Monday, November 11, 2013

Barefoot Hype

Barefoot for Soundness: HORSESHOEING HISTORY:

The Barefoot Horse website claims that horseshoes were a result of medieval European castle siege warfare, which caused horses to be kept in filthy standing stalls with no exercise, causing the hooves to degenerate to the point that iron shoes were invented to hold them together. After this, iron shoes became "stylish" and shoeing became the accepted norm for hoofcare due to the ignorance of horsemen for the next thousand years.

It's an amazing theory... But relatively few horses should have been stalled up without exercise in castles. It's not like they were under siege most of the time. When they were, horses were of little use for castle defense, and they consume a great volume of stores. So there was no point in bringing them in during a siege and keeping them around long enough to get mushy feet. On top of that, any farrier can tell you that putting shoes on a horse in such conditions wouldn't help matters anyway.

What's more unbelievable is the idea that the "useless" practice of shoeing would've continued for a THOUSAND YEARS. Contrary to what the BH author seems to think, people in centuries past were not morons. They used horses every day and were very savvy about practical horse care. There were various times and places in history where shortages of iron, horseshoers, and forges made the use of barefoot horses unavoidable. You'd think that, if going barefoot was so beneficial to working horses, people would've realized how much better-off they were without horseshoes. But instead they took their horses to the smithy before the mortar in the forge had even set-up. Do you suppose farmers and freight coach drivers just wanted to be fashionable? Or just maybe they wanted to be able to use their horses hard over rocky roads without them coming up bloody-footed lame.

The Wave of the Future
New Age Snake Oil?

Fads... They come and go in the horse world just like every other part of society. The latest fad among the equestrian set is "naturalism". "Natural training" or "communication". "Natural feed" regimens. "Natural horsekeeping". And, of course, "natural" hoof care.

At first the "natural" hoof care stuff wasn't too bad. The "4-point" trimming and shoeing approaches had mechanical merit, so if labeling them "natural" helped Gene Ovnicek and others get farriers to shorten breakover levers on long-toed horses, more power to them.

But now, from Europe, comes the "Barefoot for Soundness" philosophy attributed to Dr. Hiltrud Strasser. Horseshoes are evil... Just use the new low-heel trimming method, trash the old iron shoes, and your horses will live longer, jump higher, run faster, look prettier, and do your income taxes to boot.

Nothing really new here. A quick look through Henry Heymering's bibliographical reference tome "On the Horse's Foot: Shoes and Shoeing" shows that this fad comes around every so often, only to fade away like the Macarena or poodle skirts.

There's nothing wrong with letting a horse go barefoot if that suits his use level and conditions. In fact, most farriers recommend it. But the "Barefoot for Soundness" philosophy is based primarily on two flawed notions.

One: The primary goal in horse management is for the horse to be "natural".

Two: Horseshoes are bad.

As a farrier, I'd like to respond to these notions and some of the others published on the Internet by proponents of the Strasser ap


Barefoot Horse says: "Around 1800 Bracy Clark made the first scientific studies of how irons affect the horse's foot. In one study, he made plaster casts of a horse's feet, before it was ever shod and at yearly intervals while shod. The heels rapidly became contracted, and after two years he was so repulsed by the deformity that he ended the study and returned the horse to its barefoot state."

 Bracy Clark's results, published in 1809, actually dealt with the horse over six years of shoeing rather than two. His "study" is what we now call "junk science". He studied only one shod horse and assumed that the changes in hoof shape over the years were due to shoeing. He did not study a similar horse under similar conditions and workload without shoes over the same period. There is no way to know whether Clark's horse's hoof contraction was due to shoeing, aging, climate change, congenital weakness, feedstuffs, or any combination of factors. It's sort of like me saying that being married made my beard turn gray without considering that the passage of a dozen years might've done that wife or no wife!

The fact is that physiologically correct horseshoeing does not cause hooves to contract, nor is it otherwise "bad" for the hooves in any way.


BH says "the iron horseshoe is inappropriate and destructive to the horse's hoof, which is a masterpiece of living design".

 In other words, horse owners for the last millennium have been paying good money to screw up their horses' hooves and only the folks in the Barefoot for Soundness Movement are smart enough to know better.

