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Feel-good Navicular Stories?

Greetings everyone!

My girlfriend has a magnificent thoroughbred gelding. Early last year he experienced problems with Navicular. After taking Osphos, he seems to have improved to the point of almost complete soundness. She is very distraught however, as she is afraid that having a history with Navicular limits the potential her horse has to succeed in the dressage world. Does anybody have any feel good stories about Navicular to help soothe her nerves? Have any high performing horses struggled with Navicular or similar problems? Good anecdotes would be greatly appreciated.


Old style Dutch Warmblood - from the lines the Dutch were shipping out here because they were trying to get rid of their navicular horses, I suspect. Big, heavy dude. Went lame shortly after he was started under saddle, exams showed navicular. He was given 1 year with special shoeing, 1 more year if nerved, then maybe another year at pasture before he was too lame and had to be put down.

He’s a teenager and schooling GP.

He was taken barefoot, carefully, with time off as needed for him to adapt. It helped open up his heels and improve blood flow, develop more cushion from the hoof structures. The barefoot route can either help or cripple them - but there was nothing to lose in this horse’s case. And the gamble worked. He now gives zero reaction to hoof testers, and other than recently breaking a splint while playing too hard, he’s in good shape.

I have one, mine was diagnosed with navicular, I was able to manage it with shoeing, navicular bursa injections and acupuncture. Increasing his turnout as much as possible helped as well. He was laid up for a bit with a hind suspensory, but came back from that was sound on the wonky navicular foot and schooling GP until he colicked and I had to put him down. A good vet/farrier team is essential and I was shocked at how much the acupuncture helped (I was a total skeptic beforehand!)

My retired (31 year old) Grand Prix jumper has navicular. . . he was well managed with good shoeing, injections and lots of turn out. Way back then Isoxuprine was the drug of choice orally as well and it did seem to help. He showed until his early 20’s with no major issues. We retired him with no riding about 5 years ago, mostly because he deserves it! He is wonderful and while not super sound now, he still plays outside and runs around with the younger guys.

I have a 21 year old TB mare who is now sound and still going strong. 24/7 turnout on very good footing and an amazing barefoot trimmer. I originally purchased this horse as a 5-year old, sold her as a 10-year old, got her back at age 14 because she needed to be retired due to lameness from the navicular syndrome. She does not jump anymore, but showed (jumpers through 2’9") and fox hunted until she was 19. Her feet look the best (had her X-rayed last year) they ever have.

Is this actually true navicular, where the bone is affected or is it non-specific pain in the heel area? I know of one with pain in the heel area, that improved remarkably with shoeing changes, and I know of one with actual bone changes who also improved with shoeing changes.

This was before Osphos and Tildren.

My 15 year old horse was diagnosed with navicular when he was (9?) I believe. He was quite lame, and we tried shoeing with every type of special shoe there is. He would be sound for a few months then go back to being lame. This went on for years. Eventually, after he went lame yet again, my farrier pulled his shoes. About 2 months later, he became completely sound and hasn’t taken a lame step since (knock on wood). That was four years ago.
We took x-rays of his feet, but those are notorious for being inaccurate when diagnosing navicular. I have a feeling that he never had navicular, but actually something else that typically is diagnosed as navicular.

I leased a BN/N packer who had navicular. He was 10 when I started leasing him and he was sound when I sent him back at 12. It was injections and good shoeing that helped.

Get a good farrier. My rider’s top horse the last four years has whatever grade 3? Navicular changes. Winning grand prixs in Europe, purchased last year by an Olympian for mid six figures. Has never been off a day.

Our current six year old, same issue, just won the six year olds here yesterday, has been positively scouted by two Olympians and I expect she’ll be another grand prix horse in two years.

Good farrier.

my friend’s warmblood was diagnosed with Navicular about 6 years ago. She didn’t think she would be able to ride him again. She has been working with Rood and Riddle on his therepeutic shoeing. He is sound today and he’s able to be ridden at 1st level and does some shows and clinics.

My gelding was diagnosed 4 years ago, fortunately caught it before there was changes so it would be classed as heel pain. With the vet and new farrier working together he had corrective shoeing for about three months and then was able to go back to standard shoes.

We touch wood haven’t looked back and he’s schooling fourth level without any issues. My farrier is very mindful of his angles, he’s a horse that doesn’t grow a lot of heel and primarily grows toe so something that needs to be checked back every shoeing.

My mare has navicular (changes and inflammation of the bone, damage to surrounding soft tissue) as dx’d by MRI. She’s not “high performing” but way sounder than I expected she would be. She gets special shoes (bar, wedges, equipak), had a regional limb perfusion of Tildren last fall, then once Osphos came out has been getting that every 6 months. She gets isoxsuprine BID and previcox. Just injected her coffin and have had bursa done in the past but didn’t notice a difference. She’s not clinically sound but perfectly happy to do lower level work and she loves to have a job. PM me if your friend wants to see 18 million “this is what she looks like after x, y, z therapy” youtube clips :lol:

My drafty cross mare developed stress related navicular, diagnosed when she was mid teens. Up to this time, she had been barefoot for 12 years, with fabulous hard, beautifully shaped hooves. We did a little of everything, but the lameness in her right front finally caught up with her. Images showed bone cysts in the outer margin of her navicular bone Therapeutic shoeing, time off helped alot, as did working on her straightness. What really helped was a product called OCD Pellets, a bone builder, and chiropractic treatments. As I am unable to do the more expensive medications, I was relieved when she began to move true and freely.
I will be putting her back into a program this spring and we will go forward as long as she remains comfortable. We’ll just be doing non-competitive dressage and trails, in-hand work and having fun.
In her case, her problem came about because her intrinsic crookedness wasn’t addressed adequately, either by those who rode her (myself included) or by the farriers who trimmed her long and didn’t attempt to balance her off side toeing in.
Best wishes with your horse!

In 1987 my quarter horse gelding “E” Ticket aka Herman my equitation and hunter was diagnosed with navicular at the age of 17. Retired him at 20 due to continuing soundness issues. During retirement he was barefoot and kept on a dry lot. After a couple of years he was so sound that I brought him back to have a go at horse trials. He went out of this world sound, I had to put him down in 1998 as he had cancer in one of his kidneys.