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I have a yearling filly and she acts like she has foundered. What should I do?

After my filly colicked she now stands on her back toes, and acts like her ankles are weak. What will cause her to do that?

-- J. C.


Your filly is probably standing on her toes because her coffin bones have rotated and it hurts to stand flat-footed. When the coffin bone rotates, the pointed front tip of the bone drops down and any pressure on the bottom of the foot goes up against that point. There may also be some infection in the sole of the foot.

You need to get two people involved as soon as possible: your vet and a very experienced farrier. The vet will be able to give you an analysis of the amount of damage done by the founder and also suggest ways to ease the filly's pain. The farrier can also help ease the pain by adjusting the angle of the bottom of the hoof so there's less pressure on the coffin bone.

After you have the pain under control, I'd suggest that you keep the filly walking as much as possible. She will probably object at first, but walking increases the blood pressure in the sole of the foot, and that pressure can eventually push the coffin bone back up into a more normal position.

We're not talking quick fixes here; I'd expect that it may be a year or more before you see any clear signs of improvement.

Prayer is another important ingredient. I bought Willy after he had foundered and had severely rotated coffin bones. When I asked my farrier for his advice, he simply said, "Bob, you do whatever you can do -- then pray and let God take care of the rest." His advice was good -- as evidenced by the more than 16 years of wonderful riding I enjoyed since then.

I hope this helps -- God bless!

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