The horse's hoof is indeed an amazing design, but its wearing surfaces are still organic material. Softer than rock and asphalt. And those hoof surfaces can, at best, only be replaced at the rate of 1/50th of an inch per day. If you're going to grind those wearing surfaces against rocks and sometimes pavement at 50-200 pounds per square inch on a frequent basis... Well, you don't have to be a master engineer to figure out what's eventually going to happen.


BH says "Barefoot horses are able to live and work many years longer, well into their 30's. They gain in performance and surefootedness; they rarely develop founder, navicular, or leg stress injuries."

This is, quite frankly, a load of hogwash. The Strasser approach hasn't been around long enough to make any such claims to longevity, and I defy anyone to show me valid statistical evidence that shoes shorten lives or working lifespan in horses. Sure, my 30+ year old horses are barefoot. That's because they are retired. They wore shoes when they were working for their oats. And they are still sound of hoof and limb today. I doubt seriously that you can find many 30+ horses who have spent the bulk of their working lives barefoot except in the soft-sod lowlands. And you'd have trouble finding many owners of 30+ horses who know whether or not the horse was shod regularly 15 years ago. If there is any statistical evidence showing that barefoot horses live longer, it almost certainly includes small ponies... Who tend to live longer than horses by their nature, and are rarely shod or worked much in recent decades.

Those who claim their barefoot horses "gain in performance" are often comparing to previous BAD shoeing. Of course the horse does better when you get rid of inappropriate or painful shoes. He might do better yet with good shoeing! Those that claim surefootedness often judge by the fact that the horse seems more careful and aware of footing. This is quite a different standard than judging by the horse's ability to traverse ground efficiently without slipping or stumbling. I'd personally prefer for my horse not to make a big deal out of crossing every rocky patch on the path.

That shod horses would experience more navicular problems and athletic injuries than barefoot horses is to be expected. It's not because of the shoes. It's because shod horses are more likely to be used hard. That's why they were shod in the first place! Founder, on the other hand, is not more common in shod horses. We see it more often in barefoot broodmares and ponies than in working shod horses.


BH tells us that "having a barefoot horse is different from having a shod horse". You will have to give your horse 24/7 turnout in a big, dry pasture where he'll be encouraged to move around a lot. He will be ouchy on gravel for the first few months, and will probably have to wear some kind of strap-on boots when you ride on rocky trails from now on. You can look forward to plenty of "rehabilitation abscessing", which is somehow supposed to be different from regular abscesses. (Still lameness and puss though!) There will be these little setbacks, but hey, "Horses have gone barefoot for millions of years. It is part of their design."

What so many of our Nature Oriented friends seem to forget is that domestic horses exist for the use and enjoyment of their masters, not just to "be natural". It is often not convenient, safe, or practical to turn horses out to pasture 24/7. Our horses are kept in the ways that serve our purposes best, and if that means they don't have the optimum lifestyle for maintaining "natural" feet, that's just too bad!

Wild (actually feral, unless we're talking about Przewalski's) horses do just fine barefoot. But nobody puts 85 kilos on their backs and makes them go places they wouldn't choose to walk on their own. Their value isn't based on being available to an owner who doesn't have time or inclination to helicopter over a hundred square miles trying to find them for a ride.

Is it really worth months of "transition" lameness, indefinite diminished capability, massive lifestyle changes, and messing around with expensive and unreliable shoe alternatives just so that your horse can be "natural"? Especially considering that proper horseshoeing is not harmful to your horse at all?


BH tells us that horseshoes are bad because they inhibit all-important "Hoof Mechanism". The spreading of the foot when it's on the ground (which theoretically pulls blood into the foot), and "squeezing" back to size when the foot is raised (theoretically pumping blood from the foot back up into the limb).

Because rigid, iron horseshoes are nailed-on while the foot is in its "squeezed" state off the ground, the hoof theoretically cannot spread when loaded and circulation is inhibited.

