Thursday 31 January 2013

Where we go from here...

We've had young horses here, we've had old horses here, we've had many rehab horses and of course always our own horses as well...
...but it was a new venture for us last year when we bought Bryher, who arrived at Rockley - with his mum - as a 10 week old foal. He has proved a joy to have around - endlessly entertaining and although he is only 7 months old he is already a huge character. 
Bryher's mum, Tegan, has done a terrific job so far and has been a superb mum. I am very jealous of Andy having Bryher all to himself  and so I've thought for a while that it would be nice if she could have another foal as lovely as him. 
With that in mind, I had a trip down to wet and wild Cornwall earlier this week to meet Angela Wise and her charismatic TB stallion King's Composer - a very sassy gent who has a decided twinkle in his eye. 

I'll be sending Tegan down there in a few months, all being well, and I very much hope that he and Tegan will be a great match - I'll let you know how it all goes, of course, but I am hoping for another Rockley newbie as funky as Bryher in 2014!

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Dave's 9 week update

I need to update his photos again but I thought you might be interested in this comparison shot of Dave, which I took for Cathy last week. Really I should have used the barn but the snow made it too dark for photos at the time.
With Dave, the biggest issue is his hindquarter weakness and building muscle to make him stronger and more stable is the prime focus. 
Dave quite liked standing in the snow but here is a more comparative photo of him, in the barn today...
More on Dave soon!

Monday 28 January 2013

Buddy - nearly home

Buddy will be going home in a couple of weeks and since Krista couldn't get down to see him because of the snow I thought I'd better post an update. 
These are his feet on the day he arrived and - below - scoured lovely and clean by the snow. Big changes in the back of the foot, where it was needed and although its still quite a flat foot its now looking much more healthy.

This is the lateral view of the same foot. You can see in the lower photo that there is now a big angle change clearly visible and this will result in a shorter toe and stronger, less under-run heel as it grows down. 

As usual, I haven't trimmed this foot - it really didn't need stuff taken away - quite the reverse. In fact what Buddy needed was the stimulus to grow stronger internal structures. That can really only be achieved through correct movement and better biomechanics. 
Although he only has the beginnings of a healthier foot, his movement is already improving. He is also becoming steadily more confident and capable on hard surfaces even though he has a long way to go til he has grown a fully concave foot.

For comparison, here is his RF - not the lamest foot but the worse in appearance and structure. 
Even so, its rebalancing nicely.  Buddy still has lots of work to do but he is heading in the right direction. 

Sunday 27 January 2013

Barefoot boys do it in the snow...

The last of the snow pics, for now at least, but I wanted to post these because they are so much fun!
First a lovely update from Sarah and Rocky (who went home just after Christmas).  He looks as if he is really enjoying himself - Sarah says he is doing really well and everyone comments on how chilled and happy he is :-)

And the last word goes to Buster, who despite appearances last week obviously managed to get up for long enough to do a bit of exercise with his barefoot buddy. Nice one Buster!

Saturday 26 January 2013

Cool Unicorn

Found this on Vimeo and it made me smile (and who knew unicorns were shod?!)...

Friday 25 January 2013

Some horses just love the snow!

Of the rehab horses here at the moment, Buddy and Remi are now thoroughly bored and annoyed with the snow. Its cold, wet, covers up the grass and is deep and drifty to walk in. 
Beano and Dave, by contrast, can't get enough of it. Beano in particular can be a bit of a grumpy old codger both with other horses and out exercising but give him a foot of snow and he is as happy as larry and marches out full of enthusiasm and clearly relishing the views as well... every gateway these are the ears...and the only time he really gets cross is when we turn for home.
Bless him! I haven't dared break the news that the snow is melting over the weekend...
By way of consolation, just look how his (already nice) hooves have changed over the 7 and a bit weeks that he has been here. The snow helps because it scours hooves sparklingly clean but what is surprising - to me - is how tidy and chiselled his hoof appears. It hasn't been trimmed or even touched with a knife or rasp but Beano has well-balanced feet and has done it all himself - clever boy!

Thursday 24 January 2013

Remi - nearly 6 weeks

Remi has now been here nearly 6 weeks and the snow has provided a great opportunity to get beautifully clean hoof pics. 
When he arrived, once of Remi's problems was that his front feet weren't landing correctly - he was toe first and landing on the lateral side of his hooves, as we could see on video. The frog in the photo above is ok but has definitely improved over the last few weeks, as you can see in the subsequent photos.
Three weeks later and his frog is beginning to improve - interestingly from this photo it looks as if he was still landing laterally as that half of his frog is still a lot stronger. 
Fast forward another 2 and a bit weeks and a couple of interesting things have happened. Firstly his frog is much more symmetrical - a sign his foot is loading more evenly - and secondly his whole hoof looks straighter on his leg than in the first photo. 
His heels are still under-run but he is already standing with his feet more underneath him and I think his hairline is more even. 
You can also see from this angle that although he doesn't have the dramatic angle change I see in some (mostly shod) horses, he is growing stronger hoof wall in the top inch of his hoof. 

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Perfect weather

There was another 4 inches of snow overnight but no drifts on the lane (although I can't get into the back yard 'cos the drifts are feet deep in front of the gate) so it was perfect weather for exercising barefoot horses!
...and though Dave wasn't sure about snow in his eyes to start with...
...he soon began to enjoy himself.
Felix spotted something in the hedge which hadn't been there on Monday...
and Remi was happy to let him go first.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

We're not the only ones having fun in the snow!

There are few things more picturesque than snow pics  - and when you have a barefoot horse you can be pretty smug because there are few things more fun than being able to get out when the shod horses are stuck at home with ice-balls in their feet! 

On Facebook some of the former rehabs have posted their own snow pics...
Thomas and Em, having a blast in Derbyshire...
Flynn and Matt doing a Narnia re-enactment near Bristol...
Amy and Eva posh trotting in Shropshire...
Emma and Dexter in Oxfordshire...
Hannah and Patsy posh trotting in County Durham...
and Buster - simply getting to the parts he can't normally reach(!)...

Monday 21 January 2013

There's only one way to begin this week...

... with the compulsory snow-vid of course :-) It was the foal, Bryher's, first experience of snow but as with most things he encounters, he wasn't fazed and gave it his best shot...
Normally its pretty easy to take barefoot horses out exercising in the snow but we had a problem this time because it had drifted across the lane and the drifts were up to 3 feet in places so not easy to ride through - even on a horse like Felix who has seen it all before.
The fields are really deep in places so going off road wasn't an option...
However after a solid 3 hours on the tractor we finally managed to dig our way through to the outside world.
The view on the way back home from collecting my shopping ;-) God bless Sainsburys - they tried to deliver on Friday, then Saturday and I finally managed to meet them yesterday evening a few miles away just off the main road - the nearest their little lorries could get to us! 

Saturday 19 January 2013

Snow moments

The moment when Bryher first saw snow :-)

The moment Buddy, Dave and I realise that going out exercising is not in fact possible because there are rather deep snow drifts across the lane...

The moment when Beano realises that snow is a reason to be cheerful!

The moment Remi decides food is more important than playing in the snow. 
The moment Bryher decides playing in the snow is more important than food!

Friday 18 January 2013

NOW we've got snow!

Well if we are going to have snow we may as well have it properly...
Some nice drifts with the strong east wind blowing!

The dogs are loving it :-)
I'll no doubt have more pics once I've exercised the horses - nothing better than barefoot in the snow!