My Journey to become A FormaHoof Certified Applicator
By FCA, Horse Trainer & Hoof Care Provider, Desiree Maile Lavilla, Thailand
Desiree Maile Lavilla and her husband Shayan are professional equestrians living in Thailand. While we may all dream of living somewhere as beautiful as Thailand and being able to gallop on white sandy beaches and swim bareback with our horses in crystal clear blue water, keeping and training horses in a country such as Thailand does present many challenges.
Desiree got in touch with us to tell us about the hoof care and farriery issues she has faced with her horses and the significant results that she and Shayan been able to achieve with FormaHoof.
A Whole Horse Approach From Hoof to Head
Maile and Shayan mostly train exhibition/show horses in classical dressage. However, they don’t have a “religion” when it comes to horses and have trained horses for almost everything, working with a variety of breeds, small to large. According to Maile, “We believe in the importance of ‘training the whole horse. We make sure that our equine partners receive the best in everything and for us that starts at the feet”.
The Challenge Of A Global Pandemic!
My husband and I have been training in Thailand for about 4 years. Unfortunately, due to previous poor management, the horses in our care had many issues that needed to be addressed. One of the biggest issues was, of course, their feet and the challenge was finding the person with the skills in Thailand to help us get back on track.
Thailand is a beautiful country for a tropical holiday, but a horrible country in which to find any kind of horse-professional. Through a network, we managed to find a farrier that would travel from Korea to Thailand to help the horses on a better pathway of hoof care. It took two years to get something that resembled proper feet and the next step was to transition as many hooves to barefoot as was achievable.
And then boom … Covid 19 lockdown and no more farrier from Korea. We needed a solution. While many of our horses were on a better pathway, we still had a few that needed more help. We had been battling NPA, thin soles, broken back axis, weak hoof walls, contracted heels, flat feet, underrun heels, and conformational defects.
The FormaHoof Solution For Our Hoof Problems
While we are professional equestrians and have studied and trained with professional farriers and veterinarians, we are not farriers or vets, but have trimmed our horses before. The pandemic forced us to become a self-contained hoof care provider which turned into a blessing. We needed a solution that we could do ourselves, that would allow us to achieve our goals with the horses and give us the ability to correct the problems that traditional metal shoes had not corrected.
FormaHoof seemed like the perfect solution.
We studied the FormaHoof website to understand which mould would be best for our needs and ordered the styles and sizes we wanted online. We were slightly nervous as it was a big investment, but we needed an effective solution and FormaHoof just made sense!
The FormaHoof team were incredibly helpful at every step of the way and once our kits had arrived, we had a video call to talk us through the process as this took place before the FCA course was launched.. We’ve since gone on to complete the FormaHoof Academy and I am now a FCA!
Since the start, we have had significant results in all of the cases we have FormaHoof applied on, but there is one in particular that is significant to me. I will call him “J” for this story.
In the video below you see me applying FormaHoof on J.
Contracted, underrun, and crushed heels, thin soles, long toes, chronic tendonitis and lameness - The Story Of Our Horse "J" & FormaHoof
J is very heavy for a PRE. He has poor conformation, head to toe. Every part of his body should belong to a different horse! He is not that storybook beautiful that is typical of the breed and so he was kind of neglected in his management and training by his previous caretakers and because of his poor conformation, this was greatly seen in his feet.
J had no heels. They had been greatly contracted, underrun, and crushed. He had an extremely thin sole and long toes. He had been on and off lame for years with chronic tendonitis. Every time he was shod he was lame for no less than three days after.
We had tried a variety of corrective shoes: wedges, pads, elevated heels, bars… Some of these techniques gave him relief, some helped him get a little better, but after two years of trial and error, it felt like we had reached a plateau. J wasn’t getting worse, but he was not getting any better. J was the biggest reason and motivation for us to try FormaHoof. While he might not win the beauty contest, J has the biggest heart. He will work to please, is never in a bad mood, and gives 110% every day. When he moves, he has so much grace and impulsion and this was all hidden under his inability to dance in clown shoes. With the first application of FormaHoof, we were able to be more aggressive with his toe trim and noticed the immediate change in the angles. In the second application, we noticed the sole concavity and had sole depth increase. And with more time, the sky is the limit.
J is now in FormaHoof since November 2020 and has grown an significant amount of heel and sole depth. Images shared below are from his very first application comparing barefoot to the FormaHoof application.
Treating Various Horses & Hoof Problems With FormaHoof (by Desiree Maile Lavilla)
One Tool - Many Solutions
FormaHoof is the most effective solution to a wide range of hoof problems the equine world faces on a daily basis. From laminitis, thin soles and white line disease to conformation, developmental and poor performance issues, FormaHoof offers immediate pain relief whilst giving stability and support to allow the hoof to regenerate, naturally.
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