LizzyMint Photography: Blog en-us (C) LizzyMint Photography (LizzyMint Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:55:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:55:00 GMT LizzyMint Photography: Blog 120 80 Equine Canker, Jimbobs story I wanted to write down my experience of Canker, which is a rare disease of the horse's hoof. When I first found out about it and googled day after day to try and find new ideas, I just kept finding what looked like the same copied and pasted text from a veterinary textbook that really wasn’t any help with living with this thing day to day. Or I found pages that were trying to push a wonder product that cost a fortune. So here is our story, (I apologise as it is LONG!) and maybe it will help someone out there who is feeling as lost as I was!

My horse is a traditional gypsy cob called Jimbob. 16 years old, mine for 14 years, we have been through lots together, but this is the hardest battle we have had to face yet. It began with smelly feet, and a deep central sulcus in the hind feet, with some white creamy stuff visible now and again. Farrier advised me to treat as thrush, so I did with various lotions and potions and expensive “thrush killers”, with no effect.

Around this time, Jim started to stamp his hind feet. Now he is a feathered horse, and we had struggled with mites years ago, but had eradicated them with pig oil and sulphur. So I reapplied the pig oil and observed for a few weeks, and I realised he wasn’t stamping in the stable, wasn’t itching his legs, nobody heard him stamping when I wasn’t around, and he would only stamp when he was trotting. So I started to wonder is it his arthritis? (Mild in both hinds) This carried on, rapid stamping for a few minutes then he would trot away fine. Then one day I had him out on the road and asked him to trot and he stopped dead and stamped his hind feet SO hard and SO fast on the concrete I really panicked and thought he was going to fracture something. I asked him to move on when he had finished and he started again, and again, and again. When he stopped I walked him cautiously home, and started researching what this could be, when I discovered it could be a sign of pain in the hoof. Have to point out at this point, Jim was not lame, and never has shown any unevenness in his gait.

This was when I also saw something on the internet that said about something called canker oozing white, cottage cheese like substance. I had heard of canker many years ago, but didn’t know what it was exactly. This rang alarm bells so I got another farrier to give me a second opinion. He had a good look round, warned me it might get gruesome and there might be a lot of blood. Eventually there was a slight bit of blood, and he said, “I don’t think its canker. I’ve seen it before and I don’t think this is it, it’s not bleeding easily enough.” I had read that it would bleed profusely with the slightest touch, so this gave me confidence, in fact I burst into tears with relief, so I carried on treating as thrush and tried another different treatment.

About this time I decided to switch to a barefoot trimmer, who also advised me to treat it as thrush, so I carried on some more. This was all happening around the same time, and the stamping was getting worse. In desperation I called the vet. She took one look and my heart dropped when she said “This is definitely Canker.” All that I had read was that this was a death sentence. It was DOOM and I was going to lose my horse, he was going to have to have operations I couldn’t afford, doom doom doom dooooooooom.

So the vet started to cut into the frog and cut all the Canker out. Jim was a diamond, just stood quietly eating fibre nuggets, and the vet remarked that he should be throwing her around the yard! There was much more canker under the frog than could be seen, and she got as much as she could. He also had some in the center of his right hind, but not as severe. Due to Jim not being insured, my funds being limited, and him having a previous history of Laminitis in both front feet, which could be kicked off again by the trauma, the full frog removal operation was ruled out. The vet had dealt with this before, and had some success with other cases with a treatment of Peroxide wash, Terramycin spray, and copper sulphate granules packed into the foot, so we tried that.

I don’t have any pictures of the immediate aftermath because there was a lot of blood, but this was several weeks later. I struggled massively to treat it by myself, and everything seemed to sting his foot. Occasionally I was able to borrow a strong man to hold his foot still while I applied the treatments, but it was a serious struggle when I was on my own.

This continued for six weeks until the vet was to return. I carried on treating where I could, without much improvement, he was getting more wary of me touching his feet, I couldn’t keep his foot clean, and I couldn’t find a way to wrap it up and for it to stay on. The vet came for a second visit, to cut the canker away again. This time was not so easy, he did throw her around the yard. He was then sedated, and was still lashing out with real venom. So he had as much local anaesthetic as possible injected into his frog, and still he threw the poor vet around like a rag doll. The yard was a bloodbath, it was awful. Again I didn’t get any pictures, as you couldn’t see anything with all the blood. But this is a couple of weeks after.

