Thursday, 24 May 2018

8 week updates...

...starting with Maysie. Hard to believe that 4 of the current rehab horses have already been here 8 weeks and so it will be a busy few days for updates. As usual the original photos are at the top and the lower ones are the most recent. 
 Maysie was quite slow to begin landing heel first but has definitely now got the hang of it and her palmar hoof is improving as a result. Her foot is no longer collapsing and is less under-run.
This was the foot which had the worse medio-lateral balance and that is better now as well. The medial support you can see in the lower photo is helpful to her for now as its stabilised the hoof capsule so it no longer tips medially on landing. 

The digital cushion is better developed now, as you can see, but there is still a central sulcus split which needs to heal up. Her better landing should help achieve this. 

You can see that she has a stronger hoof capsule growing in from the change in angle at the top of the dorsal hoof wall. Her palmar hoof is stronger but this was her stronger foot in any case so the changes are less dramatic. 

On this foot she has a clearly healthier frog and her heels are stronger and less under-run. The foot is also looking better balanced and is loading more evenly. 

 Finally a better developed digital cushion and a foot which is steadily becoming stronger, which is great to see.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Cassie's 2 week update

A quick update on Cassie who arrived 2 weeks ago. Her feet have a lot of change needed but she is taking steps in the right direction. 
There is already a distinct angle change which you can see at the top of her hoof and which shows how her new hoof capsule will grow in. This will result in a shorter toe but it will take time. 
Not a lot to show from the sole view - the long hoof wall is slowly chipping off and wearing down but for now its a rather ugly foot. She needs to strengthen the palmar hoof before the toe shortens which is why I have not trimmed her feet. 

Her foot balance also needs to improve as you can see from the caudal shot. Again this will be a slow process but the foot is slowly stabilising. 

Cassie had just had an abscess on this foot when she arrived and developed an allergy to vetrap which is why she has a scabbed patch in the lower photo, but its healing nicely. Again, there is an angle change in the dorsal wall and a slightly better palmar hoof structure but its early days. 

Given another few weeks her long hoof wall will mostly be gone and the palmar hoof should be a lot stronger. 

There will be another update on Cassie soon, with hopefully more good changes. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

5 weeks, no trimming: how to change a hoof naturally

A quick update on Mickey, who arrived here 5 weeks ago. Unlike the other rehab horses who arrived at the start of April, he only started to land better a few days ago and so although I had filmed him there was not a clear enough difference in his landing to make it worthwhile posting footage.

However he has been working well and his feet are definitely improving so today I decided it was time to film him again:

Here are his comparison photos with the original photo at the top and today's below in each case.
When he arrived Mickey had an extremely weak palmar hoof and his frog and heels were pinched and contracted.
He has made some good changes so far but of course still has a way to go before his feet are fully recovered. His frogs in particular need to broaden considerably but its encouraging to see him making progress. 
While I have been dong the workshops recently and looking at horses in different places one of the subjects that naturally recurs is trimming and why I no longer trim horses here. 
Mickey's feet I think are a good example of how little you can really achieve with a trim in a horse with a weak palmar hoof. The rebuilding and strengthening which needs to happen is mostly internal and in any case trimming is always removal, which is the last thing these feet usually need. 
A trim will not widen heels or stimulate frogs and if you trim the long toe, which is what many trimmers and farriers try, the result is to increase load on the palmar hoof.  
Without trimming Mickey has already shortened his toe, lowered his heels and changed the load but - critically - he has done it in slow time and only to the extent that his palmar hoof has become stronger. 
The advantage of doing things this way is that his soundness has not been compromised, in fact it has steadily improved. 
Meanwhile his feet are responding to the stimulus they are receiving from his movement (rather than to the artificial and sudden removal of hoof wall) and this has allowed his frog and heels to start loading more effectively.  
These are of course still weak feet and they need careful management until his landing has become more fully established and confident.
However progress has certainly been made and I hope Mickey will improve even more quickly now that we can begin to increase his workload and mileage. 

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Final new feet of the week

 These feet belong to Cassie, our latest new arrival who got here at the weekend.
 As with most of the horses who come here she is landing toe first but has reasonable medio-lateral balance.
 She has been shod fairly recently but came to us out of shoes.
 Its easy to see that her feet are going to chip quite a lot as there is some long weak hoof wall.
 These feet should look a lot different in a few weeks - can't wait for her updates!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Feet from the desert

We had a new horse arrive at the end of last week all the way from Dubai. She found the 30 degree drop in temperature a shock, its fair to say, and has had to go into a heavyweight winter rug until she acclimatises (which lets face it is likely to happen sooner than it warming up here!).
Her feet are interesting because they are the feet of a horse who has lived on sand. I have heard comments before from owners whose horses were in Dubai that they have extremely concave feet with what look to our eyes like under-developed frogs.
You can certainly see that in this mare's feet and in a UK horse with frogs and heels like this you would expect a weak palmar hoof and a toe first landing.
However in her case the hoof shape is likely to be more to do with the environment she was living in and if so her feet should rapidly adjust now that she is in a different environment with different surfaces.
It will be fascinating to monitor how her feet develop.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Workshops, movement and balance

I spent the weekend at the first of the Performance Hoof workshops, in Yorkshire, and it was brilliant to have a day with such dedicated horse owners. We talked about hoof balance, movement and anything and everything to do with horses and their feet and the sun shone on us as we did so!

I will post later this week about upcoming workshops, with dates and venues, for anyone who might be interested in coming along.

In the meantime on Sunday I managed to get belated footage of Maysie and Mickey, 2 of the rehab horses who have now been here 3 weeks. I'm posting their footage initially as its available and photos aren't (camera trouble, I think it is exhausted after the weekend...!).

Its not the most dramatic footage but it is always useful to chart how horses are landing. In both cases they were landing toe first and laterally loading in front.

Neither horses has an established heel first landing yet but they are landing flatter than they were and the lateral load has also reduced slightly. Its early days but these are encouraging signs.

Mickey's footage

Maysie's footage

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Jess' first fortnight

Jess is the next horse to get an update. As usual her initial photos are the uppers ones and todays photos are the lower ones.
She is going to have quite a steep angle change I think as her new hoof capsule grows in - ideal as it will shorten her toes and shift her weight back as her palmar hoof strengthens.  
You can see from this angle how the back of her foot is changing and the footage below confirms this.  
A bit too dark/muddy for good comparison but the digital cushion/hairline is looking better today.  
 The shorter toe is already clear from these photos - and there was no trimming required!
The change is equally clear from the sole shots, and you can see that the heels are more supportive. 
Her landing was flat rather than toe first when she arrived but its improved to become more like a heel first landing today. 

Her footage is here: