I have been trimming Sonny for about a year now at his owners house. He is chronically laminetic, which means he has inflammation in his hooves that causes him to be lame. This is an illness more related to diet and weight then hooves. Unfortunately for him, he is a breed very prone to this, as they were bred to apperantly live quite happily eating sticks and rocks. His owner did everything right, built him a dry lot, put him on grass hay, and took him off grain. These things usually are the trick.
Still he was occasionally sore. This winter he has had more trouble, the ground has been frozen rock hard, which makes him not want to move. But without exercise he gains weight, which makes the laminitis worse, which makes him even more sore and reluctant to move, it's a vicious cycle. We cast his feet about 3 weeks ago, which made him much more comfortable.
They aren't very interesting to look at, but he gets around pretty well. He will now willingly walk around, and even picked up a trot yesterday when I brought out hay.
Sonny came to stay with me for rehabilition. He is on basically the same diet, but I hope to add more exercise to his regimine. Right now Honey is doing the work for me, "chasing" him at a walk from hay pile to hay pile. It's a slow game of musical hay piles apperantly, because she would hate to break into a trot, or pass by a pile of hay without eating for few minutes.
Diet and exercise are the most important part of rehabbing these guys. Exercise can be tricky, as you are walking a thin line between enough exercise to make improvement, but not enough to make him sore. That's where boots and casts take over, protecting his hooves and keeping him comfortable while he gets enough movement to improve. He will likely need handwalked for awhile to give his feet time to heal, then riding in boots and pads to up the exercise even more.
I plan to write a lot about Sonny and his hooves. Next week I'll take the casts off and have lots of hoof pictures. At that point I'll decide between boots and pads or casting him again. It will depend heavily on how hard the ground is and how well he is moving.