After that trim, we had to start all over again with him letting me treat it. I would start to see improvement, then the trimmer would come and trim the frog. This picture is about 2 weeks after the last.

By accident online, I found a product called NT DRY powder. Thinking it would be worth a go to help keep the foot dry at least, I bought some and used it for a week. It seemed to make him drastically more comfortable, and he started to trust me with his feet again. I started to see improvement again. This is about three weeks later. 

I’m gonna warn you, if you are dealing with this, it is seriously demoralising. You think you are on top of it, you think it’s looking better, but that’s just the top layer, and the Canker will have closed itself in and be raging underneath. Each trim revealed it had either grown or moved to another place. Looks good ish here, right?

Two days later, after a trim:

Eventually the whole frog looked dry ontop, but would squelch when pressed. We then realised the canker had under-run the entire frog. At this point we had had the wettest ever winter on record in the UK. The vet had told me not to let it get wet or muddy, but he was confined to his box and getting fed up. He lashed out one day and although he didn't connect with me, he threw me clean across the stable and into the wall with the force. I gave up and turned him out in hoof boots, but they let the water in so he was standing in a wet boot. So I wrapped his hooves in several layers of plastic and duct tape, and somehow the water still got in. The girls on the yard bought me brightly coloured and patterened duct tape to cheer me up!!

Eventually I thought sod it, go and get muddy and enjoy yourself and I’ll just have to wash the hoof when you come in. I would rather a happy horse, than a miserable one locked in his stable, if it meant the canker got worse then so be it! I would wash and dry the feet with a towel, then use paper towels to get in the cracks.

Again I was seeing improvements, and again my hopes were dashed! Before trim:

After trim:

Wasn't bleeding that time, canker seemed to be receding, dared to get my hopes up. Four weeks later, this happened...

That day my trimmer mentioned that one of her customers had tried Echinacea for sarcoids, and the sarcoids all dropped off! Now in my long late nights of scouring the internet, I had learned that there had been “Consistent detection of bovine papillomavirus in the cells of horses affected by hoof canker”. It’s not said that the virus has CAUSED the canker, but it is present, and the virus IS what causes sarcoids. What the hell, it can’t hurt, let’s give it a try!

By this time, I’ll admit, I had gotten a bit sporadic in applying the treatment. It was depressing and demoralising, soooo time consuming, it killed my back, he was trying so hard to be a good boy but he hated having it done. I tried wrapping in nappies and duct tape in the stable to keep clean, so many variations, we got quite the pros at wrapping a perfect hoof, but the plastic caused his hooves to sweat, and in the morning I would find that he had neatly stepped out of his little plastic slippers somehow, without damaging them, and his feet were full of shavings and poo again. I was going through so much duct tape, and everyone was saving me their empty feed bags to use as wrapping. I came to dread looking over the stable door to see these perfect little horsy booties stood there empty. I could not physically wrap them any tighter and yet he still got out of them, it was INFURIATING!

I started looking for breathable boots, and bought a Shires poultice boot, made of canvas, hoping it would keep his feet clean and dry. Nope. Trashed three boots in a row, maximum they lasted was two days and he walked through the bottoms of them, but in the days they stayed on, they made a big difference! I bought more and he trashed them too, at £11 a boot it wasn’t funny. They were either too small or too big. I sat up all night and made my own boot, made to measure! Made a wire model of his hoof, sculpted a 6 layer duct tape base around it, got some fabric and busted out the sewing machine, which wouldn’t stitch through it, so stitched it by hand. Yes, this is gonna work! Fit like a glove, perfect!

Came up the next morning and it was in shreds around the stable. I cried. Researched other options, like the moss creek hoof wrap, or the easy boot RX, or the equine slipper which was only available in the US, there were others but I was out of funds and they were all expensive.

