Friday, 22 September 2017


Nothing particularly about hooves today, just a short clip showing September sunshine at its best on Exmoor - although it now appears to have started raining again...

You can see the full clip here:

Thursday, 14 September 2017

12 weeks at 22 years

Shannon will be going home at the weekend. She is one of the oldest horses to come here for rehab but although she is 22 years old she has not allowed this to interfere in any way with her determination to grow new and better hooves. 
If you look at the upper photo, from her arrival, the under-run heel and long toe are clear. What is most obvious now in the lower photo, I think, is the new hoof growth visible in the top third of her hoof; this is bringing her toe and heel back and allowing the hoof to be stronger and more supportive.  
Her frogs were quite severely contracted and it will be some months yet before they finish strengthening, I suspect, but she has already done a good job of building a much healthier palmar hoof. 

As ever the caudal shots tell the most interesting story. Shannon, like most horses, was landing intermittently toe first/flat when she arrived; her weak frog and digital cushion were signs of long term problems with the palmar hoof and she had been diagnosed with navicular bone damage as well. 
Twelve weeks later she has a clear heel first landing and although by no means out of the woods has made good progress, particularly in view of her age.  

As with the other front foot you can clearly see the new hoof growth about a third of the way down her hoof. Once its fully grown in she should have better sole depth as well as a more supportive foot. 
Although the left front was her lamer foot, Shannon had a nasty central sulcus infection in this right front which you can see on the caudal shots below as well. 
I've found that Veterinus derma-gel is the best off-the-shelf topical gel for dealing with these sorts of splits and Shannon's frog has certainly improved and is no longer painful. Its the sort of niggling problem which is worth keeping on top of until it has completely healed up. 
This is a much better frog and digital cushion now but as you can see the split is stubborn and it will take a while yet before it has grown out. However now that she has a solid heel first landing the foot is getting the stimulus it needs to develop and maintain itself.
I've seen a lot of older horses do well through rehab over the years but Shannon, I must admit, has really surprised me. Of course not every horse is going to be able to reform their feet as rapidly and effectively as she has done but she is a credit to her owner's dedication and a reminder that, no matter what the age, healing and recovery are possible.

Shannon's comparison footage is here for those who are interested:

Friday, 1 September 2017

Freddie's first fortnight

Freddie will have been here 2 weeks this weekend so after all the excitement of getting the haylage done earlier in the week I thought it was time for a nice ordinary hoof update. As usual, the upper photo shows his foot on arrival and the lower, comparison photo is the most recent.
Of course its very early days for Freddie and he is not yet landing heel first but there are signs that he is beginning to improve the back of his foot. 
His frogs are a little more robust and to my eye his heels look a little less under-run. 

The back of his foot seems less contracted at this angle which is encouraging. 

Freddie's feet are growing at a reasonably good rate, as you can see from this angle, so there should be more dramatic changes to report on over the next few weeks. 

The balance of his feet is also changing and again this should be clearer when we compare his 4 week photos. 

Monday, 28 August 2017

The best day of the year 2017

 Its official - a bank holiday scorcher and perfect weather for haylage - its the best day of the year.
With help from all sides we've done it again for 2017 and I can guarantee that tonight we will drink wine and sleep well!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Jet's first four weeks

This is Jet, the ex-racehorse who arrived with a diagnosis on MRI of navicular bone damage.
He had fairly "typical" ex-racehorse feet with under-run heels (above on day 1) and thin, flat soles.  
His photos are tricky to make out but you can see that he has already grown quite a bit of new hoof as the old nail holes, which you can see a quarter of the way up his foot in the first photo, are now at ground level. His foot is also changing at the back but the result at the moment is to make it look pretty odd from this angle. 
These photos give you a clearer idea of what is happening. The frog is broader now (below) than it was on day 1 (above) and his heels are less under-run. 

There is not an enormous amount of change from this angle but if you compare the hairline you can see it is more level in the lower photo (today) than it was when he arrived (above); a good indication that his digital cushion is rebuilding.

The picture on the right foot is similar, with reasonably good growth over 4 weeks and the palmar hoof beginning to develop. 

Now that Jet is landing better he is starting to work the frog and digital cushion more effectively and as a result its stronger today (below) than it was on day 1 (above). 

More on Jet soon, as he still has lots of good changes to make over the next few weeks. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

New boy Freddie

With Dash going home at the weekend we also had a new arrival, a thoroughbred called Freddie. 

He has a fairly complex history with additional issues beside his lameness which may or may not impact on his rehab; we will know more as we get to know him better and start working him.
He has been diagnosed with DDFT damage to his left front but is landing toe first on both front feet and is lame and short-striding in trot on a circle, as you would expect. 
He has been shod up until the last year and there are aspects of his feet which are encouraging, as his frog is reasonably healthy and apart from a couple of cracks he has good hoof wall.
However as well as his toe first landing he has a medio-lateral imbalance, again on both feet, which means he is landing on the lateral side of his feet.
We will of course be monitoring him for change over the next few weeks and there will be more on him soon, I hope.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Shannon's 8 week update

Shannon has now been here for nearly 8 weeks. She arrived in shoes with a very weak frog and digital cushion and a pronounced toe first landing.  
She is now, as you can just see, growing in a new hoof capsule at a much better angle. This will considerably shorten her toe once it has fully grown in.  
Shannon has been landing heel first for a few weeks now and although she is quite stiff her better landing is having a good effect on her feet. 

 The improvement is clearest from this angle where the development of the digital cushion is evident.

This is her worse foot as she has a sheared heel on this side. 
Again, there is a better angle of growth which will result in a more balanced hoof capsule. 
The sheared heel - or split central sulcus - is healing up thanks to the better stimulation from her now landing heel first and regular treatment with derma-gel. 

Of course Shannon has a lot of foot growing still to do but she has made a good start.