Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Paddy and perversity

After what seems like the biggest rollercoaster ride of them all, Paddy is going home tomorrow.
Regular blog readers will know that he arrived in bar shoes way back in August and made good progress over his first few weeks.   He had had a recurrent DDFT injury which was the most serious problem and a nasty abscess in July had blown a chunk out of his LF.

Both of these took some time to improve, of course, but by the end of October his owner and I were feeling quite pleased with his progress.  He was scheduled to go home when - literally days before he was due to get on the lorry and head back to Suffolk - he was rushed into our local equine hospital and had colic surgery to remove a tumour which had wrapped itself round a section of his intestine.
The good vibes and support from the blog readers here were fantastic and I am sure contributed to Paddy's remarkable recovery over the next 8 weeks.  Unfortunately the surgery meant he was confined to his box for most of that time and although he was hand-walked out to graze several times a day his feet were not getting much stimulation and he was certainly not allowed to do more than a short amble out to grass.

Inevitably this meant that we had to start with only the most gentle exercise when he came back into work at the beginning of this month and it soon became apparent that instead of coming out of box-rest more or less as sound as he had gone into it, he'd developed a bizarre new lameness.

Its particularly bizarre because its totally unlike any other lameness I've seen before.  When he arrived he landed badly and this rapidly improved, and he is still landing heel first today, as you can see below, so it seems unlikely that his original DDFT injury is still causing problems.  The lameness shows up very clearly on a gradient and is specific to his LF but is invisible on a level surface and he is also able to trot evenly on the roads.  You would automatically think it was a recurrence of a collateral ligament injury except that he didn't have one when he was MRI-ed earlier this year.

The vet and I are mystified and to be honest it seems very unfair after all Paddy and Debbie have been through :-(  The only thing different about Paddy's rehabilitation is the weeks of box rest he had after surgery and at the moment all I can think is that an adhesion  might have formed while he was on such restricted movement and that he tweaked it once he came off box rest.
Obviously we have been careful to try and restrict him from wild hooleying but with the best will in the world he will have the odd trot and canter, not to mention the odd rear and spin when he is with his mates on the track.

Anyway, I need more good vibes now that he is off home, please, to try and ensure he makes a rapid recovery from this latest setback - I know I can count on you lot :-)

Monday, 30 January 2012

The puzzling hoof...

So on Friday I left you with this to look at...
and you came up with some really interesting comments - you guys are good :-)  I'll answer them as best I can although of course there are elements of speculation as well (I'll try and make clear what is known for definite and what is guess work).

Obviously you all pointed out the medial flare and that it was too extreme and specific to be simply a long hoof  - which you'd expect to be much less one-sided.  As Val pointed out, if a hoof was just over-long it would normally split off rather than deviating as its done in this photo.  Most of you were suspicious that it was the result of an injury or conformation problem - and of course you were right!  
Most of you also spotted that on this view the digital cushion on the lateral (left hand) side of hoof appears more robust than the medial side; it certainly seems to be the case that this foot has a tendency to overload laterally.
Taking that into account, it seems likely that the "flare" on the medial side is acting a bit like an outrigger - if the flare weren't there, the hoof would be even more unstable and less able to load evenly.  As it is, the load isn't perfect even with the "outrigger" because deviated hoof wall is a compromise and not as strong as a properly supported hoof capsule.  As C says, there is a crack in the wall because hoof wall alone isn't really designed to take this sort of load but the crack is actually only superficial.

Overall, the leg is fairly straight  - not sure, Deered, whether the lean you saw is the slope or the red wine :-)  - and the hairline at the coronet is fairly level - if you look at the concrete ground line in the first photo it gives you a better idea of what is truly horizontal than the borders of the shot.

This particular horse has a mild medial wall deviation on both front feet which appeared once he was sound and working barefoot but the dramatic wall deviation in the photo appeared after he had a shoulder injury.

I don't have photos from then, unfortunately, but he had quite severe atrophy of the deltoid and supraspinatus muscles (the visible muscles on the outside of the shoulder) at the time.  That has improved but there is no doubt that this is still his weaker leg and its the one which is most prone to injury, though he is sound and in work.

For me this hoof is a good example of how resourceful horses and hooves are at stabilising, compromising and carrying on as best they can even after injury.  I'll let you know if the wall deviation ever disappears :-)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Ups and downs...