So I was tired, in constant floods of tears, almost ready to give up, when I bought some Echinaecea in the form of Hilton Herbs Equimmune plus. I read all the info and thought what harm can it do, at best it will boost his immune system and try and fight it from the inside out! I don’t know what I was hoping for, desperation had set in, maybe a miracle? A few days went by, nothing happened. Then more nothing. After three weeks though, I noticed something. I wasn’t having to dry his gooey feet with paper towels. There was no cottage cheese. Pieces of frog and canker were starting to crumble off.

I got another passing farrier on the yard to trim off the flappy bits, which neatened it up. So with a little renewed hope, I decided to go on the attack again. I considered contacting Shires and buying a box of 100 boots, but while I was out on a photoshoot at the other side of town, I noticed a small tack shop and popped in. Bought another poultice boot of a different make, re stocked on the vets products and treated the foot again.

What a surprise, this IV horse poultice boot stayed in one piece! It had an extra layer of canvas, it was stronger, but far too big. So I got out the duct tape again and wrapped it just around the front, to give it an extra layer of tread, and to make it fit tight to the hoof to try and stop it slipping down too much. Well, it stayed on overnight. With the duct tape renewed every night, it ended up lasting about 3 weeks before wearing its first hole, but with added duct tape (LOL, I had enough of it in stock!) it lasted about 6 weeks!! I stopped using the peroxide altogether, as it would never dry up and seemed to be making things worse, and I read it kills healthy cells as well as unhealthy. I had also tried a hypochlourus solution called RenaSan, which again seemed to make it worse. So I just stuck with the dry method. Six weeks of a clean dry foot, poulticed up with blue spray and copper sulphate overnight, then off to let the foot breathe and used NT dry powder in the day.

I found another brand of poultice boot from “The little yellow tack shop” which are called “Hoof it”. Again, nice and strong, and with the added duct tape they are lasting for weeks. The foot can breathe. It seems like we have FINALLY hit on the right combination, as we are seeing BIG changes with the foot. It’s so dry now, that the trimmer is struggling to trim it, the hoof is like concrete. The canker is shrivelling up and going hard, which is then cutting off (with a bit of effort!)


Feeling renewed hope, I get the vet back, who is extremely pleased with the results. Except when she goes in with the hoof knife…. You guessed it, there it is again. It’s now burrowing through one of the bars of his hoof. This slayed me again. How does it keep running away! How can it keep hiding itself! What else can I DO!!!! I can’t do this anymore! However, the central sulcus on both feet had made a vast improvement, as had other parts of the frog. So we decided to keep on going. The vet couldn’t take much off as he wouldn’t let her without more sedation, but the trimmer was nearly due anyway.

In the picture below, the canker was headed under the sole, at the green arrow.

That piece of sole began to lift up ready to come off, so I called the trimmer. 

I gave him a Danilon in the morning so we could really go at it, and we did, to discover it had gone through the bar and into the sole! Under what looked like perfectly healthy sole was a large section of diseased hoof. (Ignore the blue, it's stained from the spray)

BUT!! The frog was clear and healthier than it had ever looked!! We had BEATEN IT BACK! Something was working, and it was running away in a different direction. This has just renewed my resolve. If I have to chase it round the foot again and again, then I will.

A week later there is another big improvement. The canker is shrivelling up again.

The vet advised me to get a hoof knife so I can keep chipping off the very tops of the canker where it hardens, as it tends to seal itself in and the treatment stops working. There is NO odour, NO moisture. He is into his 7th or 8th week of the Equimmune supplement. The weather is drying out, so he is getting more turnout, and heading into spring in a positive mindset. He’s sound, happy, as feisty as usual, so bring it on!