This argument demonstrates a greatly oversimplified view of circulation within the hoof. It is true that loading and unloading enhances circulation. But it's not a simple bellows-like function. At the same time the hoof capsule's volume is increased by slight spreading under a load, drawing in blood as described in the BH theory, the coffin bone is being pressed down to drive blood out of the corium. There are several factors driving blood into, out of, and around within the hoof when the horse is in motion. Not all of them depend on the hoof wall doing a lot of flexing.

More importantly, the notion that iron (actually steel) shoes significantly reduce normal hoof flexing is incorrect. Yes, steel shoes are rigid, but they are not nailed to the entire perimeter of the hoof wall. The only part of a healthy hoof wall that can actually flex is in the rear 1/3 to 1/2 of the foot. That is the part which is attached to a flexible cartilage internal structure. The front 1/2 to 2/3 of the hoof wall is attached to rigid bone. Horseshoes are properly nailed and clipped only to the front (bone-supported) part of the hoof, leaving the rear (cartilage-supported) part of the hoof free to flex.

You may notice that a freshly-shod horse's shoes fit overly full from the last nail back to the heel. Farriers call this "expansion". It is done to allow for the spreading of the hooves both under load and due to growth. When the same horse is due for a reset, you will see that the rear part of the hoof wall is now flush with the outer edge of the shoe. Since the shoe is rigid and couldn't get narrower, the hoof must have gotten wider across the heel quarters. So much for the whole idea of shoes restricting spreading and even causing contraction!


BH describes the Strasser trim. "The heels are right down on the ground", "the bottom of the coffin bone sits level to the ground", "frog on the ground", and "the toe angle will wind up about 45 degrees in the front feet".

We are told that "With any heel length at all, even an extra 1/8 inch, soreness and incorrect working of the hoof and pastern joints shows up almost immediately."

Sounds familiar to farriers who've been around a while. A decade or two back, the low-heel, 45° hoof was promoted in some circles as a way to lengthen stride and improve movement... The result was a veritable epidemic of navicular syndrome, lifeless hooves, and horses living on bute. The backlash from the last low-heel, 45° fad resulted in many horseshoers going too far to "leave all the heel", which isn't good either. The healthy foot has neither overlong (underrun) heels, nor are its bulbs in the dirt. It has enough strong, straight heel to put the digit into proper alignment. That length varies between individuals.

The coffin bone is suspended within the hoof by its front and sides. It does not rest on its base. So there is no particular advantage to bringing the bone into a position where its "bottom" is level to the ground. In fact, derotating the bone into that position can put the bony column within the digit out of alignment. It compresses the front of the coffin joint and opens the navicular area to direct trauma from below. Most healthy hooves have the coffin bone slightly tipped-down within the foot. This has the structural advantages of extending the skeletal support as far down as possible where the peeling stresses are greatest (at the toe) while keeping the solar corium up off the ground and making it possible for the quarters to wear higher (ala the Four Point concept).

The frog is a horny structure which wears and exfoliates (sheds). Because of its variable height/thickness, it can't really be used as a reliable gauge for heel lengths. The frog is not the blood pump some have claimed, and does not have to bear weight for proper hoof function.

At 45°, the mechanical stresses during breakover (when the hoof goes from resting flat on the ground to the toe leaving the ground altogether) are greatly increased. In a typical hoof, lowering the toe angle from 55° to 45° causes the hoof to lift the weight of the horse an extra half-inch with every step. We're talking about an 80% stress increase here. This stress can bow tendons, crush the navicular bursa, and peel the hoof wall away from the coffin bone at the toe, thus ripping the laminae (the tissues that connect the hoof wall to the face of the coffin bone). Remember those "rehabilitation abscesses" you are likely to see with the Strasser approach? Little wonder, since the torn laminae make such a great doorway for infectious bacteria to get into the hoof capsule!


BH tells us that "Horse-keeping in the coming years is going to look different from what we see around us now. 24-hour turnout will be standard, their feed will be grass hay available 24 hours a day, they will be barefoot with a wild horse trim, and those that live on soft ground will have their feet trimmed at about 3-week intervals. "

I hate to burst her bubble, but the Horse of the Future is not going to be a pseudo-mustang galloping across 30 miles of open country every day. We can't magically turn our increasingly city-locked 5 to 20 acre stables into sprawling tracts of outback just so the horses can be "natural"... Not that this would be a particularly desirable goal to begin with.

