Friday 30 July 2010

Rehab...what next?

One of the questions I am most often asked is how long horses need to stay here for rehab, and what happens when they go home. The answer, as with most questions about horses and hooves, is "it depends"...but I always recommend to owners who are interested in sending a horse to us that they must commit to the horse being here for 3-4 months.

My aim with every rehab horse is the same - to send it back home when its hooves are capable of a consistent level of exercise and able to work on a variety of surfaces, including 10-15 miles of roadwork per week. Usually this takes 3-4 months - some horses take less time, some take more - but no two horses respond in quite the same way.

When horses go home, its essential that they are kept in consistent work because after 3-4 months they will have grown at least half a new hoof capsule, but not a full one, so the following few months must be treated as a continuation of their rehabilitation. Its definitely the case though that once horses have grown half a good, well-connected hoof capsule and have established correct patterns of movement and landing, its relatively easy to carry on the good work.

Horses go home with a final report, for the owner and their vet, and detailed nutrition and exercise guidelines. Owners often have to make some changes to their management routine, but although they mostly find it nerve-wracking (at first) to take full responsibility for their horses' hooves at home, there is always help and support available and the satisfaction of seeing their horse's hooves improve seems to make up for all the hard work.

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