Monday, 16 April 2012

The progress of Eva the Diva

Eva has been here 3 weeks and she isn't really a diva, but when she arrived she had never lived with *boys* before and was amazed to find herself at Grange Hill rather than St Trinians.
However, she quickly realised that there were advantages to this new status and she has actually taken to a co-educational lifestyle with alacrity.  At the moment she likes best to hang out with Georgia and they are rather like a pair of cool but ever so slightly naughty 6th formers, taunting the boys and frankly not behaving in a very ladylike manner.
I thought it was time for an update because despite (or perhaps because of) arriving in wedges and bar shoes she has already started to change her hooves. It may seem far-fetched but you can actually hear the difference once horses stop jamming their toes into the ground ("walking on stilts" as one owner described it!) and begin to engage the back of the foot.
So, for comparison, here are her hooves on arrival and today, after 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see how her hoof pastern axis changes as the back of her foot becomes stronger. 
Obviously, with the shoe on not a lot was visible, but the photo below was taken a few days later.
This foot clearly has a lot of improvement to go but the key points to look at are the frog and heels.  Even over 3 weeks, the frog is developing and the heels are becoming less under-run though of course she has a long way to go. 
Trimmers will focus on the bars and some would want to remove these, but in my experience large, overgrown bars are a sign of a weak hoof and are usually thrown up to provide stability. As the hoof strengthens I would expect them naturally to reduce but carving them off prematurely only makes horses sore.
As always, my favourite shot and the one which I think is often over-looked - of the back of the foot, digital cushion and frog (the source, in all these horses, of their foot pain and lameness). 
Out of shoes its clear that this is a weak area, and its such a fascinating perspective from which to watch hooves improve.  Below is the same foot today - a long way to go but Eva is just starting to make progress. 
Here is her footage - its early days but we are getting the first signs of a better landing especially on the RF and RH which were sliding toe first in the initial footage. 
Eva from Nic Barker on Vimeo.

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