Tuesday 4 October 2011

Zan takes the next step

Zan arrived here as a rehab horse, referred from the Royal Veterinary College with bilateral front limb lameness which blocked to his caudal hoof.   He was 2/10 lame in front and he and his owner had been struggling with his condition for over 18 months when he came here in March this year.   
His diagnosis a few years ago would have been "navicular syndrome" but nowadays we know that this type of lameness is normally caused by tendon or ligament damage within the back of the hoof capsule.  Zan has not had an MRI so we can't know for sure what soft tissue damage he had, but its likely from the changes in his hooves since then that he had collateral ligament damage and deep digital flexor tendon damage.   Over and above that, he had very problematic hooves, with desperately long toes and underrun heels and thin soles which were incredibly prone to bruising and which made it impossible, for many weeks, for him to walk on hard stony ground.
Its been a long and difficult road for Zan, with many steps forward and also more than a few steps back, but he has the most fantastic attitude and has been a pleasure to have at Rockley and its been a real thrill to see him gradually get stronger and stronger.
His owner, Sarah, has been very dedicated and although I know she has missed him a lot, she has been brilliant in allowing him to stay here as long as he needed.  When she last came down to ride he had grown nearly a complete new hoof capsule and his soundness and capability were so radically improved that we even talked about her taking him hunting. 
We are now hoping very much that she will be able to make it down for a great day out with the EFH before he goes home and in preparation for that we have been increasing his workload, which he seems to have loved.  Last week came the day of reckoning - there was a meet only a mile from us and I'd agreed with Sarah that I would take Zan to see what he thought of it all.  
I knew he loved hounds because I'd taken our hound puppies, Nettle, Nutmeg and Nelson, out with him but it quickly became clear that he must have hunted in Ireland - the minute he heard hounds he switched gears as you can see from the top photo :-)  Its always satisfying seeing rehab horses improve and come on, but to see a horse right through the whole 6 months which it takes to grow a new hoof is a privilege I don't often have, and its been lovely to have that extra time with Zan. 

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