"Halfway measures yield halfway results"
My latest obsession is pasture/paddock management. I'm on a tear trying to get all of my clients to keep their pastures mowed, get the soil and hay tested or at least use a mineral supplement, put down pea gravel or at the very least make sure there is always a dry spot for the horse to stand, etc. It has been a year that has put all of our management skill to the test with the unseasonably cool and wet summer that has kept our grasses lush and the ground soft all summer long. Horses that have been skirting by escaping laminitis and founder each summer find themselves either inflicted or dangerously close.
I just went out to a client today who's horse has always been overweight but managed to scrape by every summer shy of laminitis. This year, he almost got there. His white lines separated and our unseasonably wet summer with lush grass gave him white line disease that we could not get ahead of with regular trimming and daily treatment by the owner. He was on 24/7 pasture with limited riding and his run-in shed was ankle deep mud.
Once she saw what was happening and how fast it was progressing, she got 100% on top of it. Before I could even give her my suggestions, she went online and read Pete Ramey's articles on WLD. She created a smaller turnout space within her pasture, put down pea gravel, put up some hay nets, started him and his pasture mate on VT blend mineral supplements, we got aggressive with the trim and did a round of equicast, and she committed to riding him more often. This week I went out to re-cast his back feet and within one week of these changes, she has stopped the WLD in it's tracks. ONE WEEK.
I have seen so many others who are willing to accept maybe one of my suggestions and when that one out of 3 or 4 measures does not make the horse well, they throw up their hands and blame me for the failure. The only failure I have in these cases is not convincing the owner that all of those recommendations are equally as valuable and need to be implemented in order to achieve the goals we are setting. I can guarantee you that if this owner I mentioned above had only allowed me to trim the horse aggressively and cast and maybe threw in the minerals, we would not have had such a stark success. I cannot trim the bottom of the hoof and expect to correct all of the problems if what is causing them still continues to do so from above!
Make the changes you need to, ALL of them. I know it's hard and it can be expensive. But would you rather wait until it's a necessity or get ahead of problems before they start? Would you rather invest in your horse's health through prevention or through extensive veterinary and trimming intervention once things go south? Consider the specific challenges each season brings and be proactive about preparing for it on your end so that your farrier/trimmer has a fighting chance at helping you keep your horses sound, happy and healthy!