Monday, 31 October 2011
Saturday, 29 October 2011
I have a lot of these types of conversations with vets, and - so far - despite lots of sceptical vets, I've never yet had one refuse to allow a horse to come here. Its rare though that I have such an enthusiastic response as I had from this vet :-)
That's normally the last I hear, until I start sending the vet updates on how the horse is progressing, but to my surprise I had another call the next day and he had read the information and just wanted to check a couple of details. he seemed if anything even more enthusiastic about the horse coming for rehab and finished with the classic line: "I'm very interested - after all shoes aren't a natural solution." :-)
Friday, 28 October 2011
Just time, if Flynn doesn't object, to quickly add this video update by Wiola on the progress of Kingsley and Pocholo who seem to be doing well in their new Hampshire home. Clever boys! Also kudos to Wiola, who is riding despite a dislocated knee... :-0
Thursday, 27 October 2011
She said: "But maybe its a lack of correct trimming???"
results in a toe first landing and the rest, as you already know, is history.
In her own words:
"My theory is that the frog loses contact with the floor and the back half of the foot starts to weaken. Then one day they do something which tweaks a tendon and/or ligament because the foot is no longer strong enough to cope. From then on, the horse is toe first landing due to pain in the back half of the foot from the tweak, and everything goes downhill from there.
The horse is suddenly lame, but I believe that it is gradual weakening over the previous months that actually caused the lameness.
That's my theory, and I trim to keep my own boys frog in contact with the floor standing on concrete because of it.
Each of the 3 barefooters who have come to you for rehab has had heels which are preventing the frog from being in contact with the floor (as well as an underdeveloped frog). Paul's photo above is a good example. Irrespective of the quality of the frog, the heels are too high. It really does look to me like a pattern beginning to build ........"
She is correct that about the high heels/weak frogs - that is true of every horse who comes here, whether shod or barefoot. In itself thats not surprising, because all the horses who come here have pain which is located in that area of the hoof. They take pressure off that area, land toe first and the caudal hoof weakens.
Why is this important? Because it makes a BIG difference in how you deal with the problem.
This is dear old Ghost, my late lamented eventer who taught me an indecent amount about hooves. There is more about him here, but like most navicular horses he had an incredibly weak caudal hoof immediately out of shoes.
When I had learned a bit more about anatomy, the reason was clear - the navicular meant he had pain in the back of his hoof (in his case bone changes but almost certainly DDFT damage too) and if I tried - by trimming - to put more weight onto the frog, digital cushion and the bones and soft tissue of the caudal hoof, he couldn't cope. The area wasn't yet strong enough to deal with greater stimulus.
The same issue arises with any of the rehab horses here - they have already had injuries and arrive with lameness and weakness in the caudal hoof.
It would certainly be possible for the sequence to be - as Caroline theorises - high heels > weak caudal hoof > lameness. If this was the sequence, then very careful trimming might be helpful once the lameness had improved BUT in Paul's case I am fairly certain that the sequence was different and the high heels/weak frogs are effect, not cause.
Over the next few weeks though I would expect his frog and the whole caudal hoof to become much more robust. As part of that process his heels will lower and the frog will beef up, but at the moment its not that there is too much of Paul's hoof - its that there isn't enough!
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
I'd been keeping an eye out for a replacement and saw this on Facebook over the summer. It runs off gas, instead of electricity, and hooks straight into the existing water supply so there is better pressure.
There are some glitches. The gas ignition is via 2 D batteries which is fine in principle but it eats battery power so you need to remember to switch it off after every time you use it or you have a lot of (expensive) dead batteries. It also comes with a lack of good instructions so you need to work out pretty much on your own how everything fits together which is probably easier for some people than for me... Finally, because it costs the best part of £200, you need enough horses to justify the expense.
On the plus side, its fantastically useful to have readily available hot water, the hose is heavy duty and long enough to reach most bits of a horse without difficulty and the spray supplied has several different settings so you can have a single jet, a fine mist or anything in between.
Its proved to be great for washing off cuts or scrapes and marvellous when you have wet, muddy horses to clean off after hunting. Even horses who hate being washed off (like Dexter and Bailey) stand under the hose with a blissful expression when they realise its warm, and its got to be a lot better for tired muscles too.
This is the video the company have made - and the shower pretty much does exactly as it appears to do here. If anyone is interested in acquiring one, the company's Facebook page is here and they are very helpful.
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
As with every horse, there have been ups and downs but Paul's life has been active and he and his owner Clare have achieved a lot.
Paul's hooves changed radically over the time he was here in 2009 and Clare is now extremely well versed in what makes a hoof healthy - or unhealthy. She had already spotted a few weeks ago that his caudal hoof had weakened and that he had lost his good heel first landing. Its probably worth adding that he has been trimmed regularly all the way through, so its not a lack of trimming that has caused the change(!).
Monday, 24 October 2011
Sunday, 23 October 2011
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Friday, 21 October 2011
[FWIW, I'm not on the payroll for anything that I'm recommending, so this is all totally impartial!]
Today's product looks and sounds rather mundane, but it is rapidly becoming a huge favourite...Straw pellets!
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Once I am back online there will be posts about new arrivals and progress on the current rehabs.
I've also got posts to put up about why toe first landings matter and how they affect the rest of the horse's body and about a few of the really useful things that have appeared at Rockley recently...!
Monday, 17 October 2011
Patrice Edwards came up to Rockley for a few days and really opened my eyes to the possibilities of improving horses through classical rehabilitation exercises and what Marijke de Jong teaches is based on the same principles.
Of course all horses are asymmetric to a greater or lesser extent but I've seen with the rehab horses that long term lameness can also fix horses into patterns of crooked movement that can be quite persistent. Once horses have healthier feet and are able to start moving in a better way, then it can be very helpful to use the sorts of exercises that both Patrice and Marijke teach as a way of kick-starting more correct, balanced movement.
Its something I am only in the early stages of using and I would love to spend a lot more time taking it to the next level - maybe something for next year ;-)
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Friday, 14 October 2011
Taz is a big horse - 17.2hh - and he had a successful career as a showjumper before going to live with his present owner. He is incredibly genuine and also loves being out and about which has helped enormously because above all he likes to keep moving and see what is round the next corner.
Thursday, 13 October 2011
the sorts of times I wrote about here - when the rehab horses are on a roll and it feels as if I have a bit-part in a Disney movie.
Of course, things can't always be like that, and this week has brought a harsh reality check in the form of the sad ending to the story of Andrea and Gogo, whose blog I, like many of you, have followed for a while. Sometimes circumstances just conspire against you, and you are powerless to change the inevitable, however hard and for however long you try.
Fortunately, most of the horses who come here primarily have foot problems and because hooves are so dynamic, most horses go from rehab back into full work.
For any horse, however, rehab can be a bit like a game of snakes and ladders, with slippery-slides down and setbacks occurring after hard-won improvements; due to the inscrutable workings of Murphy's law, setbacks almost invariably occur either on the day the owner has come to see their horse or on the day after I've posted how well they were doing on the blog...
You've got to remember as well that the horses here are not sound horses who are simply having their shoes taken off but horses with long-standing lameness who have often developed related problems from compensating over a period of weeks, months or even years.
We have to look at the whole horse not only because the whole body is affected by the feet but because feet can be affected not only by the obvious - like nutrition and biomechanics - but by saddle fit and even teeth problems.