Monday 13 December 2010

Kingsley - footage on a circle

Last week when Wiola and Pauline were here we were unable to use the arena because it was frozen solid, so the only footage I was able to take was "out and about".   However,  I had been working Kingsley in hand quite regularly up till the freeze, because he had a major problem with trotting and circles.

Kingsley on arrival, in his wedged shoes.  He is now considerably hairier but also considerably sounder!

As Wiola wrote in her blog in August, when he first came down here he was physically unable to trot a circle.  On the lunge he would try a strange running walk - or "bunny hops", as Wiola described it - if you asked him to trot he simply couldn't, because he was unable to use diagonal pairs of legs at all.  He was bad on the left rein and even worse on the right rein.   After nerve blocks in August he was better but not sound and on x-ray he had also deteriorated.   At this stage his prognosis was very gloomy indeed.

When you look at this early footage of him walking, its easy to see why he couldn't trot - his back and spine were twisted to the right and he had developed a hollow, kinked way of going which made bending, and particularly a smooth trot sequence, impossible.

Kingsley is a perfect example of why any rehabilitation worth its salt needs to look at the whole horse, not just the feet; conversely, any schooling can only be successful once feet and limbs are sound and healthy.

As Kingsley's hooves have begun to improve so has his way of carrying himself but he had also got into a habit of being crooked and it took some intensive re-education before he realised that there was an easier, more comfortable way of moving.  The time that Patrice Edwards spent down here in October was enormously helpful and she taught both Kingsley and I some invaluable rehabilitation exercises.

Since then we have been able to gradually do more and more, and finally yesterday, in an only slightly frozen arena (if you look at the ground you will see there is very little give :-0 ...), I managed to get some footage - thanks to Sam for filming!

I put Kingsley's theme tune on the footage as well - if ever there was a horse who would keep on trying and get it right next time, its him; its one of the main reasons he has made such great progress.  Of course, there is still lots of room for improvement but its certainly a start :-)


Unknown said...

Woooohoooooo!!!!! AMAZING!!!!
Santa is certainly being kind!! Love that he is stretching down now and then and when you see those "lame" strides when he avoids bending and taking weight onto the outside shoulder that's how his EVERY stride looked like in trot on a circle without nerve blocks.
And I should probably add, there were large circles, I don't think he would even be able to trot at all on the circle the size he is working on on the video!
Thank you!

Patrice Edwards said...

Fantastic work, Nic. Well done!

It's lovely to see you keep the targeted work going =) And big pats to Kingsley too for his endless willingness and desire to understand!

Whilst it is always wonderful to see the benefits we know exist in these approaches, Kingsley's special personality makes it even more so. I can't tell you how much I enjoy watching him being returned to his potential self. Dare we call it Movement Porn? :chuckle: Video footage is certainly one of the great gifts of our times.

Hopefully we'll get conditions that allow us to the next phase in the New Year!

Happy Holidays to all,

Nic Barker said...

The footage just brings a smile to my face - I honestly wasn't sure I would ever see a trot sequence on the right rein - should have trusted Kingsley :-)

Unknown said...

That is really amazing to see. It is worth all the time and effort, heartache and vets bills ! to see Kingsley really trying and for him to have made SO much progress in such a short time.
Thank you for all your efforts I really appreciate it.

Patrice Edwards said...

Ahhh Nic, trust rightly takes time, eh?

It will come once you've rehabbed a few dozen more using the combined skills you're developing. I have yet to see failure :)

(And, no, Universe, that's not a temptation for you :P )

Nic Barker said...

LOL - well said Patrice! Andy always reminds me that with every horse who comes here I have a moment of doom and gloom and am convinced that they won't improve - its been dozens already, believe it or not (though every one is different!) but they always amaze me.

They are the most incredible creatures, and their powers of recovery are truly astonishing - and humbling...I am not sure I will ever get used to it ;-)