Thursday, 17 March 2011

An Irish horse update for St Patrick's day - Zan's progress

It could have been Lucy, who is an Irish TB, but Zan got the spot as he was not only bred in Ireland but  has lots of Irish Draught in his pedigree :-)  Plus Lucy's owner is visiting today, so I hope to have new footage of her for tomorrow's blog. 

Zan has now been here just under 2 weeks and of all the new arrivals, his feet probably have the biggest changes to make, as he arrived with under-run heels, long toes, flat feet and poor medio-lateral balance - in fact a combination of all of the issues the other rehab horses have, put together...(!)
When you see feet like these, its often presumed that bad farriery is the cause, but I think that's unfair.  You can see by comparing these photos of Zan, in his shoes on arrival, and without them a few days after, that although the bar shoes were intended to provide "support", in fact they had made his heels under-run even more.
In this photo, his hooves have hardly even started to improve, but there is already a better hoof pastern axis simply because his heels are providing more support - without a shoe - than they were when shod.
And if I put lines on, you can see how the bar shoe actually moved the point of ground contact further forward, not (as intended) further back, making the under-run heel worse.  A small but significant difference after only a few days. 

For completeness, here is the solar view of the same foot - in his bar shoe...
 ...3 days out of shoes...
...and 10 days out of shoes.

Already the toe is coming back and the frog is functioning better, but it will be longer before these improvements to the hoof translate to improved performance and for the moment Zan is still cautious on tough surfaces.

PS: We have had a LOT of low flying jets over here the last couple of days - more than usual - what do you think they are getting ready for...!?  Could be just about anything anywhere given current international news stories...


smazourek said...

Did you trim his feet when you took the shoes off or just chuck him out on the track? I'm just wondering how much of their rehabilitation the horses are doing themselves.

Nic Barker said...

I rarely trim them the day their shoes come off, because I think one massive change is enough for one day :-) After that it depends completely on the horse and the feet - some benefit from trimming, others don't, because every foot is different.