Gioconda, the Barefoot Christmas Horse
by Karen Drost (SHP 2005, the Netherlands)
December, 2005

Gioconda posing as "Amerigo," the horse of Saint Nicolas. Here in the Netherlands, we celebrate the feast of Saint Nicolas every year on December 5th. A couple of weeks before that, Saint Nicolas arrives from Madrid. He rides a white horse and is accompanied by black men who help him distribute presents to children.

Gioconda has been posing as Amerigo for years now, but this year was special. Gioconda is an 18 yo Hanoverian mare. She was diagnosed with navicular in her right front foot 10 years ago. Since then, she spent most of her life in shoes, sometimes orthopedic shoes.

This spring (2005), she was so high on the heels, she nearly fell over. At the beginning of July, her shoes came off for the very last time, and I started trimming her on July 20th. Gioconda's owner and rider have done everything they should. Conda has gone through some periods of extreme sensitivity, especially on gravel, but now, she moves better than she has in years. She still suffers periods of sensitivity on gravel, but over all, her transition has been quite remarkable.

Gioconda's owner writes:
"Hier zijn ze dan de nieuwe foto's van Sint en zijn Strasser-Amerigo. Gioconda deed het fantastisch! Eigenlijk relaxter dan ooit. Is ze niet een plaatje? En daar mag je heel trots op zijn! Want wie weet wat er anders gebeurde..."

"Here are the new pictures of Saint Nicolas and his Strasser-Amerigo. Gioconda did wonderful! Actually, she was more relaxed than ever. Isn't she a picture? And you may be very proud of that! Who knows what else might have happened."

Note: Photos are provided for reference and educational purposes only, and are not meant to indicate guidelines for trimming. Every horse should be trimmed as an individual. Opinions vary as to what constitutes "correct" but keep in mind - there are NO PERFECT FEET, not even in the wild. Owners are cautioned to seek professional help for the trimming of their own horse's feet. Owner trimming of pathological feet is not advised. Photos may not be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any way.

©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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