Wednesday 9 June 2010

What we do, and what we don't do...

I'm not entirely sure whether its a good thing or not, but Rockley is being mentioned a fair bit on T'internet at the moment. I keep half an eye on it, and although I obviously can't monitor everything, generally it seems to be interest in, or positive comments about, the research programme or people wondering whether we can help their horses or owners giving updates about horses who have been here - all of which are great.

Now and again, however, I see people making statements about what we do or don't do, or about our facilities, or about horses who have been here. I'll make it plain, that unless statements are coming from me or from the horse's owner, then they should be taken with a pinch of salt as they are quite likely to be untrue ;-) So, to set things straight:

  • If you have a horse who has been diagnosed with navicular, DDFT or collateral ligament damage or other soft tissue damage within the hoof, then the best option (if you are after more info about rehabilitation) is to email me via If you send X-rays/MRIs/photos that can be helpful too.
  • For rehabilitation, we take horses with the problems listed above or who have hoof issues such as poor medio-lateral balance. Usually these horses have been diagnosed on the basis of nerve-blocks to the caudal hoof or pedal bone. Typically (but of course there are no guarantees) we can improve soundness over about 3 months - some horses are quicker and some are slower, thats just a very rough guide.
  • I will not normally take horses for rehabilitation if their problem is primarily a metabolic disorder, such as chronic laminitis, insulin resistance, Cushings etc. Its not because you can't help horses like this - far from it, as dietary changes can make huge improvements. However, it wouldn't be appropriate, or professional, for me to have those sorts of horses here because even if they do well at Rockley, they will be back to square one at home. Far more effective for the owner to keep the horse at home and make the necessary changes there.
  • By contrast, "navicular" horses and those with the types of injuries listed above respond extremely well to a short period of rehab over the surfaces we have at Rockley. We aim to kick-start improvements to the hoof, and get the horse to the point where it is back in its normal level of work and happy on the terrain it will encounter at home (whether that is roads, tracks etc). From then on, owners can usually carry on successfully without needing the sorts of conformable surfaces we have here. Thats because, once the correct biomechanics are solidly in place, the horse tends to stay on a "virtuous circle" of improvement.
  • The only people who train at Rockley are UKNHCP students and practitioners. Anyone else who says they have "trained" here is being a bit naughty, to say the least - they may well have visited but unless they are listed on they are not one of our practitioners and may have little or no training. I don't run courses here other than for UKNHCP members and never have ;-)
  • Finally, horses coming here for rehab need to come on vet referral. I don't mind in the least if a vet is sceptical - the best ones usually are, initially! In those cases I normally speak to them and explain what we do and we agree a timescale by which we need to see improvement in the horse.
Hope thats helped to clear things up! Normal service will resume tomorrow ;-)

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