I love this photo!  Sarah Farnsworth, who is an ace hunting photographer, came out with us and has just posted the photos on her Facebook page.  I'm going to order a copy of this one because it really captures the terrain :-)
Its always more relaxing going down somewhere like this when you aren't on a young horse(!) - luckily for me I had Felix out - he is the first bay horse in the top group - who thinks nothing of it :-)

Friday, 27 January 2012

A hoof for you to ponder...

Here is a Friday puzzle for the hoof anoraks out there :-)
What do you think about this hoof - why it looks as it does, whether its a good thing or a bad thing and whether you would want to do anything to change it?
Answers on a postcard, or in the comments section for the technologically able, and have a lovely weekend :-)  

Personally I am hoping it stops raining and that I get the chance of a dry day's hunting on Saturday...I've stopped counting how many inches of rain we have had this year because its just too depressing - and its still not even February...

PS: Oh all right - bonus points straightaway for anyone who has already said that you can't comment usefully on a photo without seeing the whole horse - you are all too clever by half...With that caveat, feel  free to say what you think ;-)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Hoof boots and why I don't use them(!)

Someone emailed me recently asking what sort of hoof boots and pads I use for rehabilitation and I am afraid the answer is none :-)
Before I go further, I should say that I have nothing against (proper!) hoof boots, and there are of course situations when they are very useful BUT I think they need to be used with care and (as with everything) with awareness of their drawbacks, and thats the reason for this post.

When not to use boots

When rehabilitating a horse who has had long term lameness, I need to know precisely what that horse's feet are capable of.  If I simply slap a pair of boots on a horse with weak feet it would be easy to over-estimate how sound they are and therefore over-estimate what work is appropriate.  Without boots I can see and feel if a horse is genuinely comfortable and landing correctly or not, and adjust what we are doing accordingly.

There are also several practical reasons behind my dislike of boots.  They don't always fit terribly well - and some of the ones which DO fit well are difficult to get on and off.  Boots have a tendency to twist on horses who don't move perfectly straight and can rub if they aren't a good design and a close fit.  Some designs, particularly the older ones, have poor traction and can be downright dangerous on the sort of wet, slippery ground which is common with us.

With rehab horses particularly, their feet often have angle changes and wall deviations which are not factored into the design of the average boot.  Most boots are made with a symmetrical hoof in mind but many rehab horses simply do not have this type of hoof, making well-fitting boots nearly impossible.

There are physiological drawbacks too, as working horses in boots results in less stimulation to the hoof.  Stimulus is essential for strengthening the feet so working without boots will tend to result in a stronger hoof.  Its essential with rehab horses for the frog and caudal hoof to remain as strong as possible and roadwork without boots is a good way to ensure this.

Last but not least, boots (in both horses and humans) reduce proprioception but actually do not provide much additional shock absorption.  Without awareness of a hard surface (ie: proprioception) stride length increases and so does concussion.   Using boots on a hard surface can therefore increase concussion without increasing shock absorption - trotting on tarmac is not necessarily a better idea just because your horse has boots on.

When boots can be a good idea

By using the tracks and surfaces here, I can usually ensure that horses can move comfortably even when they have weak feet and I don't need to work them on tougher surfaces until they are ready.  However if you have no choice but to work on tough surfaces but you have a horse whose feet aren't able to cope with that, then booting is a better option than not working at all.

Similarly, if you have a horse with hooves which are weak because of circumstances outside your control (for instance a metabolic problem or illness or simply being on a yard where there is too much grass) then boots are a good way of boosting what that horse's feet are capable of even when you can't improve the overall health of the hoof.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Hoof balance - essentials

This is a follow on from the Movement  - essentials post and from the post on balance and its effect on tendons and ligaments, last week.  Its really just bullet points but it just crystallises what for me are the key elements.
  • Balance is NOT necessarily the same as symmetry.  Feet can be balanced for the limb but appear asymmetric when viewed from the top. 
  • The frog will normally be fairly central in a balanced front limb and the sole will be fairly symmetrical.   Comparing these photos of Ted, one of the current rehabs, taken a few weeks apart, you can see that the foot is now more evenly loading - a sign that his medio-lateral balance is improving. 
  • Collateral groove depth will be fairly symmetrical in a balanced front limb.  If one side is shallow and one side deep its a fair bet that the foot is unbalanced.  This is the x-ray of a horse who had very uneven collateral groove depth when he arrived.   Again, this evened up as the foot became more balanced.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Solar, Nico and the new forum lives!

