About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Leap of Faith

So, here is where I've been for the last week.
Accepting the news that Lazarus's life was going to be cut shorter....accepting? No...I was angry, hurt, cheated and defeated. My family, husband and friends here helped me steady myself.

But...then an email came through from a blogging friend of support, (two actually in particular that kept gently nudging and urging me- Denali and Frizzle- thank you) and a tiny flicker of "maybe" hope? An idea. A thought. A method.

Barefoot, natural hoof care.
At first, I didn't know much (or anything) about it. That evening after exchanging emails back and forth with my fellow OTTB owner friend, emailing her connections/contacts, emailing and researching local specialists in my area..I began to read, and read, and read and learn and got very, very, very awake. I felt a tiny lift from the dark cloud, of "what if?" My family and I were all in the living room together, watching the Olympics and I spun my laptop around for my Mom to read what I was finding. Her eyes lit up and she whispered, "why not?"

So, I happened to contact a well respected barefoot specialist by the name of Cliff, who happens to be the past president of the American Hoof Association (what those credentials mean to me?..not sure yet) BUT also happens to live 30 minutes from where I keep Lazarus AND is willing and happy to help us out. Oh, and did I mention, the cost is way more affordable than what I've been doing?! As I'm a newbie in this avenue, click here for more information of a guy who he's trained alongside with. What I can tell you is, that this gentleman Cliff seems kind, hopeful and has saved many horses with similar laminitis as my boy. He is meeting me tomorrow, along with my vet, to view xrays and see what we can do.

I know this is a gamble...but literally, what do I have to lose? Lazarus had a scheduled euthanizing date...it's now postponed!!! I hope to cancel it all together. If we think we can move forward to start this barefoot rehabbing, we start by removing his heart bar shoes (actually all four shoes off) along with the use of Easy Boots to transition Laz into comfort until he can go totally barefoot. We could see results soon, or in months but Cliff's goal is always to get the horse healthy, comfortable and ride-able.
The ride-able part would be a huge win.
To save my boy, is the priority right now.
I want to share with you some of the testimonials that came from Cliff's past clients:

Hi Kristen,
I have included a little video of my mare that Cliff brought back from the dark side of founder. I was grasping for straws when he showed up. She was down, and the vet was waiting with the fatal needle. Along with the homeopathic Vet Sue Thompson. They both worked hard to get her back to frolicking and we are riding her again so yes I suggest you give him a try.
Hello, Prior to reading your blog, I can without hesitation say the Cliff is your answer. I struggled with our Arabian who my teenage daughter showed and loved with all her life. Suddenly, he foundered. For over a year, we worked with vets, Styrofoam and duct tape hooves, sedatives as he was on complete stall rest. He was taken off grass completely. Still, he would get a little better and she would start riding and boom...back again. It was the most stressful thing in the world to see him suffer and not know what was causing it and how to get him over it.
Cliff came into the picture as I worked in a middle school and was talking to another mom about her horses. She told me about Cliff. I called him and he offered his help. I was meet with so much negativity at the barn I was boarding at. They were 100% convinced this horse was done. I basically felt like what Cliff said made sense and that all the medical things we had tried was possible aggravating the problem. To let my horse go without shoes was scary as I had been convinced taking off his shoes would ruin his feet. So, I trusted Cliff. He is so informed on this issue and has a passion for helping horses.
He saved our horse...period. My daughter was able to take her horse back into the show ring several months later and the horse performed the best he has ever...barefoot. Western Pleasure Champion, Class A Arab Circuit.
There were times when I would be worried about any little thing and Cliff would come right out. You have to know that once we started working with Cliff, my former boarding caretakers were watching for this to fail. Many times Cliff showed up along with the vet (I had called) and eventually, the vet became his fan.
So, I can say with a resounding yes... give him a try. For the sake of your horse. Cliff understand horses and he attempts to give them back their life as it was meant to be. He is honest, reliable and genuine.

Dear Kristen: I cannot say enough good things about this man. He has saved my horses life more than once or twice, he is very knowledgeable in going barefoot, founder, and the horses diet for founder. My horse has foundered 4x now all due to what I would call barn errors at boarding facilities. Luckily I met Cliff after the 2nd one he has been detrimental in the care of my horse since. It does take some getting used to, seeing your horse without shoes. I do ride with Easy Boots when I am on the road or rough trail. Good luck to you I hope this helps, feel free to contact me if you have more concerns.
I know how you feel, and believe me it was difficult for me to make the plunge to barefoot, natural hoof care, however I truly feel that this procedure has saved my horse. Cammie has actually been trotting around and kicking up her heels in the snow this winter. I saw improvement immediately and Cammie is just getting better and better. I can't say enough good things about Cliff. He is professional, prompt, knowledgeable, and kind. He will inform you every step of the way. Good Luck and let me know how it goes. I am sorry I waited as long as I did to go this route.

I know this barefoot method could not work, but at least I'll know I've done all I could for Lazarus.
I am going by the brightness of his eye and his mental encouragement. I know many of you may not agree with this, but for us, if it can happen, it feels like the right choice.


  1. Oh my gosh, Kristen I got chills reading this... I am writing with tears in my eyes! I truly hope this provides a solution for you and Laz, from the bottom of my heart.

