sole, an indicator that we are no longer seeing a simple case of laminitis.

Laminitis Or Founder?

Many professionals lump laminitis and founder in the same category, leading less-informed people to try the same treatment on horses with either condition, regardless of circumstances. Whether the diagnosis is laminitis or founder, heart bars are usually applied and stall rest is recommended. Then farrier, vet and owner go their separate ways.

However, one very important element is missing from the puzzle: the hospital plate.

In all laminitic cases, the horse suffers some degree of hoof pain. This becomes apparent as the horse limps out of its stall or lies down.


PAINFUL CONDITION. A foundered horse’s hoof showing severe bleeding. The painful condition can allow infection to get into the coffin bone.

Dealing With Pain

When pain is obvious, it should be localized. This is easy to…

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