Thursday 31 July 2014

Isle of Wight Alfie

 New boy Alfie arrived yesterday having travelled by road, ferry and road all the way from the Isle of Wight - not so many miles as the crow flies but a bit of an epic journey which began at 5am.
 He's had recurrent lameness and related back problems and came out of shoes in February but has since then only been turned away.
Pretty weak feet and some interesting balance issues. He is landing flat/toe first but has better medio-lateral balance than you might expect.
 As always, a relatively weak palmar hoof but as he has already had the benefit of being out of shoes for some months his heels and frog have de-contracted.
This is where we need to see improvement - more on Alfie soon.  He'll be called Alfie IOW on the blog to distinguish him from previous rehab Alfie the Morgan :-)

Wednesday 30 July 2014

A lovely peaceful week so far

After the crazy and hectic week we had last week its been great to get back to normal - not that the horses seemed to notice the difference apart from it being a lot quieter without all those tractors...
We've had more lovely weather too, though cooler which the horses have appreciated. Instead of taking refuge in the woods they are back to roaming the track in their usual fashion. 

 I've even been able to dispense with some of the fly rugs and masks although the flies are making a comeback in the afternoons. 

Out at night and all very happy to be on the hay fields at last!

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Ruby's 3 week update

Ruby also arrived 3 weeks ago, just after Felix whose update I blogged yesterday. She was out of shoes but had recurrent lameness and had never developed a consistent heel first landing. Though there was a lot to like about her feet you can see that her frog and heels aren't as strong as they need to be. 
This is the same foot today and there are some encouraging changes beginning to happen. 
 Although she is not yet landing heel first she is building up the back of her foot and I don't think it will be too long before she's ready to really start to load it consistently. 

 Less to see from the lateral angle - a slightly shorter toe, possibly. 

 Its a similar story on her RF. The stronger frog is the most noticeable change here. 

 The difference in hoof wall height and orientation is interesting. 

 Again, not a lot to see from this angle though there may well be in a few more weeks. 

Monday 28 July 2014

Felix and his first 3 weeks

I can't believe its already the 28th July - the whole of last week vanished in a blur - but incredibly its 3 weeks since Felix arrived in his shoes and pads
Straight out of shoes he looked like this - flat soles, no bars to speak of, contracted heel and a wizened frog with a central sulcus split on this foot. 
This is the same foot today after his first 3 weeks. Still lots of work to do but a better frog, the beginning of a healthy heel and bars and he is also developing some concavity. 
 Caudal photos clearly show the sulcus split. They are reasonably common but a major problem as they are usually sore, infected and can cause a lot of pain in the back of the foot - enough to prevent a heel first landing and lead to all sorts of other problems. 
One of the initial factors which is crucial in encouraging horses to have be healthier in the back of the hoof is frog stimulus. You can see how little there would have been in his shoes but he is now getting much more and its all helping to improve his landing which will also help get rid of that sulcus split. 

You can also see that he has managed to over-reach even now that he is out of shoes. Sophie said it was likely to happen as he did it regularly in shoes. Its very uncommon in barefoot horses but Felix was determined to prove me wrong. Ok Felix, you've made your point; you can stop it now...!
The shoe was intended to provide support for the heels and back of the foot but if you look at the back of the shoe it doesn't extend any further than his already under-run heel. 
Out of shoes his foot is supported in the same place and actually has a better hoof pastern axis even though his digital cushion and heels are still weak and have a lot of strengthening still to do.
His stance today certainly looks much more comfortable out of shoes (below) than it did when he was shod and there should be considerably less strain on him as a result.  

Friday 25 July 2014

Filly's feet

Filly is (another!) chestnut thoroughbred who arrived on Monday but due to haylage taking over the blog its only today I've had the chance to post her initial photos. As you can see, a weaker digital cushion than the left.
There is quite a difference between her left and right feet with the right being particularly under-run with a weaker digital cushion than the left. She's had remedial farriery with pour in gel pads but those didn't suit her so she arrived in ordinary shoes.
Again, comparing right (above) to left (below) its clear that the digital cushion on the right foot is weaker and more pinched than the left. It looks from this angle as if the hoof wall on the left foot is distorting. MRI showed that Filly has bilateral lameness, worse on the RF. 
She was diagnosed with an impar ligament tear on the LF and DDFT lesions and navicular bone damage on both front feet. 
To add to the complications, she has an old injury to her right shoulder which has left her with a slightly twisted limb flight on her right foot. It will be interesting to see how her feet change over the next few weeks. 
A few hours out of shoes its a lot easier to see whats going on. Filly has weak, flat feet as you can see from the shallow collateral grooves and the bar which is extending to the apex of the frog on this foot. 
This is her better foot in some ways but the frog and heels are still contracted. She is landing slightly better on this foot but neither are heel first. 
As always, I'll be looking for improvements in these feet over the next 4 weeks so there will be more on Filly soon. 

All is peaceful...

 ...just how we like it! These photos were taken last night, just after 8pm.
Now the grass is cut the horses have access to a whole new set of fields with a fantastic view and a lovely breeze - just what you want on a warm summer's evening. Wiggy's on the left, Felix in the foreground and Filly and Prince in the centre.
 Russell, gang leader, plus his second in commands, Columbo and Prince.
 Felix again, following me round to make sure I'd got his best side...

Spot the chestnut - there are 4 in this field! This one is Ruby, with Prince's tail for good measure. 
If the weather carries on like this I am sure there will be lots more pics to follow!