  2. Cliff is a very talented hoof care provider. Pete Ramey is one of the best rehab specialists out there. Fingers crossed tightly that Cliff sees a chance in the current rads, and that this works for you and Laz.

  3. Mrs.Mom-do u know Cliff personally?! PLZ give me more details if u do!

  4. Best of luck, and keeping all fingers crossed for success!

  5. I hope things go well. Please keep us posted. I have never heard of natural hoof care but now I am interested and am going to read up on it.

  6. Oh Kristen!!!!! Hooray!!! I am praying this is your answer. As you say, why not try?!? I honestly believe in letting a horse heal as naturally as possible. Cliff sounds like he really has experience with this sort of thing. And, to be located so close to you!!! (Like it is meant to be!)
    You know Pie and Sovey are OTTBs, and they are sound, but I don't know if you know that I keep them barefoot. Their feet are excellent (according to my farrier). We have really phased out the grain and are moving them to 24/7 turnout all in an effort to keep them as naturally as possible. These are huge steps for someone (me) who was raised with shoed horses, kept in stalls, eating massive quanities of grain.
    Oh, I really feel that you are on the right track!

  7. Oh I hope this works out for you guys...
    I had my gelding fonder many years ago and I got a great farrier who did wonders for him and now you can't even tell he was ever foundered, and has never foundered since, nor has he ever been lame.
    I have 2 of my OTTTBs unshod, and they're doing great. 2 with problems are still in shoes, until a solution can be found.
    Here's to Laz getting better!
    I thought of you and he this week when I lost one of my horses. :( I cannot say how happy I am for this good news!

  8. I hope, hope, hope this works!! we'll be sending Laz positive, healing thoughts too...

  9. Kristin, I am so glad that you are giving this a try! I started giving you little nudges towards barefoot, but I didn't want to question your vet or farrier. But I have seen what it can do and it is absolutely incredible! A lot of people turn to it as a last resort, when it's the last hope. Of course, there are never any guarantees, but I really think that you are doing the right thing for your sweet boy.
    Go here -- www.hoofrehab.com -- and look at the rehab pics. Also, read the articles. They will blow your mind! They've cured horses who literally had the coffin bone coming through the soles of the feet.
    We're all rooting for Laz! I really hope and pray that this will be the answer for which you've been searching.
    I literally got tears in my eyes reading this -- there's hope yet for the Laz man!

  10. Just looked back and saw that you've already been to Pete's sight!
    I have to apologize for not being more persistent about barefoot. A lot of people question it and are very hesitant to try. And, unfortunately, a lot of barefoot people can be pretty nutty, which gives the movement a bad name.
    I've done a LOT of research on this, so feel free to ask me any questions, any time. My e-mail is megzz_79@hotmail.com. I've even watched the 16 hours of DVDs that Pete Ramey made -- I'm certainly no expert, but I would be more than happy to help you in any way that I can.
    Please just make sure you steer clear of anyone who practices the Strausser method -- she's pretty extreme and invasive. And, while she's done wonders on some horses, she has also killed quite a few. If your trimmer worked with Pete Ramey, you're in safe hands.

  11. Wow, this is a great turnaround!! I think you have a good shot with this, and at this point can't turn back, if you did, you would always wonder "but what if I'd had Cliff look at Laz..." after all, he is so close by, what do you have to lose! He'll be able to assess Laz and let you know if he can help him! It sounds like he has had good results.
    One random question, from what you've read, what exactly does going barefoot versus wearing shoes actually do for a foundered horse? I just don't know enough about the condition.
    Keep us posted, we'll be keeping our fingers crossed and sending positive thoughts your way!

  12. Kristen! I pray that this man is your answer for Laz. Even if it gives you a few more months it will totally be worth it. I look forward to reading the progress that will be taking place. Good Luck!!!

  13. Oh I am so hopeful for you! Why not try everything? I still have you and Laz in my thoughts and will for positive results in the near future!

  14. I am SO GLAD that I thought to give you her Pat's info, and I'm even happier that she was able to help you find help out your way!! She has done amazing things for horses who were farther along than Laz, I just hope that this is the answer! If it's not then you know you tried!! GO TEAM LAZ!!

  15. I agree with Frizzle!! I had someone gut Denali's hoof and someone told me it was the Strausser method. After a few hundred dollars in vet bills to fix the mess, and 3 weeks of stall rest, she was okay. THANKFULLY!!

  16. I'm doing my happy dance right now!!!

  17. Everyone..thanks for the support and urging and always looking for new info. Well, new to me anyway.
    Denali-thx for taking that extra kind step in sending links, etc
    Frizzle-thanks for urging me to re-think my defeat
    Juliette-I would love for Laz to follow in what you are doing with your two beautiful babes, Sovey and Pie are so lucky!
    PonyGirl-this is the ultimate learning as I go process..I'll be writing about it for anyone out there wanting to know more too, etc.
    Thx to u all out there! I'm so excited to be on this new path..and to have something to strive for. :)
    Time will tell!

  18. I guess I'm late to jump on the bandwagon, but best of luck to you both. I hope this goes well for you.