Things I’ve discovered:

  • Wear rubber gloves when treating, because the canker smell is vile and takes forever to wash out of hands or clothes!
  • The canker gets angry. It can look great after a trim, then within 24 hours it swells up and seems more aggressive.
  • The infected hoof grows at a rapid rate. I’ve gone from a horse that needed trimming after 8 weeks or more, to 4 week intervals, and even that isn’t enough, hence me getting a hoof knife!
  • It protects itself and hardens up on the outside. You need to keep it exposed where possible!
  • Once the copper sulphate granules are put on, I tape half a nappy to the bottom of the hoof, with duct tape tabs to the hoof walls. Then he can put his foot down if he needs to before I have the boot ready, and it won’t all fall out. It also keeps the nappy in place and stops it sliding around the boot, and absorbs any moisture.
  • Movement helps a lot! Keep working them if you can! Turnout your horse if you need too! Just make sure you wash mud from the hoof thoroughly. I use anti-bac handwash and a toothbrush. Stick paper towels in the grooves of the frog and let the horse stand on them to get some moisture out.
  • Keep bedding and muck out of the canker! Once its in, it’s hard to get out! Find a breathable boot for in the stable!
  • The more gooey the canker is, the more painful it seems to be. Once it’s been dry for a day or so, Jim was much more tolerant with it being poked and prodded.
  • Don’t get your hopes up. But don’t despair either. Just keep trying until you find a method that works for you. Know that this is a LONG process. It doesn’t immediately mean euthanasia but many, many people have told me they would have given up by now, and they couldn’t have my determination. As long as Jimmy is happy and sound, I will keep going.
(LizzyMint Photography) canker condition disease equestrian equine frog health hoof horse pony Sat, 19 Mar 2016 22:03:55 GMT
Pre-Valentines Sale! Pre-Valentine's Day Sale!! Any photo sessions booked BEFORE valentines day can take 40% of any canvas they order from the session. If you've always wanted a large canvas of your pets to display in your home, now would be a great time to get one! Or if your partner struggles to find you a gift, maybe you can give them a not so subtle nudge in my direction!


*Sessions can be taken later in the year, but must be booked before 14th of Feb.
*A £20 non-refundable deposit on your session fee is required before the 14th of Feb to lock in this offer.
*Offer available on both equine and canine sessions.

Check out for information on session fees and prices. Hurry though, make sure you get in touch before the closing date!

(LizzyMint Photography) canvas dog equestrian equine horse offer pet photo photographer photography photoshoot picture pony portrait puppy sale special valentines Thu, 04 Feb 2016 08:35:57 GMT
Special session offer for the month of May. I'm running a special offer for any full sessions booked in May. I've reduced my fee by approximately 20%, from £65 to £50!!

You still get a 9"x6" complimentary print with the session, and it doesn't have to be taken in May, it can be taken any time in the summer. If you're thinking of getting some wall art of your horse or dog, or even if you would like to give it as a gift to someone else, now is the time to get in touch.

This time of year is great for wildflowers, and beautiful sunsets. Gardens and parks are gearing up for the summer, the sun makes an occasional  appearance ;) I just love the spring!


To get booked in, or just for a chat about what you would like to do, go to my Contact Page and send me an email. See you soon!


(LizzyMint Photography) animal equestrian equine horse pet photo photographer photography pony Tue, 12 May 2015 08:45:15 GMT
New competition to win a head study session To celebrate a milestone of 400 likes on my Facebook page, I'm doing a competition. I'm giving away a head study session with an 18x12" metallic print of your favourite image from the session. All you have to do is upload your favourite ever photo of your dog or horse and fill in the details in the form below. Good Luck! 


(LizzyMint Photography) competition dog equestrian equine giveaway horse photo photographer photography picture pony prize puppy Fri, 06 Mar 2015 10:00:34 GMT
New pet themed valentines gifts available!  


I've recently taken up a new hobby, it involves scalpels, and ruining my eyesight! It's papercutting, and it's just a little bit addictive.

I feel like since I started drawing hoody designs for people, it's turned on the creative tap that's been closed since I was doing art at school, and now I have a fabulous stock of horsy pictures to draw my inspiration from! While I was working on my hoody drawings a new idea started to emerge... and here it is, all finished and framed! 



Personalised valentine papercuts, using your horse's/dogs outline, covered in hearts, floating in a 6x6" wooden frame. Completely designed and hand cut by myself from your image, or a breed specific outline, and backed in any colour (Though this sparkly metallic red is to die for!) Treat yourself or drop some hints to your other half! £20 each + p&p or hand delivered free locally to Middleton! (£27 for an 8"x8" frame) Other styles also available, can do dogs and cats too, send me a quick email or Facebook message for a chat, with no obligation to buy.

