Case Study 1
by James Welz, CSHS

Horse: Doc, 11 yo Buckskin Quarter Horse Gelding

Owners: David and Claire Wilson

History: Trained as roping horse at age 4, used for pleasure riding and trail riding since. Always shod.

Previous Living conditions: Stalled at night. Access to very large dry lot paddocks during the day.

Lamenesses: 1998 suspensory ligament injury, recovered from that. Lame again in late 1999 and continually lame by early 2000.

Veterinarian Diagnosis: Navicular Disease, through nerve blocks and Xrays. Recommends bute and eggbar shoes with 2 degree wedge pads. Horse was better for a short period of time with this treatment, then became progressively worse again. Other option given was "nerving".

Strasser Method program begins: January 21, 2001

Owners are counseled on proper living conditions, and they are willing to make the necessary changes to allow the horse to be turned out in a herd 24/7, with free choice grass hay and daily hoof soaking.

First trim on January 21, 2001. Horse tender for a few days afterwards, then much better. Owner was riding the horse in just 3 weeks. Continual progress--a few short, occassional periods of tenderness, but no significant abscessing as of yet. Hooves are slow to decontract, and will take a long period of time to fully recover to their healthy, decontracted state.

July 22, 2001: Horse is currently sound and being ridden regularly.

Doc's hooves right before his first natural trim on January 21, 2001, showing the eggbar shoes that had been prescribed for his navicular pain.

Doc's hooves immediately after his first natural trim on January 21, 2001. Top two photos: Left front and right front. Bottom photos, both left front.


June 4th, 2001: Doc's right front hoof after 4 1/2 months of natural trimming and lifestyle. The contraction will take a while longer to fully reverse.

02/20/02 Update
Claire: "The reason that I am so commited to this method is because I have personally seen it work. Our very own precious gelding, Doc has a new lease on life because of this method. He has not exhibited any signs of lameness or pain since we started this method in January of 2001. We are able to ride him any time we want and his stride has lengthened, he can be worked and ridden in small circles to either side without any discomfort whatsoever. I still marvel when I watch him cross over his front feet. His hooves are still changing shape, they have lost that boat-like appearance, so common in navicular horses and have become rounder and wider. Anyone who doubts my claims is more than welcome to come and see Doc for themselves.

"Iam being honest when I say that this method is not for everyone, because it takes alot of commitment and study on the part of the owner. Some owners cannot and are not willing to do this for numerous reasons. But for those owners who are willing to go the very long extra mile for the love of their horses, I beg of you, look into this method. If you had only seen Doc limp up from the pasture (with his eggbar shoes and pads) the day we removed his shoes and started this method and then after his first trim, walk back out without a limp. And now watch him under saddle or playing in the pasture, you would be amazed. As always, I'm available and willing to answer any questions in regards to Doc's recovery, if it'll help another navicular horse. Horses don't have to be put down because of navicular syndrome. At the risk of sounding simplistic, all you have to do is remove the cause, which is heel contraction, be it from incorrect trimming or shoeing. It's just that it so hard for me to hear of horses being put down because of navicular, when I can look out my window and see the living proof that this condition can be turned around." Claire Wilson

February 14, 2003, Right front
Many improvements, not perfect, but functional and sound.

02/21/03 Update
"Doc - he is wonderful, full of life and playfulness. He is a joy to ride, always ready to run but seems to control himself with me unless I ask him. I love to make him spin because he does it so effortlessly, he could never cross those front legs over the way he does now.....He also has a nice working trot he would never offer before." Claire Wilson

For Doc's entire story, please visit: A Buckskin Named Doc

©2006 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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