Your horse is not a wild animal. He is the result of thousands of years of selective breeding to meet human needs. Nature never made a 17 hand, 800kg horse. She never made a horse that could win the Kentucky Derby or the grand national. Man did that. And while he was at it, Man bred horses who do well in domestic conditions with practical hoof care.

Your horse does not want to be a wild animal. Why do you think he comes to the gate and sticks his nose in a halter to go into his stall? Domestic living is not something mean old humans impose on "natural horses". It's something our horses been bred to thrive on for countless generations.

Being "natural" is not your horse's job. Being ridden or driven is. The way your horse is kept is based on keeping the animal fit and available for that job, regardless of how "unnatural" that may be.

There's nothing wrong with letting your horse go barefoot if he's normally a good candidate for it. Why spend extra money on shoeing if you only do light riding on soft to moderate trails and your horse does fine unshod? But if you're changing the way you use and keep your horse just to avoid shoeing, you are cheating yourself.

Horses are for riding. So take yours out wherever you want to go as often as you want to go there! If rocky trails, pavement, or just plain wear and tear become a problem for your barefoot horse, have a good farrier shoe the beast. Contrary to what BH says, it won't do your horse a bit of harm.

Over the next few years Strasser will sell some books, a bunch of people will make some money with "Natural Hoof Care" workshops and seminars. Maybe the "Certified Hoofcare Specialist" racket will make it across the Atlantic as well. Some noise will be made, and it'll eventually fade as it has done so many times before.

And when the "Movement" is a memory, horses will still be wearing steel shoes. Why? Because they work and work well. It's hard to argue with centuries of success.

And in the wake of it all will be many lame horses thanks to Strasser trims and "Natural" management. I shouldn't complain. I specialize in therapeutic farriery, and this fad will make me a lot of business. It's just too bad that the poor horses will have to suffer for their owners'

Thanks Mr Folly..

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

EHV-1 Uitbraak

Momenteel heeft de Britse Horse Racing te maken met een uitbraak van Equine Herpes type 1. Er wordt hard aan gewerkt om de uitbraak onder controle te krijgen. 

Wat is EHV-1? en wat moet u doen als u vermoed dat uw Paard besmet is?

Equine Herpes Virus type 1 Neurologische (EHV-1) is een ernstige ziekte bij paarden waarbij een ontsteking ontstaat van de kleine bloedvaten in het ruggenmerg en / of de hersenen.

EHV-1 Neurologische ziekte kan worden overgedragen:
door de lucht van infectie van de luchtwegen
door direct of nauw contact tussen paarden
door contact met besmette apparatuur, kleding of handen.

Een genetische test voor het identificeren van latente paarden dragers van EHV-1 Neurologische zijn beschikbaar.


Paarden met EHV-1 neurologische aandoening hebben een zwakte en verlamming van de spieren van de achterpoten, dat gebrek aan coördinatie, lopen afwijkingen en het onvermogen om op te staan ​​vanuit een zittende positie veroorzaakt.

De tijd tussen een eerste EHV-1 infectie van de luchtwegen en het begin van neurologische symptomen duurt ongeveer 8 - 12 dagen. De neurologische symptomen verschijnen plotseling en bereiken een maximale intensiteit binnen 48 uur.


Paarden met symptomen dienen te worden geïsoleerd en moet 40 meter of meer van de andere paarden. Eigenaren moeten contact opnemen met hun dierenarts.

Dierenartsen die  EHV-1 Neurologische aandoeningen vermoeden moeten contact opnemen met overheidsfunctionarissen en protocollen volgen voor het verzamelen en indienen van de nodige monsters voor laboratoriumonderzoek.

Terwijl vaccins beschikbaar zijn, wordt geen specifiek gelabeld voor de neurologische vorm van EHV-1.

EHV-1 Neurologische is bestand tegen vaccinatie en de prognose voor niet liggende paarden is gunstig, maar zeer slecht voor paarden die omlaag blijven langer dan 24 uur.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Donkey Trimming

I am now offering my E-Book 'Trimming for Comfort' for a special price for a limited time only.The book covers the basics of trimming donkeys. 