(LizzyMint Photography) art drawing equestrian equine frame gifts horse paper personalised photographer photography picture pony Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:23:24 GMT
Trick trained dogs wanted! LizzyMint Photography is looking for well trained dogs! 

I'm building up my dog portfolio, and I'm looking for trick trained, talented dogs. Kinda like Pudsey from Britain's got Talent. I need dogs that will hold things, cover their faces, keep biscuits on their nose, jump over and under things on command, and things like that. If you think your dog has what I'm looking for, please get in touch. If chosen you and your dog will receive a free dog photography session and a 8x10" print to thank you for your time. Other prints will be available to purchase if you would like some. Dogs must be from the Greater Manchester area, or willing to get their human to drive them to North Manchester. 

(Also open to trick trained horses!)

Please fill in the survey as honestly as you can, and please don't be offended if I don't choose you, I only have limited slots available, but I will keep your details on file and may contact you in the future. Thanks very much! 

(Owners must be willing to sign a model release form, so that I can use their dogs image in my portfolio)

Follow this link to fill in the questionnaire, thanks for your time!

(LizzyMint Photography) canine clicker dog photo photographer photography tricks Sun, 28 Dec 2014 17:38:47 GMT
FREE PRIZE DRAW! I'm giving away a personalised horse hoody to one lucky winner. FREE PRIZE DRAW!


I'm giving away a personalised horse hoody to one lucky winner. Entries close on the 8th of November. Please read the terms and conditions before you enter, and share with everyone! The winner will receive their hoody in time for Christmas. Click the link below to enter, or click the "promos" tab on the LizzyMint Facebook page.



(LizzyMint Photography) clothing equestrian equine hoodie hoody horse personalised pony Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:13:31 GMT
Custom crystal browbands in my black shots! Custom crystal browbands from Xquisite Finds Equine Jewellery

A few months ago I was running a competition on my Facebook page LizzyMint Photography to find the muddiest horse photo from my fans. One entry was of a delightfully dirty looking Fjord! I then discovered his owner was a designer and creator of beautiful bespoke crystal browbands for horses.

As soon as I looked through her browbands, I knew I wanted them to feature in one of my black head studies. I contacted Anita through her Facebook page, Xquisite Finds Equine Jewellery, to see if I could borrow one for a photo session.

She was delighted with the idea, and after a lot of discussion, and a lot of indecisiveness from me (!) I arranged to meet her at her home in Wigan.

She had so many browbands for me to choose from, & I was very grateful that she was trusting enough to let me walk away with 3 to try!! They were all so pretty and delicate, I wanted a fine horse's head to show them off, & I had a particular horse in mind.

Shnancy is a bay warmblood with a very fine face who I had known for a while. I contacted her owner and we set up a headshot session. We started with my favourite of the three, a beautifully dainty flower chain with blue crystals.

Shnancy was a perfectly behaved model, and the sun glinted from the crystal centre in each flower.


Next we tried another sparkly delicate chain, which really sparkled in the sunlight!

Finally we swapped for a crystal embedded, V-shaped browband. Shnancy was such a good girl for 3 bridle changes! She must have thought we had gone crazy, but she still modelled like a pro. She has such a delicate face, and her shiny coat almost matched the sparkle of the handmade browbands. This final browband suited her so well, that her owner decided there and then to buy it for her.


Anita at Xquisite Finds also tailor makes horse rhythm beads. When I returned her browbands she made me an incredible set of beads to match my horse. Unfortunately Jimbob was just coming into his winter coat, and looking particularly scruffy, so I wasn't able to get a good picture of him, yet! It's on the project list for next year, so keep your eyes peeled!

If you are interested in any of the browbands above, head on over to the Xquisite Finds Facebook page, they are stunning, and very reasonably priced, and Anita could not be more helpful.

If you have an equestrian item that you would like to feature in one of my images, please get in touch via the Contact page, I would love to hear from you! Also if you are interested in a headshot session to get a stunning print of your horse like the ones above, please get in touch.

