Thursday 6 October 2011

Small changes make big differences

Pocholo went home on Monday with Kingsley to their new joint bachelor pad in Hampshire - it was nice that they were off to pastures new together, as they are good mates.   
I've already posted a quick Pocholo update yesterday but there is time for a bit more detail today. 
Here is his LF - his better foot - the day he arrived, at the end of July, and below when he left on 3rd October.  It wasn't a dreadful foot to start with, and Pocholo was sound on this rein so you wouldn't expect it to look too bad, but its improved - particularly the frog and caudal structure - in the last few weeks.  
His RF was more problematic - this was the rein he was lame on and its a blocky, boxy foot with a distorted hairline and nailholes still fairly high in the hoof a month after he came out of shoes. 
By the time he goes home things are starting to improve - a better hairline so more even loading, a more supportive heel (though there is a long way still to go) and stronger hoof wall at a tighter angle. 
From underneath the RF tells the same story - a foot which is improving but which has some months before it will be as good as it can be.
The frog is getting broader and the heels are less contracted but the foot as a whole is still under-run - in front of where it needs to be and where it will be once the new hoof capsule has grown in. 
On the face of it, these are small changes and you could be forgiven for thinking that a millimetre here or there really isn't that important in the scheme of things.  

The reality though is that a millimetre at hoof level has a much more significant effect when it is multiplied by the horse's movement up a limb, across the chest or quarters, along the neck or spine.  

There is an old saying among hill walkers that 1lb on the foot is equal to 5 lbs on the back - this basically means that a small imbalance or extra weight in your shoes has as much effect as 5 times that weight in your backpack.  Translate that to the horse's hoof and you can see how even small imbalances in hooves can lead to significant distortions, stresses and compensations elsewhere in the horse's body.
Certainly with Pocholo the small but steady improvements in his feet have led to noticeable changes in his soundness, strength and way of going. 
His full footage is here and I hope you can see the better movement particularly through his shoulders in front. 

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