I have written the book as it has become clear to me over the years that throughout the world there is not enough time spent teaching the differences between a horses and a donkeys foot. The problem with this is that there are many, many donkeys worldwide being trimmed as if they were a horse, leading to hoof problems and lameness.
I have been shoeing horses for more than 15 years and have in the last 5+ years specialized in the trimming and orthopaedic shoeing of donkeys. A field that for one reason or another not many people specialize in.

I have worked in many different countries for different animal welfare organizations that rescue and find loving homes for mistreated and over worked animals. This work has introduced me to many different kinds of hoof problems. It still surprises me in this day and age the condition of the feet of some of the donkeys that I treat.

You can purchase the book from my website

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Winter Shoes

Yes, I know, It’s still only September! However, you can never be too prepared when it comes to the weather.

So, the question is What will you do with your horses feet this year?

You have luckily a number of choices to suit your personal situation. Many remove their horses shoes for the winter. An excellent choice if you will not be riding much when the weather is bad. A few months without shoes can be beneficial for your horses feet. There is also less chance that the feet will fill up with snow causing discomfort and possibly a dangerous situation.

If you will be riding a lot during the winter or your horse just doesn’t quite like the feeling of going barefoot, what are the options?

Standard Shoes or Concaves

Of course you can stick to the same setup as for the summer. Greasing in the soles before riding is believed to help against snowballing to a certain extent. I would however recommend the use of a concave or self-cleaning shoe. The inside of the shoe is tapered to a point against the foot, this vastly reduces the chance of mud or snow sticking in the foot.


               Standard Shoe                                              Concave Shoe        

Pins, Studs & Pads

Another option available when Shoeing in the winter is to use Tungsten anti-slip pins or nails, for use on ice and hard ground. Studs with tungsten tips are a little more extreme for use in hard snow and ice. Application of a full pad also helps reduce the snowballing effect within the sole.


Personally, I use and recommend Snow pads. The shape of the pads help to stop snowballing, but dosen’t cover the whole sole. This allows cleaning of the frog and sole. I use these pads in combination with Pins or Studs, depending on the weather conditions and riding schedule.

Your farrier will be able to advise you on which combination best is for your personally situation. 

Also feel free to email me any questions to

With the right shoeing you will be able to continue riding right throughout the winter.
Just don’t forget to wear warm socks!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Caring for a Horse with Cushing's

Cushing's disease can be scary. This endocrine disease is caused by a tumor which affects the pituitary gland. It is often seen in ponies and elderly horses, and results in high levels of cortisol and various symptoms such as excessive thirst, excessive urination, hyperglycemia, excessive eating, and a shaggy coat.

While these symptoms may be daunting, you may be asking why this disease is thought to be so scary. Cushing's compromises the immune system in your horse, threatening your horse's health and even life. As of now, there is no cure for this disease.

However, not all hope is lost. With proper care and a close eye on the horse's nutritional needs, many horses suffering from Cushing's disease can live longer, happier lives.

Caring for a Horse With Cushing's

Horses with Cushing's disease need routine care. Any changes to their horse feed, diet, or medication can negatively impact their already compromised health. While many areas of care may seem mundane and small, they are all essential to providing your horse with a better quality of life.

Consider the following horse health tips when dealing with Cushing's:

Deworming - Horses with Cushing's are more likely to contract parasites due to their compromised immune systems. Make sure to contact your vet and schedule regular appointments for deworming, as well as other basic care, such as ongoing horse health exams and dental care.

Farrier Care - Hoof abscesses, laminitis, and other hoof and leg conditions are often seen in Cushing's horses. Horses may display a tender footed stance or act as if the leg is bothering them. If you notice any signs of trouble, contact your farrier for an appointment. Be sure to also schedule regular appointments with your farrier, even if you do not notice any signs of trouble.

Grooming - Many horses with this disease have trouble with temperature regulation and their coat. You can assist your horse with this problem, however, by taking the time to groom him on a regular basis. Always ensure his coat is clean and dry, especially before you blanketing him or using a saddle. This will help prevent skin conditions from developing. You may also want to consider body clipping when the weather becomes hot or humid.