(LizzyMint Photography) bling bridle browband custom equine head study horse pet photographer photography portrait sparkle tack Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:19:59 GMT
Creating a softer background in your photographs How to create a softer background

A question I get asked quite often, is how to create a blurry/soft background that isolates the subject, and generally looks nice! A soft background can be achieved in a few different ways. One way is to use a larger lens aperture. The larger the aperture in a lens, the shallower the area of focus, or what photographers call depth of field (DOF). This means you can get your subject in focus with a lovely dreamy background, however this can sometimes become an issue when photographing dogs for instance, as you may get their eyes in focus and not their nose, and vice versa! This sometimes can make a striking shot, and it's great if that was what you were trying to achieve, but sometimes means a photo can be spoiled because you haven't focused on the right part.

Unfortunately this method isn't available to everyone, most mobile phones and some compact cameras do not allow you to change the aperture of your lens. The next option is to take a few steps back and zoom in. The action of the glass in the lens when you zoom in, causes perspective to flatten, and seems to bring the background closer to the subject and make it larger, and often causes a nice softening effect, and can get rid of some distractions. I've added some pictures at the end of this post to show you the difference this makes.


 Another way is to physically increase the distance between the subject and the background. This moves the background out of the depth of field of the camera, and softens it. Here are a few examples, the first two are taken on my mobile phone. It's much more difficult to illustrate with a phone, as it automatically changes the aperture to try and get as much in focus as possible, also it's always at wide angle, so includes lots of other things as you move back, but it will give you a general idea if you just have a phone camera. (Please excuse my very untidy garden, and my rather small horse!) 

Close to the nettles


Moving the subject about 8 feet away, look how soft the nettles look now.


Some slightly better examples from my camera now, I fixed the aperture at f4 for these pictures, and the zoom at 18mm (wide angle) and just moved the subject away.

Close to the background:

About 4 feet away:

About 8 feet away:

The next two pictures are taken when the horse was close to the background, but I moved back and zoomed in, 45mm and 70mm. As you can see this gets the best isolating effect.


So as you can see there are a few tricks to get the look you are after! There are more complicated and technical ways to improve this, but I wanted to keep this simple for those with less camera experience. Hope you have found this helpful, I'd like to thank my very well behaved horse for posing for me ;)


(LizzyMint Photography) backgrounds blurry bokeh photographer photography soft Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:29:43 GMT
Black headshots I love light but I especially love shadow. My black project takes black and dark animals & surrounds them in shadow, enhancing their details and their shine. All of the pictures are taken in natural light, however they need a particular type of light and precise processing to make a successful image.

Due to the popularity of my black headshots, I am now offering a slimmed down photoshoot aimed at giving every horse owner the opportunity to have one of their own horse on their wall. A 1/2 an hour shoot is just £30, you will then receive a gallery of up to 20 images to choose your favourite pose from. I will then work a bit of photoshop magic on your favourite and polish it up, and put it on my Facebook page for you to share with your friends and family. Physical prints can also be purchased starting from £10.

So what are you waiting for? If you like the black headshots on the home page of send me an email and book in! You could have a beautiful big print of your horse on your wall in just a couple of weeks!
(LizzyMint Photography) equestrian equine headshot horse photographer photography photoshoot pony portrait Tue, 24 Jun 2014 06:31:09 GMT
Sunset shoots Sunset shoots are best photographed in spring and autumn. Obviously heavily dependent on the weather (this is Manchester after all!) all I need is a scenic field for the horse to graze in, with a clear view of the skyline, and some time just before sunset. These photographs can also be staged with a rider, however due to the timing of the shoot and the fading light, the horse and rider must be stood still. Action shots would be a black silhouette against the sunset, and take a little more planning, but are artistic in their own right.

(LizzyMint Photography) Thu, 07 Feb 2013 12:11:50 GMT
The Black Project As a photographer, I love light but I especially love shadow. My black project takes black and dark animals & surrounds them in shadow, enhancing their details and their shine. All of the pictures are taken in natural light, however they need a particular type of light and precise processing to make a successful image.


Do you have a predominately black pet? If you would like one of these portraits, please get in touch. You never know, your pet could make the front page of the site!

(LizzyMint Photography) Mon, 28 Jan 2013 18:18:16 GMT