Apologies for the blog hiatus last week. Unfortunately we had been unable to get our haylage done earlier in the summer and so finally, with the promise from the Met Office of high pressure last week, we cut, only for the Met Office to discover they had been mistaken.
High pressure eventually arrived this week, several days too late, and in the meantime we had 3 days of rain from last Thursday onwards, effectively ruining half of our haylage which was (a) very trying and (b) very time-consuming.
However, equine rehab stops for no man and certainly not in the face of bad weather so on we go. This is Max' belated update - he in fact went home yesterday but missed out on a 12 week update.
I'm starting with the caudal shots because these are, in Max' case, the most interesting. Bar shoes, such as Max arrived with, are normally used on horses with palmar hoof pain and the reason they are used is because many people think the additional steel under the frog and heels provides "support" to the back of the foot.
I hope these photos help to demonstrate that - in fact - what they do is encourage the frog to narrow and atrophy and the digital cushion to weaken and collapse. Using the hairline as a marker you can easily compare the width of the palmar hoof (frog and digital cushion) in bar shoes and today. Which do you think is stronger and healthier?
To make sure its not a fluke have a look as his left front as well. This was a stronger foot in shoes and has less deterioration to begin with but again the frog and digital cushion are markedly different out of shoes.
The changes in the lateral shots are more subtle - a shorter toe and a less distorted hairline confirming the stronger palmar hoof.
There is an angle change in the dorsal wall too but its less dramatic than some we see here. Max wasn't really lacking concavity initially - his biggest problems were poor medio-lateral balance and a toe first landing.
The photo above is his frog straight out of shoes. Of course Max still has at least half a new hoof capsule to grow in so the old growth is still at ground level. As a result he still as evidence of a long toe and asymmetry sole when you look at his soles but that should improve over time.
A better hoof today but lots of work still needed. In fact Max has made slower progress than some rehab horses, though I am glad to say he has shown steady improvements over the last few weeks.
Ironically it wasn't his front feet which caused the most problems when he came out of shoes but his hind feet, which developed abscesses at the site of the old nails. This isn't common when horses come out of shoes but it certainly set Max back initially, so he has done well to get as far as he has with a handicap at the start.
Finally I'm including his comparison footage - last but not least because how hooves look is far, far less important than how they are loading and landing. The footage is only a short clip but shows a much improved heel first landing on his front feet compared to when he was shod.