Feed - Feeding a Cushing's horse correctly is essential to a longer and happier life. Many need help regulating their insulin and blood glucose levels. This means you must ensure the sugar and starch in their diet is controlled. This may mean limiting the amount of pasture your horse feeds on and using supplements to control your horse's insulin level.

Consider feed that contains mehionine, biotin, lysine, complete trace minerals, and vitamin E in. These will support the growth of the hoof, assist in maintaining muscle mass, and support the immune system.

With these tips, you should be more equipped to keep your horse's health in check and provide him with a happier and brighter future. While there may not be a cure for Cushing's disease, proper care can help to extend your horse's life.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Be your farriers favourite customer

Before i start, don’t get me wrong!! I enjoy trimming and shoeing all of the horses in my customer list. If every horse stood quietly with its feet raised, just waiting for me to start work, my life would be A LOT easier. There would of course be a lot more farriers, and less work to go around. I would like to also make it clear that this is by no way a complaint or comment about a particular customer or situation. Regard this more as an tiny piece of honest, friendly advice on how to become your farriers favourite customer. If you live in an area where farriers live all around you and it is easy for you to get an appointment, you can probably stop reading now. If however, you live, like most people, in an area where it is not always easy to get a farrier to come round to trim or shoe your horse, this advice could be a real gem.

Many farriers are working long hours and on a very tight schedule. Very often I hear that the only complaint a horse owner has regarding their farrier, is that “he always turns up late!!” which brings me to my first tip..
When your farrier turns up, have you already caught your horse and have him ready to be trimmed/shod? If the answer is No, it is probably because you have been let down before and why should you stand around waiting only for your farrier to turn up late?! This unfortunately creates the very problem that you, as a customer hate. Another reason that your farrier could get held up is when a customer has an appointment for 2 horses and these 2 horses magically become 3 or 4. Your farrier will want to do them straight away, to save on fuel costs and time but he will then be late for his next appointment and so on. If there is any change in the number of horses to be trimmed/shod, let your farrier know in advance. There are of course times when farriers make a mistake or don’t plan enough time for an appointment. I think it then also good manners to contact the customer(s) that will be affected as soon as it is known that there is a hold up.

Do you have a place for your farrier to work that is clean, dry and providing the necessary amenities such as water and electric? It is not always possible to have such a work area for your farrier and your farrier more than likely understands that. It does however make a big difference when your farrier doesn’t have to walk around in circles or get soaking wet..

I love dogs! I really do!! I love them so much that the thought of your lovely dog being flattened by your horse really turns my stomach. Horses (even the bomb-proof ones) will, from time to time be startled or put their foot down unexpectedly. Please make sure your other four-footed friend is not in the vicinity when this occurs..  

If you would like to pay your farrier at a later date, let them know before work commences. We live in a digital age where many people no longer carry cash, and many farriers have a payment machine in the car. However not all farriers work digitally and they would expect to get ‘the butter with the fish’ as they say in Holland. If you want to get credit in shops etc. You would probably be first subject to a credit check. I for one would not know where to begin when checking a customers credit rating. I also have no problem at all if my customers pay at a later date, but to expect credit without first asking is a little bit cheeky..

Once again, I would like to say that this is by no means a rant. Why would it be?? All of my customers are ‘perfect’ customers!! It is however the small details that make a business relationship a good one.

I would like to write an article on how to be the customers favourite farrier and I invite you to send me your ‘tips and advice’ to me at
Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ik denk dat uw paard een Koliek heeft..

“Ik denk dat uw paard een koliek heeft” Woorden om angst in het hart van een paarden eigenaar te jagen. Maar wat is koliek? Op welke tekenen moet u  letten?