We spent some time this weekend updating the footage on Solar and Nico so this post is all about their progress.
Solar goes first.  He has been here slightly longer than Nico and has also been out of shoes for much longer so is understandably further ahead than his mate, though I am pleased with them both.

Solar has made some dramatic changes, most importantly to his RF which he pointed continuously when he first arrived.  Now he stands and - even better - lands properly, as you can see from the footage.

Nico started with more disadvantages than Solar - major hind limb problems as well as front limb issues, and a weaker digital cushion - so his currently weaker landing should definitely not be held against him, nor taken as a measure of how he may improve in the future :-)

At the moment his hind limb placement are much better and he is just about landing heel first in front though with less confidence than Solar.

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who has joined the RR forum  - its alive and you can put whatever you want on there - no holds barred :-)  Rehab owners are some of the nicest people on the planet so it should be a good place!

Monday, 23 January 2012

So much going on, and lots of rehab news...

A busy weekend, with Flynn the Second going home after a last minute change of transportation...(though it worried Stacy more than it worried Flynn), and he arrived back in Essex in style last night
Flynn has made great progress while he has been here and I am really pleased with how his hooves are changing.  He has been back in work for many weeks now, instead of still being on box rest, and has gone from strength to strength...
...and today he has functioning hooves, though he still has several months of improvement to go. 
Then we had visits from Sarah (visiting Solar) and Emma (visiting Nico).  They have been here in fog, in rain, in gales and today...finally...in sunshine - or partial sunshine, which is the best we can usually do...
I have footage to upload but it will be a few days before I manage to do that, probably, though you will see it here first :-)

In the meantime, I had an idea...

The owners who have had horses here are fantastically supportive of each other, whether on Facebook, HHO or elsewhere and have been wonderful in the past in sharing information and incredibly generous with their help for other owners too.

But there are people who aren't on Facebook or don't want to post online on a big public forum, so I though it might be useful to start a small, private forum just for rehab owners.  I've just set it up and you can find it here, so owners past and present, feel free to jump in - its only us ;-)


I hope it will be useful not just for sharing news but for arranging get-togethers, passing on helpful info and having a moan about the rehab rollercoaster - as well as getting inspiration when its all going well.  I will email everyone over the next few days and let me know if you have any problems joining.

And talking of inspiration, how about these clips from Hannah and Patsy, who was here as a rehab last year...

Hannah has made a tremendous commitment to Patsy and its wonderful to see that dedication paying off, and how good she looks now, a year later, in Hannah's latest video...

Friday, 20 January 2012

Blog topics for the future...

Quick question for you all - I am going to do some more on medio-lateral balance for the blog for next week to answer Jen's comment from yesterday, plus a post on wall deviations and limb stability, plus a post on peripheral loading.

Someone else has emailed me a question about hoof boots and wraps, so that will also go on the list for future, and Amanda has asked about wall ripples.

Are there other topics you want to see discussed? If so, get your requests in here :-)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Hoof imbalance - how it affects the parts you can't see

I've been trying to come up with a way to illustrate what happens when hooves get out of balance, but I haven't been able to find any pictures that do what I need.  

The problem is that I have therefore had to get out my crayons and start drawing - which as you can see is not my strong point.  Needs must, however, and I just hope you can make out enough for these to be useful(!) - you can click on them to enlarge. 
This is a fairly familiar side (lateral) view of a hoof showing P2, P3 and the distal sesamoid (navicular) bones with the collateral ligaments which connect them in blue and orange.  These ligaments, plus the deep digital flexor tendon (in green) commonly show up on MRI as the problem areas in horses who have caudal hoof pain or navicular bone damage on x-ray. 

From the palmar view (ie: as if you were behind the hoof and looking towards the toe) it becomes more obvious why the medio-lateral balance of the hoof is crucial and why those ligaments have to be evenly loaded and balanced for the horse to be comfortable.  
Although ligaments and tendons can't be seen on x-ray, it is possible to see how poor medio-lateral balance affects the hoof.  The blue lines show the angle of the old hoof capsule.  The green lines show the ground line compared to the alignment of P3 and you can see that they aren't parallel.  

This has led to strain on the collateral ligaments which was confirmed on MRI.  In this horse, the problem was caught very early but if this sort of imbalance continues for more than a short while it can lead to ligament damage (and eventually bone damage) as well - of course - as long-term lameness. 

