Before heading back to school, most kids pick up a pair of new shoes because their feet grow (sometimes an entire size!) over the summer months.
Twinkle’s feet grow, too, and she’s made huge strides recently despite missing one-third of the coffin bone in both front hooves. (The coffin bone is the foundation of the horse’s foot and provides strength and stability).
In a remarkable touch of creative hoof care, Hope Reins’ “fashion-forward” farrier, Lisa Ross, suggested the micro-miniature horse don a pair of sneakers to support her tiny, malformed feet.
“Twinkle’s hooves don’t have the structural integrity of other horses,” says Equine Manager, Elizabeth Kennon. “We tried to figure out how to cushion her feet and alleviate as much pain as possible when she walks.”
According to Elizabeth, traditional hoof boots were not an option because of her extensive deformity.
When Lisa remarked how similar Twinkle’s front feet looked to a child’s – a lightbulb went off. The next day, Twinkle’s trainer showed up with a size 2 pair of pink sneakers. “We put them on for about an hour to see how she did,” says Elizabeth. “I’ve never seen her stride so comfortably.”
It’s not the first time Lisa has saved Twinkle from pain.
The farrier rescued the tiny horse three years ago after finding her in a junkyard, malnourished and immobilized from severely overgrown hooves.
Lisa began months of treatment on the mare’s misshapen hooves and petite legs. “I knew when I saw Twinkle’s determination to heal, she belonged at Hope Reins where kids could learn her story of resilience,” she says.
Lisa donated her to the ranch and has been trimming Twinkle’s “toes” ever since.
“It’s been astonishing to see how far she’s come,” says Elizabeth. “Twinkle’s whole back was rounded down and her front legs twisted when she arrived. Now, she’s walking straighter and her whole skeletal frame has improved.”
Thankfully, Twinkle’s sneakers help her amble around the ranch much more comfortably to visit other horses. And, who knows, perhaps she’ll be sporting a pair of shoes complements of the iconic brand Nike very soon!
After all, who better exemplifies the spirit of the swoosh, Michael Jordan or Twinkle? “Just Do It, Twinkle!”