Thursday, 8 August 2019

With apologies for the delay...

Sorry for the lack of blog posts over the last few days - I was laid low with a stomach bug and I am afraid at such times blog posts are the first casualties as they are expendable when lots of other jobs are not!

These are comparison shots for Harvey who has been here nearly 9 weeks. He has gone from being severely lame on his RF (unlevel in walk and unwilling even to stand on it for the other foot to be picked up) to, now, being back in work and able to go out on the roads.

Of course over such a short time frame, less than 2 shoeing cycles, you cannot take a horse back to full work so its a case of building up steadily and allowing previously injured soft tissue to heal and strengthen. This is a slow, long term process since, as any physio will tell you, tendon and ligament damage is some of the slowest to full heal. For Harvey his weak, atrophied palmar hoof is stronger and he has made excellent progress but it will be some months yet before he is as sound as he can be .

 I hope you can see from this shot that his foot today, the lower image, is much more balanced and better able to support his limb compared to the narrow, boxier foot he had before. His frog is much healthier too and now that he is happy to load this foot properly he can really start to recover.

Harvey's comparison footage is here:

I am going to combine posts today and add DB's footage too, as the posts are delayed but as with Harvey I am going to focus on his lamer foot, coincidentally also the RF.

So here is DB, again clearly lame on his RF when he arrived and pointing it while standing, although he was not as bad as Harvey. You can see the back of his foot is slowly building up; he has a long way to go but there is better structure and bulk to his palmar hoof now, as you can see when you compare how underpin his heels were on arrival (above). 

This is still a flat, weak foot and as with Harvey it will take further months of good hoof growth before his feet are fully strengthened but he is heading the right way. 

 His frog is the main difference in these photos as its less contracted today but as his feet are still weak there is lots more improvement to expect in the future.

DB's footage is here:

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Harvey's 7 week update

Until I came to update these photos I had forgotten something important about Harvey. When he arrived, we were only able to get photos as at day 1 of his RF because he was too uncomfortable on that foot to be able to happily pick up his LF. 

As a result we have a full set of RF photos but only a standing LF shot. Harvey has been so good at picking his feet up recently that I had forgotten it was ever an issue. 

 Anyway, here are his comparison photos. Although he is still not standing square in the recent photo, below, he actually does do so most of the time. Overall he is much more comfortable and much happier to properly load his palmar hoof. He has been able to work on hard surfaces for the last couple of weeks and although he is not back to full soundness I am really pleased with how he has progressed.

 This is his worse foot and its still pretty gnarly but he is building structure where it matters, the frog and heels. There is a lot of deconstruction still to go, as you can see from the curved bars, but the foot is steadily broadening and strengthening.

 I have to say my comparison shots for Harvey are much more accurate than I sometimes manage - the same angles any everything! There is no dramatic change from this angle but he does have shorter hoof wall and overall a slightly more balanced hoof capsule.

This is the only comparison shot I have for his LF at day 1. The toe is quite long at the moment but that's mostly a function of his foot being less under run so its not something that worries me. He is landing much more confidently, with a consistent heel first landing, on this foot now so the long toe will shorten as his foot grows down.

Monday, 22 July 2019

DB's 7 week update

DB's owner is down visiting him and I wanted to post some comparative photos for her so that we can assess how he is doing. As usual the original photo is at the top and the most recent one at the bottom.

This is his sounder foot so we would expect fewer changes. In fact he is growing a new hoof capsule at a very much steeper angle and the long toe on this foot will be much shorter once the new growth is further down. I don't like the fact that his hairline is bulging at the moment but at least his palmar hoof is stronger than it was. 

His feet are very flat, as you can probably see, and this will not really resolve until the better growth is much further down his foot. However he has slightly more structure already at his heels and frog and his toe is beginning to shorten. 

 Its all still rather wonky but from this angle too his palmar hoof is a little stronger than it was although he has a long way to go. Once he has a better landing this will strengthen more rapidly.

On his right foot the changes are more obvious, which is positive as this is his lamest foot. Again you can see the steep angle of new growth and how his toe will shorten but his foot is also less under-run. 

A better frog and sole which is starting to show signs of more concavity even though he is not yet landing heel first. 

DB's footage is here: Its a bit disappointing that he has not yet established a heel first landing, which is fairly slow going (Harvey, for instance, is a couple of weeks ahead of him on this basis) but we have some encouraging signs as he is much more willing to load the RF when he is standing, which previously he would not do at all.

As soon as he is landing solidly heel first we can start working him on harder surfaces which will also speed up his progress so come on DB!

Thursday, 4 July 2019

All about GRASS!

What an incredible growing season we are having - these are photos of 3 of our hayfields and I don't think I have ever seen this amount of grass by this time of year (because we are high on Exmoor our season is usually a lot shorter and sparser than elsewhere in the south of England).
We have a good variety of different species in our fields and the diversity becomes even more apparent a little later in the season when everything is in full flower.
We of course use this grass to make our winter forage - in our case haylage because our weather conditions mean its not really possible to make or store hay with any degree of consistency. So what's the point of this post?
Basically, old permanent pasture and wild flower meadows like these, which have a rich range of different plants and herbs, can grow the most fantastic forage for horses. Its a world away from the single-species monoculture which you so often see in the countryside but it has countless benefits: providing habitat for other plants and animals, providing safe, low sugar forage with a good range of minerals for our horses and boosting the threatened biodiversity of our environment.

So if you have old-fashioned hayfields cherish them, if you know farmers who maintain them, encourage and support them by buying their hay or haylage and if there is nothing like this in your area, lobby for something more beneficial than acres of high-sugar rye-grass!

Sunday, 30 June 2019

DB's 4 week update

DB's first 4 weeks have gone past incredibly quickly for us at least, though I am sure the time has dragged for his owner. Its time for an update with as ever his original photo above and the most recent one below. 

He has made some good improvements although he is not yet strong enough to land heel first in front. 
If you look at the end of his heels they are now further back than when he arrived and his frog is also a bit stronger. This shows that the back of his foot is developing and I hope over the next few weeks a better landing will become clear. 
Monitoring the hairline is a good way to check whether the internal structures of the palmar hoof are improving. For DB its more level than it was which is encouraging. 
From the side as well a more level hairline is a positive. You can also see that there is a new angle of growth at the top of his hoof capsule. This change will become more apparent over the next couple of weeks.  
Not the best angle, I am afraid, but again the heels and frog are better than on day one.  
An even worse angle - sorry - but the hairline gives us a clue that the digital cushion on this foot, as on the RF, is slowly building up. 

No footage today as he is still landing toe first but as soon as we have something to show you I will post it.  

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Harvey's not-quite-4-weeks update

Time for an update on Harvey who will have been here for 4 weeks this coming Friday.  When he arrived he was lame in walk on his RF and landing toe first. 

As you can see from the original (upper) photo he was also reluctant to load the RF; by comparison although he is still not fully sound on it he is more comfortable and has a better stance. 

His frog is also becoming stronger and at the same time his heels are less contracted.  
As his palmar hoof develops we should see ongoing changes to the digital cushion as well as a more balanced hoof capsule.

Harvey's footage is up here: