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Tapir the Gypsy Cob

Tapir – 8 year old 15hh Gypsy Cob with acute, steroid-induced laminitis.

When my riding and draft cob Tapir developed acute steroid-induced laminitis from a joint injection, my vet – Sarah Hayes from the George Equine Veterinary Clinic – and remedial farrier Andrew Poynton were attending to him within a few hours after I found him immobile during my morning horse-check.

Tapir’s case was acute in onset, in all four feet and severe. My vet recommended Andrew Poynton, and his remedial trimming and Imprint shoes were to be the mainstay of treatment. Apart from that all that could be done was drug therapy for pain relief and vascular support, and immobilisation via box rest on a deep bed. My vet advised that my horse’s chance of making it was 50:50, especially after radiographs showed a 14 degree rotation of the left fore pedal bone, and a 16 degree rotation of the right fore pedal bone. Andrew believed we had a good chance of saving him, so we embarked on a very long and very arduous journey of expensive treatment and intensive nursing.

Throughout the first six month period of intensive treatment, Andrew’s expertise, care, precision, attention to detail and attentiveness were second to none, not to mention his wonderful Imprint shoes. As a graduate of physiology, I often had a barrage of questions and a need for explanation, with which Andrew showed extended patience.  Andrew’s understanding of the equine foot and his knowledge of the wide variety of theories about both the healthy and the unhealthy foot was impressive, and his open-mindedness, common-sense approach and vast experience with remedial laminitis cases were clearly evident. Tapir had many complications, including both front soles abscessing during which time he was mostly recumbent, colitis and aggravation of the original hind fetlock injury. Throughout, I knew Andrew was just a phone call away, and he was back visiting several times between shoeing to drill and relieve pressure or to adjust foot balance.

Overall I was highly impressed with Andrew’s experience and attitude, and also his customer care. Having such a sick horse is both emotionally and physically draining and I felt supported by both Andrew and my team of vets throughout.

Almost eight months on, Tapir is sound on turf, without shoes. He lives out on a bare paddock during the day with stalky hay, and returns to a woodchip pen with shelter and a straw bed overnight. He will be reintroduced to his herd in another few weeks. He is several weeks into a rehabilitation programme of daily walking in-hand. The past six months hoof horn growth is well aligned and without flare. I can even imagine riding him again one day, or pulling a log or two up from the woods.

I am eternally grateful to Andrew and my vet team who gave my horse a second chance.


Wiltshire UK

3 month update on Tapir…

Tapir is doing tremendously well, is out in a big (but very well grazed) field in the day and in his pen with bed at night. He is almost sound on that original injury and perfectly sound on turf on his fronts. He can walk over hard surfaces without boots now too. His toes are still growing out rather than down but he is still growing plenty of heel, and a little quarters. I am rasping a small amount every couple of weeks and keeping the bulges at his toes down.