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.  

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