This isn't primarily a trimming problem - in this horse's case the foot was already short and any attempt to trim or shoe the foot level would have been invasive.  

However, when the shoe was taken off and the horse came for rehab, she started to grow a hoof capsule (the red lines) which followed her bone alignment.  Over time, this has corrected the medio-lateral imbalance internally, as you can see here now that the whole hoof capsule has grown in.  

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Nico's last 8 weeks

Yikes, can't believe how the time has flown but Nico has been here for 8 weeks!  He arrived last November and had a slew of stuff going on both with front limbs and hind limbs and I first blogged about him here as there were a lot of changes happening with his feet in the first few days.
 By contrast, here are his feet the day he arrived...
And a month later.  
Even more importantly, contrast his caudal hoof on the day he arrived...
four days after his shoes came off...
 and today...
And last but not least his sole shots. again the day he arrived...
 His sole shots on the day he arrived...
...four days after his shoes came off...
...and today. 
Nico is definitely not out of the woods yet, and he is actually a good example of how misleading photos can be!  His feet look lovely but (in the case of his RF, anyway) are not yet functioning as well as they could do, although he is in work and making good progress.  More on Nico soon!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Movement - essentials

I wanted to put together some occasional blog posts with bullet points  - really basic but which I hope will be useful as quick summaries or reminders of the essentials in some key areas.
It seems sensible to start with movement - its what I obsess about with the rehab horses - how are they moving, how can I help them improve, what are the causes of unsound movement and so on.

So here are the essentials, as far as I am concerned:
  • Landing: hooves should land heel first on a flat, level surface.  This is clearly visible in a healthy hoof and becomes more pronounced when the horse walks down a slope.  Conversely a toe first landing is normal when a horse walks uphill but is a sign of potential caudal hoof pain on a flat surface. 
  • Loading:
    • front limb hooves should load evenly (medio-laterally) when walking on a flat, level surface
    • hind limb hooves will normally land laterally (this can usually only be seen in slowed down footage)
  • Surfaces: a healthy hoof has good proprioception so stride length will normally adjust slightly as a horse crosses different surfaces (there is a reason dressage is not done on concrete).  However, a horse should not look pottery or restricted on a hard surface. 
  • Gait: horses will, of course, alter their movement in response to pain, or its removal - a heel first landing can change to toe first, and vice versa.  Equally, stride length can increase as hooves load in a more balanced way or develop a better ability to shock absorb.  It can be useful (and interesting) to film your horse's movement regularly to monitor changes and give you reference points. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

"Dillon with the wedges" and more from H&H

A quick update on last week's H&H post - Nadia sent me a link to the H&H online gallery, and there I found the photos that didn't make it into the magazine ;-)
Charlie quite focussed - hounds were hunting a trail just in front of us!
This is the photo I think they should have used - wild riders in the snow!
More importantly, I know many of you fondly remember "Dillon with the wedges", who made a minor blog sensation when he arrived here last summer in these... 
Well, the time has flown since he went home - and an email from Nicky over the weekend confirms its now more than 6 months since he came out of his wedges:
"I have realised its been over 3 months since Dillon came home and it would be a good time to give you an update. This is also coupled with the fact that today I had the best ride since I brought him home and I am grinning from ear to ear!
There continued to be a few up and down moments in November/early Dec...realistically I think I was stuggling to do enough work with winter and lack of daylight hours...but I hope to be able to do a bit more work, especially when the clocks go back (yes I am counting down the weeks). He still has a small amount of flare but not so much now as his old hoof is almost grown out.
I was quite conservative on what we did and as I was limited to how often I rode kept mainly to roadwork as I thought this would be best for self trimming. In hindsight I was over cautious and around Christmas time I decided he was doing well and used the opportunity of a bit of time off to start doing a bit more. Consequently he found it all very exciting, especially out on our boxing day yard ride with the 4 others from the yard which stopped off at a pub - lets just say he was keen to get there! (although the drink for me was helpful dutch courage for the ride home!) Just after that on a ride round some fields my nerves took a bit of a knock as he was leaping about and ready to take off at the slightest hint of a bird flying out of a bush and on the way home we cavorted down the road in canter. 
I think he was telling me something - that he wanted to do more and was bored.  So between me, the YM and another friend we have continued the increased workload over the last few weeks and he has been hacked 5 times a week rather than 3 sometimes 4. So far he has remained sound with the increase in workload and it has improved his behaviour and overall demenour, very small things but I notice them - he is standing much quieter when tied up, less fidgeting while waiting for others to tack up/get on etc.  So the reason I am so happy today is because I was brave and we went on our longest ride since we came home and over some quite stoney tracks (for Kent anyway, we generally only have roads or fields/grass tracks!) - he coped fantastically and I was really pleased, whats more we had several canters at my request and without prancing for the rest of the ride, whats even better was he also felt great! 
I feel like today we turned another corner, in me realising he really can do it and our time at Rockley really was only the beginning and it will last. (I hope that makes sense - I do fundamentally understand barefoot is a long term solution to the underlying problem so it should last but I was convinced it would all go wrong when I got home as I'm not knowledgable enough or with the set up to maintain it) Here's hoping that we are onto the next stage of our journey now. "

