Tuesday, 19 June 2012

M: the one you've been waiting for...!

Finally, a chance to post M's pics - they should have been up last week but with all the excitement of HandH, NFU and the monster grass post, I ran out of room for him...
M is of course our scholarship boy and he arrived 10 days ago from Derbyshire. He is an 8 year old ex racehorse who came out of shoes one by one earlier this year essentially because his feet were no longer able to keep them on. 
To say he has a good range of hoof issues would be an understatement (the uneven hairlines are a good clue that these feet have been unbalanced for a while), but his feet in some ways look better now than they have done in the past. This shot below came with his scholarship application and shows his RH in 2011 following a resection for a severe crack (he also had a crack in his LF).
The lower photo is the same hoof today. The crack has effectively healed with coming out of shoes and stopping the peripheral loading which was over-stressing his hoof wall. Of course his feet have other issues now, not least having weak, collapsed, under-run heels and long toes, so that's what we have to try and improve during his rehab. 
Like many ex-racehorses, M also has thin soles and is very prone to bruising. These sole shots confirm the weakness at the back of his hooves but what you can't see is that his soles are so vulnerable at the moment that they flex on thumb pressure. Often this is due to dietary or metabolic problems, but M has been tested and come back clear, so its possible that they are the result of shoeing or the soles being mechanically thinned in the past in preparation for shoeing.
The dark shadow in these photos is bruising and its this which is going to give us a real balancing act to deal with during rehab. His hooves desperately need work and stimulus to improve but bruising and damage is a real risk. Fortunately the tracks here are a god-send for horses like him, as he can get the stimulus he needs without being on surfaces which are too challenging.   
The only problem is that - as an 8 year old TB - he isn't always convinced that going slowly and quietly is a good idea and he is rather revelling in his new-found social skills so I just hope he doesn't over-do it!
Finally, shots of the back of his foot for completeness. RF, as you can see, has the weaker frog but they are more or less as you'd expect for a horse just out of shoes and certainly aren't as bad as some. 
The heels are higher than the frog but - as with most horses with similar diagnoses to M - its not the heels that need to come down, its the frogs and digital cushion which need to become stronger. His heels also need to move back to be able better to support his limb, but that should come with time, movement and a better hoof capsule.


Freyalyn said...

I'm learning so much just by reading this blog...

jenj said...

Goodness, poor M! He certainly has a lot of healing to do. Fortunately, he's at the right place!

I will be hanging on every word you say about thin soles on M. Maybe I'll be able to apply it to Saga someday and finally keep him comfy out of shoes!

M's mum said...

Poor feet! But Nic is right, they do look better in some ways than they have, but there is soooo much they need to do.

In fairness to the 2 farriers who have dealt with M in the past 2 years, and my vet, I think they did the best they could with very little to work with and a whole HEAP of problems (I am only now realising just how naive I was about his feet when I bought him). I'm fairly sure his soles have never been pared - both my farriers commented on the thin-ness of them, so hopefully didn't then make them thinner!!

I'm just hoping that M can be a happy, sound barefoot TB one day - but I know there's a LONG LONG LONG way to go. I also know he's in the best possible place for it. Nic is right about his tendency to silliness - he doesn't help himself at all in that respect. So please M - be sensible and put your energy into growing new feet! xxx

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Yay for M! I'll be watching uber close as my 11 yo OTTB has some issues with thin soles as well, his tests (twice) can back as normal, no IR issues in sight. I wish so badly I had a better 24/7 terrain vs the grass/sand/dirt but better than his past of shoes/stall. I'm curious to see how M will self trim and to see how he builds up a better dig cushion, frog, lat cart, etc! What a lucky boy to be there

Maria said...

Nic, could you please comment on the metabolic testing? I have a TB type here who hasn't been shod for years but was also not managed well (not exercised). I got him sound but then he went on loan, into a wet grassy field in the winter months and developer extremely thin soles, like those you describe here. I haven't taken him off grass completely yet (due to circumstances, complicated turnout arrangements here), I was hoping he will come right once he is back here where the ground is dry but he is still very bad, the area in front of the point of frog is very sore and gives to thumb pressure. Could please tell me what metabolic testing you do, for me to be sure that grass is the issue. Thanks! Maria