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Tendon Case Study - Cinderella

This tendon case study features Cinderella, a grey and white miniature horse we rescued (along with her buddy Prince) in January 2012, thanks to very generous donations from Tracy Ward, Bonnie Buckler-McPherson, Michelle Wallace, Lori Wylie-Potter, Fiona MacWilliam, Patricia Jankul, Holly Jelley, Angie Lang, Megan Leitch and Joan Folkes.

Here are pictures of her on the day we rescued her and as you can see she is suffering from severe malnutrition, and has very lax tendons.

Cinderella Jan 2012

Her previous owner told us that she got her from Alberta when she was 6 months old and had done nothing to try and fix the tendon issue. She was born in May 2010 and from the looks of her has never had proper nutrition hence the lack of muscle. Tendons are controlled by muscles so her underdevelopment is making the tendon issue much worse than if she had a healthy muscle mass. Her previous owner was delusional about the condition of this poor filly.

We were told that she had had regular hoof care with the last trim being in October and the next one due in Feb. So whilst this could be interpreted as regular, it is certainly not frequent enough to serve it's purpose!

As the photos below show, the long toes and underrun heels just force her back onto those weak tendons and make walking very hard. Notice how she is walking on the heel bulbs and almost the entire bottom of the hoof is not making any contact with the ground.

weak tendons

We let them settle in for a few days with free choice, good quality hay before undertaking trimming. The following photos show the befores and afters of each hoof after her first proper trim.

Notice how in the before photos she is weightbearing on only a small portion of her sole (indicated by the red line) and how the majority is off the ground (indicated by the purple line). In the after photos this ratio has dramatically changed as the hoof is brought back underneath her boney column, closer to where it is supposed to be.

long toes
long toes

This gives her a more stable base to land on, rather than a wobbly rocker foot and the reduced breakover means she doesn't have to put so much effort into walking. Below is a video showing comparisons of the dramatic change in her gait after the trim. She still has a long way to go but it is very encouraging to see the improvement.

The following photos show the marked improvement in her stance after the trim. Notice how she is now standing with her front legs more under her shoulder, where they should be.

improved stance after trim


Ella and Prince were adopted by Lori Wyle-Potter in March and have a wonderful living environment where they have plenty of room to run and play. Ella had a recurring snotty nose for a couple of months which along with medication and her return to improved health has cleared up completely. The transformation in both her and Prince is astounding. You would never know now that she had any tendon issues - see photos and video below - truly remarkable what a good trim, diet and exercise can do.

tendon recovery

front left tendon recovery

rear left tendon recovery

If you'd like to make a donation to help rescue more horses like Cinderella please click here.

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