Right hold on to your hat here I do doing a full Aspie style data dump. – With regard to sharing this information on the forum, I think lets do that, horses are deliberately given a high sugar diet to create Laminitis, then are killed so that experiments can be made on the structure of their hooves. – I feel therefore that the more everyone learns as a result of the experiences of those horses the better. But first some background information.
A couple of decades ago my horse developed Navicular, (pain in the heels of the front hooves for the none horsey people on the forum). He reached the point where the vet gave me two options, bute (heavy duty pain killer that damages organs if given too long)
for up to 6 months and then shoot him or shoot him now. – I didn’t like those options so I searched for an alternative solution. It just so happened that a German speaking Canadian had gone through a similar experience with her horse, had discovered the work of a German Vet, followed the procedure herself, and was so impressed that she decided to share / translate the information in English online. The principle was that you pull the horses shoes and trip the hooves to allow the hooves to return to a healthy shape. I talked about the ideas with my vet, and she said, well you have nothing to loose. I talked my farrier into following the instructions I had printed off the internet, and the upshot was this horse who couldn’t walk downhill in a straight line due to pain was within months trotting down hill and jumped a 5 bar gate to get in for his feed one night.
During this period one person had travelled from the UK to Germany to study the professional barefoot hoof care course with this vet. – She then went on to organise training courses in the UK. I was so impressed with the improvement in my horse that I decided to study so that I could care for my horses hooves for myself in future. First I went on an introduction to trimming for horse owners, and then a 2 year long professional hoofcare orthopaedics course. During my second year, there was growing publicity on the techniques so people started to contact the course tutor for help. and she would pass on my contact details to people who lived in South Wales and contacted her for help. These were all horses in pain, and I ended up spending my spare time going out to help them.
One of the people who contacted me ran a racing yard. – I started off going to help one particular horse and eventually ended up working on all the horses she bought in. She raced Arabs, but also bought in thoroughbreds with fantastic breeding but they were on the scrap heap as three year olds because they had turned out to not live up to expectations in races. – Many of these horses had feet that looked like dinner plates. much larger and flatter than a healthy hoof should be. – It doesn’t matter if you are talking about a miniature Shetland pony or a shire horse the angles of the hoof and its shape should be the same and these were not a healthy shape as a result of being kept in and fed a high sugar diet from an early age. I realised that all these horses were recovering a healthier shape hoof with the new shape forming from the coronet band and growing down in a way that wasn’t happening with other horses. Yes I was helping other horses recover, but these you could literally see a change in angles and quality of horn which gradually grew out. from the coronet band (the point where the hoof wall joins with the leg) I studied everything she was doing to work out what could be the difference.
At the same time I was helping someone else who had a Section D cob with laminitis, so severe that his owner spent lots of time managing in detail every element of his fields, he was only on native species grasses, no rye grass. no hard feed, (Native grasses are between 8 and 14 % sugar levels, rye grass has been deliberately engineered to create species which are 48% sugar to bulk up as many beef and lambs to slaughter weight per acre as possible . ) No matter what she did we would start to make progress and he would be walking a little more comfortably and then wham, he would be back to being down with all four hooves inflamed. All the training I had had on hoof care was not enough, we had the hooves perfectly balanced so that there was no uneven pressure anywhere on the hoof.
So I ended up search for the latest research online which is when I came across the research published by Queensland University. – A horses hoof wall is made of lots of individual tubes of horn. each connected to the surrounding tubes. When the hoof wall grows the tube disconnects from the adjoining tubes grows and then reconnects. – A Professor had identified that when a particular bacteria responsible for digesting sugar existed in the gut, then a chemical element was found in the blood stream. When that element came in contact with the structures responsible for hoof growth it caused rapid hoof growth. When hoof wall growth is very excessive, so many horn tubules are disconnected that the structure becomes weak. If the heels of the hoof are too high then the forces cause the connective tissue between the front of the main bone in the horses hoof and the hoof wall to give way and the pedal bone rotates inside the hoof capsule if the hoof is balanced and the angles correct so the horses weight is spread evenly over the joint, then the bone is ripped away from the whole of the hoof wall and drops within the hoof. Wincing yet folks? Horses are regularly deliberately put through this in the Queensland University and then they and and the horses on a different diet are killed so they can study the damage to the connective tissue. in their hooves.