All I can say is very well done Nicky - fantastic news :-)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Charlie and I made it to Horse and Hound!

Only 3 years (I think) after the editor first rode him** for a day with the Exmoor Foxhounds, finally there he is (with me) in the hunting report in this week's edition! They even managed a photo!

Not only that, but we get a mention (thank you to authors Paul Scott and Simon Derby) for hunting all our horses without shoes :-)

 It was a very exclusive day, with only about 6 of us out (we are all in the photo!) in the snow before Christmas, but none the less magical for that.

Thanks to Lainey and Nadia for telling me where to look :-)
**Actually I've looked back and it was October 2008(!) - here's the post: http://rockleyfarm.blogspot.com/2008/10/gales-and-suchlike.html

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A couple of encouraging conversations

It was good yesterday to have a conversation with a vet about a new horse, who should be coming down at the end of the month, and she was very positive about sending him down.  This is partly because she had also been to see one of the rehab "old boys", Ginger, who was here this time last year.
Her practice looks after both horses and she had been to see Ginger to give him his vaccinations.  In the Project Dexter table, Ginger doesn't have a formal veterinary assessment because the vet who diagnosed his lameness wasn't the same vet who saw him before he came here, and the current vet is different again.

[There is an interesting piece of research which shows that vets are very consistent at spotting lameness BUT its not so easy to get consistency between individual vets, which is why, for Project Dexter, the same vet has to see the horse at each stage].

What was lovely was that this vet told me that Ginger had "fabulous" feet, looked wonderful and was perfectly sound - brilliant news even if we can't include it in the project :-)

Only a few hours later, just to cheer me up even more, I had an email from Nicky's owner to say that her vet had come to see her because of an ongoing issue with her hock - she had spavins before she came here and though they have improved they haven't completely fused, according to the surgeon - a matter of time, and continuing work.

The good news is that her vet had re-assessed her front limb soundness and was impressed with her, especially as she is working 5-6 days per week when the vet, before she came, thought she would struggle to stay paddock-sound.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Useful things: really, truly waterproof jods!

Admittedly these are unlikely to be useful for those of you who do your riding in Texas, Essex, Suffolk, Kent etc but for those of us in less blessed climates, these are the business. 
Andy gave me  a pair of cream ones for Christmas and I've tried them out in some truly disgusting weather out hunting and they do absolutely what it says on the tin.  They are quite warm anyway but if you stick a pair of thermal leggings underneath then you have serious comfort and insulation :-)

I've come across so-called waterproof jods before but no others have actually done what they promised so I've always relied on overtrousers instead but these look much better and are much more comfortable.

They are manufactured by Townend and are made of softshell - full details here for the ladies' version: http://www.townendonline.co.uk/products/Townend-Shower-Proof-Fleece-Lined-Ladies-Breeches-.html
and here for the men's: http://www.townendonline.co.uk/products/Townend-Shower-Proof-Fleece-Lined-Mens-Breeches.html

They aren't cheap but if you spend a lot of time riding horses in the rain then I highly recommend them.  Obviously you have to be a bit careful washing them - the label says you can use detergent but I don't trust that so I use Nikwax TechWash, which doesn't destroy the waterproofing.

