Hope for Navicular Horses?


Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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14 Responses

  1. vlc58724 says:

    Thank you so much for this post!! I, like so many other horse people, hear a word like navicular and go into panic mode!! I believe in natural everything, as much as I can. So I always ride my horses barefoot and they haven’t ever been shod. I have a wonderful trimmer and she takes very good care of my horses feet.

  2. Leigh Ann says:

    I am a first-time horse owner… I ended up with my big guy when a friend was having to get rid of him. I have always wanted a horse so I agreed to love him for the remainder of his life and about a month in, he’s diagnosed with navicular.

    Everyone from vets to farriers to horsemen have a different opinion on what causes it, how to treat it, what the heck it actually is and I don’t know which people’s opinions to cherish and which to toss out yet while I’m still learning absolutely everything equine ….

    This brings a lot of clarity – I don’t often respond to blog posts, but I sincerely thank you for sharing this. I almost broke into tears knowing I can make my big dude comfortable again and your theory really speaks to me. I feel that I have a game plan and I can’t wait to talk to my (very talented barefoot) farrier again, he comes out on Friday. Wish us luck!

    • then5925 says:

      Hi Leigh Ann–thank you so much for your comment. I know how confusing it can be when there are so many different opinions out there about navicular. And bravo to you for taking the time to research the condition for yourself and for being open to ideas may not be the most popular ones. I truly believe that proper natural barefoot care offers the most hope for not just navicular, but all kinds of hoof problems. I wish you the best of luck with your horse! By the way, if you haven’t already checked out Pete Ramey’s website (hoofrehab.com), it’s a great barefoot resource.

  3. Renae says:

    Thanks so much for the article! Worth the read! Do you have any suggestions for acupressure points to help ease navicular pain?

    • Casie says:

      Hi Renae,

      There are acupressure points that can help with navicular pain, but it would probably be too in depth for me to describe where they are in a comment. (Maybe a topic for a future post!) One that I can suggest is a Ting point called Pericardium 9 which is just between the heel bulbs of the front feet. Do you have the book ‘Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual’? It’s a great book for people who want to learn to do acupressure on their horses and there are points listed for several conditions, including navicular syndrome.

  4. Angela says:

    While a good article, doesn’t fix every navicular problem…. As a person who had never owned a shod horse in her life, sometimes things happen that you can’t control. My mare slowly developed navicular problems over her life, due to an old injury sustained as a baby that I was unaware of. This old injury caused pain in the joint when the heel was at a normal position, so she had to be shoed for heel support, with a 3′ wedge to rotate the toe down more. Unfortunately unlikely she can ever go barefoot again

    • Casie says:

      Hi Angela–while I agree that sometimes injuries can occur that are out of our control and make things more difficult, I personally would never apply a wedge to a horse’s hoof again. I’m speaking from personal experience–wedges only serve as a temporary crutch and cause damage in the long run. (crushed, under run heels for one.) Have you looked into boots at all?

  5. Hoyt Morrow says:

    YES! Thank you! I had a mare that was 25 when we got her. Almost immediately she was in so much pain that she would only lay down. We talked to the vet (we were all friends and he knew her) and he knew she had navicular. we did all the shoes/pads she was still barely able to walk. So, finally we found “The Barefoot Horse” wedsite. After arguing with our shoer, he read the information and RELUCTANTLY began to trim her. Well, she and I went on to ride miles and miles of trails. We rode gymkhana and placed 3rd for the year! I lost her in 2011 at the age of 36. Still sound. She dropped walking to eat breakfast. She is still the best horse I’ve ever had. And I Thank God for barefoot trimming!

  6. Joy says:

    I really like what you are saying. I have an extreme situation and would like your input. I have a 16-yr Paint mare I bought 2 years ago. They told me she was a barrel horse and riding her confirms this. Within weeks of taking off her shoes she was completely lame. Diagnosed navicular with radiographs. We couldn’t get any help for her with heel correction and ended up with neurectomies. She became sound and we continued to keep her barefoot. She is now lame again. The farrier cannot get her heels down because of the way her foot grows. Vets are coming out Friday for more radiographs. Farrier even suggested that he can build up heals inside boots. She is in pain. She is the best mare I’ve ever had. Any suggestions?

    • Casie says:

      Hi Joy. Sorry to hear about your horse. My suggestion would be to find a barefoot trimmer–not one who shoes and trims–a real barefoot trimmer. Traditional farriers tend to want to ‘build’ the heel up to solve problems when in actuality, the heel really may need to come down. I don’t know what your mare’s feet look like but I would suspect she has narrow, contracted heels? Am I correct? Thrush may also be an issue. Does she have a deep crevice in the center of the frog? This can be thrush and cause quite a bit of pain. (I have blog post on this too, if you do a search.) I wish you the best of luck!

  7. Susan says:

    Please keep me posted. Im thinking about pulling shoes off.

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