So then my search went on to research the bacteria responsible. I found there was a particular acid which appears in 2 natural situations. Its in milk, particularly in the early milk production and seems to be involved in the prevention of mastitis, (it maybe has a role in helping the development of a new born’s got bacteria mixture) the other natural occurrence is in coconut. At this point I had a light bulb moment. My horse training client was the distributor for an animal feed made from coconut meal and she fed that to all the horses in her yard.
I went over all the research materials I had found and shared photographs I had taken of the progress of the horse trainers horses hooves with the owner of the Section D. I brought a sack of the feed over for her and we tried it. – We started to see really positive changes in the hoof walls of this horse. It was a stressful time, the Section D’s owner had decided that she should not put him through further pain and if this attempt didn’t work he would be put down. But after a couple of months his progress was such that I started to share the information with the owners of other laminitics. – I saw the same success with all bar one horse. – I discovered that the owner of that horse was so hard up that she was struggling to buy hay, but she worked for a bakery and was bringing home sacks of left over bread every day to feed to her horses.
What I noticed with all the horses was that no matter how closely the horses owner controlled their diet, even those horses which didn’t have a laminitic attack had hooves growing faster than they should. In every case feeding coconut changed that. Some where the owners were reluctant to feed much, or the horses were reluctant to eat the coconut went through a two step process, with a positive result when they first incorporated coconut meal. better, but not right. and then as they gained confidence and indreased the amount of coconut a second improvement. Others had one dramatic change in angles and a sudden correction in hoof growth.
So why does the coconut feed work? – Well as I mentioned there is an acid in coconut which kills the streptococcus bacteria named by the researchers at the university.
Other research into the health benefits of coconut came up with a description of how it cures leaky gut. – Apparently yeast infections in the gut result in the yeast roots entering the gut wall and then larger particles can pass from the gut into the blood stream. Coconut oil kills off the yeast infection.
Finally I can’t remember where I read it, but I understand different gut bacteria thrive at different PH’s. A balanced gut bacteria occurs with a neutral ph. Apparently the manufacturers of the coconut feed. discovered that the Ph of the horses gut changed to a neutral PH when they were on this feed.
Interestingly, there are multiple articles online about coconut oil being used to reverse insulin resistance and T2.
So there you have it. I did say at the start here we go with a data dump. – My horse was 14 when he suffered from Navicular, he did return to soundness and we had another 14 years together exploring the countryside before he had to be retired due to ill health put to sleep after a heart attack. All of the laminitics returned to soundness, and the owners no longer had to use muzzles and starvation patches to control access to grass, except 2. The one who was fed bread and the one where the owner was not willing to wait until the pedal bone had reconnected enough to the hoof wall to enable the horse to carry her weight. (The horses hoof capsule distorts under pressure as a shock absorber, put too much load on the hooves before the connection between the hoof wall and pedal bone has healed and it rips apart again.
WindyJulz, the product name is Coolstance, it consists of minced up coconut meal which is the flesh left over after pressing to produce oil. but it still contains a high level of oil. It has been dried, and you need to soak it before feeding, but it does not take long to absorb water. I recommend for a horse at least 1 feed size scoop a day of soaked Coolstance as well as controlling sugar levels in feed the rest of the time.
So the next quest will be does coconut help those of us who have been on a high carb diet long term. Don’t know that’s what I am experimenting with at present. – I am going through 2 small coconuts a week. That’s why at present I have stopped calorie counting. I can confirm so far its good for helping to control the carb cravings.
Queensland University has had for many years a