I've now thown caution to the winds and bought myself a black pair for everyday.  I got mine from this place, who were delightful to deal with and had one of the best prices at the time: http://clippityclobber.co.uk/shopping/mall/clippityclobber/Product/imp-softshell-ladies-winter-breeches-from-townend-ot5772-1239248

The only thing to beware of, if you are buying online, is that the legs are cut very narrow and the material isn't terribly elastic so unless you have very skinny legs you will need to buy a size bigger than normal, particularly if you want to wear thermals underneath.   Alternatively, of course, just don't ride in terrible weather...(!)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Nothing is quite as simple as it seems

I read an interesting post on Wiola's blog the other day.  She was reflecting on whether horses prefer being in or out, and her post includes a link to another blog by a writer who obviously believes horses shouldn't be kept inside for most of the time.

Well, fair enough - I think most of us are aware that horses aren't at their best, either mentally or physically, when they are kept stabled for too long.  However, as Wiola says in her post, it can work for some horses particularly if they are in a very busy routine with lots of out-of-the-box activity for much of the day.

She also highlights how incredibly adaptable horses are: they commonly tolerate being kept in different extremes - from 24/7 turnout with no shelter to 24/7 stabling - and adjust surprisingly well in most cases to less than ideal domestic environments - its one of the secrets of their success, after all.
With the horses here, I am fortunate to be able to give them lots of choice most of the time.  One of the joys of having tracks is that you don't have to choose between stables or turnout.
 On a track, horses can get the benefits of turnout - foraging, movement and social interaction - even when the weather is too wet or grass too sugary for access to fields to be a good idea but you can also provide some of the benefits of stabling - shelter, dry footing and hay or haylage (with the downside of having to muck out, of course - nothing is all upsides!).
The interesting thing, though, is that once you give horses these choices, their decision-making appears more complex.  As Wiola says, there are constants which horses always want - food, water, companionship - but if these are available both inside and outside, then things become more interesting.

Horses (at Rockley at least) don't always prefer being outside.  Last Tuesday, when we had severe storms, most of the horses spent most of the night in the barn.   During the summer, on hot days when the flies are bothersome, they will also spend as much time as they can inside.  Conversely, on a bright moonlit night they will spend as much time as possible outside.  They aren't overly bothered by rain - its wind, and light, which determines where they want to be.
If you are used to horses being stabled individually at night, its interesting to observe that horses actually are happiest in groups, whether inside or outside.  After all, in a field they tend to sleep in groups so why should it be any different inside?
Our barn is set up traditionally, with large boxes, but when I open these up at night in the winter its not uncommon to find 3 horses all resting in one box when I go in last thing.

So when you are asking if your horses prefer being in or out, there are other questions you need to take into account - the answer is unlikely to be a simple yes or no :-)

Do they have companionship, whether in or out (horses will not use shelters if they are being bullied but some also hate being inside alone)?

Do they have access to forage, whether in or out (in the winter lots of horses appear to "prefer" coming off the fields simply because grazing is poor or non-existent)?

Do they have the ability to get out of the wind (a shelter which is facing into the wind will never be popular)?

What is the footing like?  Horses will often avoid boggy, poached land out of preference whether its a field or a track, so provide well-drained, dry areas if you can.

Is there enough space for horses to get inside without feeling threatened (there is no point having a 12ft shelter and expecting 3 or 4 horses to be able to use it)?

And even if you think you know the answers, they can surprise you!  On Tuesday morning the weather here was so grim and wild that I was prepared to leave the horses in, if they wanted, after they had been fed - they had clearly been inside most of the night sheltering from the storm, the winds were gusting at 60-70mph and we had horizontal rain sheeting in from the west, inches and inches of it.

After breakfast, though, they made it pretty obvious that they wanted to be allowed out, even though the weather to me looked horrendous.  Sure enough, about half an hour later the rain had stopped and the wind was dropping - as the horses obviously knew it would...

Monday, 9 January 2012

Progressing in the fog...

...or the further adventures of the Rockley Pony Club, in session for the first time in 2012...
Present were Stacy and Flynn (officially the Old Stagers, as Flynn is going home soon), Emma and Nico (aka the Bouncing Bomb), Sarah and Solar (who impressed me no end with his bravery through floods which he hadn't encountered before) and last but by no means least - since they were in front the whole way - Sophie and Thomas ("I am the smallest but clearly I have to be in the lead AT ALL TIMES and NO-ONE is passing me!).
Sophie, Thomas, Stacy and Flynn braving the weather
Sarah and Solar, heading in the right direction
Emma making essential pre-flight checks :-)
None of these horses are at the end of their rehab - even Flynn has at least 2-3 months to go before his feet are as good as they can be, but every step they take now is a step forward rather than a step back.