Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
- Robert F. Kennedy
Founder with coffin bone protrusion - The story of Tess
Tess, a standard bred mare 16yo.
This is a photo I took of Tess at my first visit in February 2004. Tess had foundered in all four feet the previous December (03) and after 2 months of conventional treatment and trimming, she was still in great discomfort. All attempts to get her to stand up at this visit were fruitless.

This is the story of Tess by owner Jo Niall.

Tess foundered in early December 03. Her condition did not improve even though she was taken off rich feed, lost weight, was walked regularly and given anti-inflammatory medication.
After the initial standard farrier trim there was a marginal improvement but following the second trim at about four weeks, she dramatically declined and became acutely lame. She found walking almost impossible and developed bed sores from lying down for long periods.
By the time eight weeks had passed she had had veterinary attendance four times, been given two doses of intravenous anti-inflammatory drugs and was on and off anti-inflammatory paste.
At the last visit the vet felt that her prognosis was so poor that maybe we should consider euthanasia.
I contacted Julie after investigating the Strasser method via the internet. An experienced horse woman from Mansfield had advised me to look into it. Julie came to consult with Tess and assess her before going ahead with trimming. We organised x-rays and blood tests. The x-ray showed severe rotation and drop of the pedal bones in both front feet with coffin bone protrusion imminent. Tess also had severe oedema in the left front leg and fluid was oozing through her skin.

The hind feet were not rotated though suffering from acute laminitis and due to the stress of weight bearing for the front she had seized up to such an extent that she was developing a hump on her back from tucking her legs under her to hold her up and off her front feet.  Tess spent most of her time rocking back and forward to distribute the weight. The blood test, thankfully showed her to be stressed but otherwise reasonably healthy.
On a very hot February day in 04, Julie came to perform the first trim. It took a lot of time just to get the front feet heels trimmed a little as Tess was in such pain that she found it almost impossible to stand on three legs.
The decision was made to arrange for the vet to attend and administer temporary nerve blocks into her front feet so Tess could stand comfortably for a better trim.

In the mean time, an abscess came out of the leg that had been so swollen, which seemed to relieve some pressure as I continued to soak the hooves to help draw out any infected matter and help soften the feet.
At the end of the first week after trimming Tess started to move around slowly and with a little more ease. On day ten I took her for a walk twice around the paddock which is a substantial size. She was still sore and stiff but walking and managing it. I couldn't hide my joy, she was a long way from better but it was progress!

We were very eager to move Tess to Julie's home so that her specialised care could become a daily occurrence but we needed to wait until we felt she was well enough to make the one hour journey. Finally this day did come on the first day of March 04,and with the help of our vet and another nerve block she was able to make the journey to Upper Beaconsfield.
When I arrived at Julies I was so pleased with the surroundings and shaded pasture that Tess would be on. She had a lovely little paddock set aside just for her and I felt so comforted knowing that Julie would care for her as much as I had.

My next rip to visit Tess was three weeks later. I had been in phone contact with Julie for regular updates on the progress of Tess. When I arrived and saw her standing as Julie was preparing the morning foot bath, I could see immediately that she had improved.
I was amazed at how well she was standing, no rocking back and forth and her countenance was so relaxed, she was a different horse. Her coat was so soft and shiny that I asked Julie if she had washed her, but no she hadn't.  I believe the new diet with a mixture of herbs prescribed by Browns Animal Herbalists in Coldstream and the improvement in her feet and overall health was responsible for her new glow.

Julie is lucky enough to have a local vet Dr Mark Curtis who also practices homoeopathy and acupuncture.  He attended to Tess and applied acupuncture to relieve the tension she had had in her back after months of severe hoof pain and administered a homoeopathic detox to assist healing.  Dr Curtis assessed her condition and  upgraded her prognosis from poor to fair.

May 04, now 5 months since Tess foundered and all of this started and I have just heard from Julie that Tess was moved into a new paddock where she rushed through the gate breaking into her first trot and even a couple of canter strides, accompanied by a gleeful buck!  I am delighted by the progress since the last visit, her demeanour is relaxed, all the bed sores have healed and Tell is walking around quite normally.

August 04 and the progress is remarkable. Tess is now moving around as though nothing had ever happened. Julie has looked after her with such devotion and the results speak for themselves. Her hooves show the growth lines that have occurred with the change in her feet and Strasser trimming. Her soles have now almost completely healed and grown out. We are organising new x-rays to see how the coffin bones are looking and what degree of realignment has occurred.
Dr Curtis has now upgraded her prognosis to excellent!

March 05, a year now since we first moved Tess to be cared for by Julie. Tess now goes out for rides being led from Julie's horse Kariboo.
Soon Tess will be able to be ridden again and our family is very grateful for the effort and care Julie has given to Tess. The Strasser Method has saved her life.

Feb 04 my first visit.
Tess had 7cm heels on both front hooves.
She wouldn't stand up.
The first proper trim. The vet has given
Tess temporary nerve blocks on both front feet.
She can now stand comfortably for the trim.

You can see the sole cracking and bleeding where the boneis beginning to protrude.
By the end of May 04 and new horn has grown
over the solar surface and the protruded area has
grown forward and almost healed.
September 04
New sole and the heels have decontracted.
Tess now happily trots and canters around the paddock.
Left front March 04                                                After - Sept 04
Right front March 04                                                 After - Sept 04
Julie & Tess - just back from my first ride out. I have hoof boots on her front feet as many of the trails/roads here are gravel.
A big day for Tess, a new rider, new feet, strange boots and to top it off she is in a Bitless Bridle as well!

Tess loved the ride, ears pricked and happy to move along well. It will take some time and work to get her fitness up again though and to toughen those hooves. Riding out more often should help her to develop even better over time.

The horse in the back ground is my mare Kariboo which Ysabelle rode for me to keep Tess company, and just incase I fell off of course!
Tess died on 22nd July, 2010 from Colic. Just previously to her passing, Tess was well, happy and was not suffering from laminitis. Long-term diet and lifestyle management, along with regular correct hoof trimming allowed her to live an extra 6 years. Tess was 22 years old when she passed. Rest in Peace Tess, we miss you.