Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Holly and the halfway house

Holly went home at the weekend and like most horses she is only halfway through growing a new hoof capsule. 
For a quick comparison, when she arrived she was standing like this...
...when she left she was standing like this. Thats good as far as it goes, but Holly likes to keep both me and owner Claire on our toes so it would be far too simple to only have front limb issues. Still, lets start with the easier stuff...
This is her worse foot when she arrived. There are some interesting angle changes and event rings from when her shoes came off last year and she is under-run at the heel, with a distorted hairline. 
Today there are some good changes - compare the heel depth on both front feet today compared to 12 weeks ago, for instance - but she will shorten her toe further and her digital cushions should be tougher again when she has a full new hoof capsule. 
Better frogs and digital cushion today and shorter hoof wall; importantly the hoof is much more symmetrical from this view and the medial hoof is more balanced than it was. Still, there is lots more change to come. 

Sole shots show a huge amount of changes ongoing, with a stabilising ridge of sole slowly disappearing. At the time of the top photo her soles were so thin they flexed on thumb pressure; now they are far more robust but again this is something which will not be complete until she has grown in a full new hoof capsule.  
 So far so good, but here is our problem child. Holly has had some serious issues with this hind leg, not least surgery on her suspensories, but the current concern is a combination of an old abscess, which caused lots of damage at the time and whose exit hole is nearly grown out (you can see it low at the toe) and  a recent trauma when she stood on a stone. 
Now, horses stand on stones all the time and it almost never causes a problem - in fact when Holly did so it was when her thin soles in front had already improved - but on this hind foot there was nothing to protect her because of the old damage.
The sole shot demonstrates this really clearly; you can see the damage from the stone - a small black mark near the lateral side of the frog - and the old abscess damage near the toe. My suspicion is that the old damage extends throughout the sole  - it sounds hollow and the bulges and distortion at the bars and frogs are a giveaway too. I've asked Claire for follow-up photos over the next few weeks and months so I will post them as and when...

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