A few years back I was fortunate to help rescue a small shetland pony from it's sadly knowledgeable owner. The owner lived across the street from us. Normally the pony would graze their 1 acre pasture until the bought an angus calf. Then the pony and calf would share the pasture. One day I saw the pony penned up and the calf had now gotten large. I thought nothing more about it until 6 months later. The angus ended up in their freezer and the pony still remained penned up.
My daughter was now 6 years old and had expressed an interest in ponies. I went across the street to find out where they got their pony from and ended up with their pony. You see the pony had foundered during the time the calf was with them. In order to fatten up the angus for the dinner table, they fed large amounts of alfalfa and the pony had enjoyed it too. Unfortunately the free feeding of alfalfa had caused the pony's hooves to founder and the owners solution was to pen the pony up……………for months on end. They got their solution from another "horse expert" in the neighborhood and never had a vet look at the pony. After hearing that story, I was only too happy to take the pony out of that situation.
After getting the pony home the first order of business was to get it's hooves trimmed (they had them trimmed over a year ago!!!). After finding out the condition of the hooves from my farrier the next order of business was to balance the pony's diet to encourage good and fast hoof growth. I added a good quality biotin supplement and powdered gelatin to the pony's feed. After 5 weeks I had the farrier come back and trim the pony's hoofs again. This time he asked me what I did since he noticed a marked difference in the amount of blood in the hooves. I told him and then another 5 weeks past and he came out for another visit. This time he was amazed…..no blood in the hooves at all!!! In just 3 months I had managed to improve that pony's feet to the point they were no longer ouchy for the pony and the pony could now start it's training for becoming a riding pony.
My daughter showed the pony in English classes and won a few ribbons with her. After my daughter outgrew the pony we found a wonderful home for her.
A friend of mine now owns that pony and she is a pasture pet and companion for her other horses. She continues to keep an eye on her hooves.