Keeping Beamer Comfortable

Wisconsin farrier helps horse with an extra hoof wall stave off laminitis

Beamer’s bald face pokes out from his stall door at Norberg Farm in Menomonee Falls, Wis., and watches as Todd Gillis approaches. The 19-year-old Bay looks like any other well-behaved Quarter Horse. His ears are forward, he’s curious and sociable.

When Gillis swings the door open, though, it’s evident Beamer isn’t an everyday, run-of-the-mill horse. Beamer’s left front leg is twice as large as the right. What’s even more striking, though, is it has two hoof walls — one originates from the natural coronary band, while the second begins about 2 inches above.

The Richfield, Wis., farrier clips on a lead rope and asks Beamer to follow. The horse puts his head down like he’s about to gain leverage to pull a heavy load and starts his journey to the shoeing area.

As he makes his way across the loose, dirt floor, Beamer is slow and deliberate. The swelling in his left front leg doesn’t allow him to flex his coffin joint, pastern joint, nor his fetlock joint. He’s almost swinging the swollen limb as if he has a wooden leg.

How We Got Here

As documented in the December 2004 issue of American Farriers Journal, the Quarter Horse had no known medical problems when Caryl Mayer bought him in early 2003. Mayer’s husband called him Beamer, joking that he’ll never be able own a BMW after his wife bought the horse.

Just a few months later, Beamer was vaccinated for strangles, which is a highly contagious, bacteria-borne respiratory disease…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the editor of American Farriers Journal.

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