Koliek verwijst naar pijn, van oorsprong uit de buik. Over het algemeen tolereren paarden  geen buikpijn, dus als er een verstoring van de darmfunctie is vertonen ze vaak tekenen van pijn. Tekenen van een licht ongemak laten ze zien door een gestrekt lijf, staande als om te plassen, en over de grond schrapen. Als het pijnlijker wordt  gaat het paard staan en liggen op en neer, en rollen om te proberen  meer comfortabel te worden. Hij zal beginnen te zweten. In een meer ernstig geval zal het paard opstaan en liggen en voortdurend rollen.
Als u denkt dat uw paard koliek heeft, moet u meteen contact opnemen met een ervaren paarden dierenarts. Hij of zij zal in staat zijn om noodhulp te verlenen en de pijn te verlichten en de vraag of verdere behandeling noodzakelijk is vast te stellen.
Wat kunt u doen terwijl u wacht op de dierenarts? Het nemen van uw paard voor een wandeling helpt vaak. Het kan aanmoedigen zijn ingewanden  normaal te laten werken en de pijn te verzachten. Het kan ook voorkomen dat hij gaat liggen en rollen. Als hij stil gaat liggen laat hem daar blijven.
Vroeger dacht men dat een paard een verdraaide darm kon veroorzaken door te rollen. Dat is waarschijnlijk niet waar. Het beste is proberen om te voorkomen dat hij gaat rollen. Op die manier voorkomt u dat hij zichzelf verwondt  door te bonzen op de stalmuren. Wees voorzichtig dat je zelf niet gewond raakt. Paarden vergeten vaak al hun normale omgangsvormen als ze pijn hebben.
Er zijn veel verschillende redenen dat paarden koliek krijgen,  maar de tekenen lijken vaak ongeacht de oorzaak hetzelfde.
Wat zal de dierenarts doen om het probleem te onderzoeken? Hij of zij luistert naar de buik met een stethoscoop om te vertellen of er meer of minder activiteit in de darm is dan normaal.
De hartslag geeft een goede indicatie van de ernst van de pijn en de ernst van het probleem.  Als een paard een normale hartslag heeft, gaat het waarschijnlijk niet over een ernstig probleem. Overwegende, een hoge hartslag is niet zo'n goed teken.
Een zeer nuttig onderdeel van het examen is het rectale onderzoek. Door te voelen door de darmen kan de dierenarts de oorzaak van het probleem vaak vinden. Het spreekt vanzelf dat dit een zeer ervaren procedure is die potentieel gevaarlijk kan zijn voor zowel de dierenarts en het paard. Maar voor een ervaren paarden dierenarts is de informatie die het geeft van onschatbare waarde bij het bepalen van de aard van het probleem. Het kan onthullen of er een verstopping is of een gezwollen lus van darm als gevolg van een twist of intestinale ramp.
In alle, maar de meest eenvoudige gevallen kan de dierenarts een sonde inbrengen via de neus in de maag. Het klinkt vervelend, maar vaak kan het paard meer comfortabel worden door het vrijgeven van de druk in de maag.  het kan ook de dierenarts nuttige informatie geven over de vraag of de maag goed leeg wordt.
Soms heeft het paard zoveel pijn dat het onmogelijk is voor de dierenarts naar behoren het paard te onderzoeken  zonder hem eerst een dosis van sedatieve of pijnstiller te geven.
Alleen door rekening te houden met alle tekenen en een zorgvuldig onderzoek is de dierenarts in staat om een ​​voorlopige diagnose te stellen. Zelfs dan is het misschien niet mogelijk om precies te vertellen wat er gaande is.
Soms na het eerste onderzoek, zal het duidelijk zijn dat het paard een spoedoperatie nodig heeft, maar de dierenarts  besluit  vaker in het algemeen om het paard te behandelen met een kortwerkende pijnstiller en zijn toestand te herzien na een paar uur. De meeste gevallen tonen een snelle verbetering. Maar sommigen zullen ofwel niet reageren op de behandeling, of ze zullen verbeteren op het eerste gezicht, maar later opnieuw beginnen met tekenen van pijn.
In plaats van de dierenarts een paar keer te roepen, is het meestal beter om deze zaken over te laten aan een gespecialiseerde paarden praktijk waar zij nauw kan worden gevolgd en een operatie kan worden uitgevoerd indien nodig.
De meeste gevallen reageren gelukkig op een medische behandeling. Als er een chirurgie nodig is, is het belangrijk om vroeg te opereren. De kans op een succesvol resultaat is veel beter als de operatie wordt uitgevoerd voordat er te veel schade is ontstaan.