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Q: I was wondering if you could help me with possible shoeing changes which I could make with my 7 year old mare who was recently diagnosed with sesamoiditis. She has it in both front legs, and I was wondering if there is anything that I can do to alleviate her pain or to prevent reoccurrence. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A: You were wondering if there is anything that you could do to alleviate your mare's pain. Your veterinarian should have prescribed a course of treatment which would most likely have included Bute, cold water therapy, DMSO, rubs and sweats and 20 minutes hand-walking twice a day until the heat, swelling and lameness have subsided. The horse should be confined to a box stall or a very small paddock where she has room to walk but not run during this period. This usually takes 2 to 3 weeks.

The shoeing should consist of a shoe that will give support to the fetlock area. I believe an egg bar shoe would be the one best suited to do the job.

You need to consult your veterinarian as to treatment. When lameness has subsided you need to have your vet reevaluate the animal before she is put back to work. Usually after about 3 weeks of hand walking and the above veterinary prescribed treatment your horse can return to light work in an effort to determine if she will remain sound. During these light works the horse should wear exercise bandages to limit the fetlock over extension.

You could answer a question for me if you would. What discipline was this horse involved in that caused her to develop sesamoiditis at such a young age?

Good luck with your horse. Please be courteous enough to acknowledge the receipt of my answer to you so I know it isn't lost in cyberspace. Also please let me know how your horse responds to therapy.


Geronimo Bayard
The Village Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon

Q: We have already completed the stall rest with a course of Bute and arquel to reduce swelling. She appears to be remaining sound and the x-rays do not show any bony growths etc. The vet gave me the prognosis that as long as she doesn't overflex again, then she should remain somewhat sound. As far as working goes, she will need light work consistently for a while in order to rebuild and help fix the tissue damage that she received.

As far as shoeing goes, we have only been trying to build up her heel angles for more support. However I am grateful for your suggestion of egg bar shoes. I was wondering about using them because a friend whose horse hurt its tendon has been using them and swears by their effectiveness.

As far as her early work, she was in training for a hunter/jumper since the age of four, and only lightly ridden at age three. I bought her at age five from the only owner she had before. Our conclusion was that because she is overactive in the field, then she must have done the damage outside. I have
learned through research that many of the cases of sesamoiditis occur due to early racing and such, but that many of these horses are retired and used as hunters and jumpers. Have you come across this? I don't mind what discipline she ends up doing, but I want to make her comfortable and sound!

Thank-you for all of your help!

A: Thank you for getting back to me.

I am concerned about your mare's low heel condition and how you are going to try to correct it. It is true that the low-heel/long-toe syndrome can cause the problems that your mare is going through. I feel, although you did not say so, that you may be either using or planning to use wedged pads to build up the heel. It has been my experience and the experience of many others that using wedged pads will only serve to increase destruction of the heel in the horse's foot. Also, wedging the heel up will cause a greater
over-flexion of the fetlock joint

I have written on this subject in several of my other Q&As. 

Read the info on my web site and don't fall into the trap of using wedged pads to grow heels--it ain't gonna happen! My strongest recommendation for growing heels and for supporting the fetlock joint is the dropped down egg bar that is shown on my web site.

If you have the capability I suggest that you print out the information on my site and give it to your farrier.

Good luck!

Geronimo Bayard
The Village Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon

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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.