Thursday, 4 June 2015

Ella's first 4 weeks

Gawd, how the time flies - I thought Ella had been here 3 weeks but checking on her dates she arrived on 6th May so has been here 4 weeks already and its time for an update. 
As you can see from the comparison shots, her foot has already shortened a lot and the nail holes are almost gone. To my mind her foot looks more stable and supportive now than in a shoe but she still has a long way to go.
She had quite a distorted and shut-down palmar hoof and its good to see that both frog and digital cushion are developing nicely. She is not quite landing heel first on a hard surface but is doing so on softer ground and her landing has definitely improved. 

The upper photo is her in her shoes, the lower is the day after they came off. 
Comparing that with today the frog is looking more engaged and healthy and although her bars and heel are still under-run they too have strengthened.

The toe looks long here but, as ever, its counter-productive to back up the toe on a horse who cannot yet land heel first. I am pleased to see the better depth of digital cushion though and the less distorted hairline. 

As with the LF, the most significant changes are happening at the back - to the frog and digital cushion. Notice also that her hoof wall is much shorter than it was in shoes. This is not a result of trimming, just her natural wear. 

The long toe is evident in this shot too. It will shorten over the next few weeks and by the time this has happened she should also have a healthier palmar hoof and be able to fully load her heels.

More on Ella soon. 


PeterW said...

"The toe looks long here but, as ever, its counter-productive to back up the toe on a horse who cannot yet land heel first."

Nic, not sure why this is, but I can see that bringing the toe back would result in a smaller footprint and that as he load down the bone column is a constant then there will be a greater load per square unit on that footprint and therefore proportionally more load on the heel than there was before the toe was brought back. Am I on the right lines here please?

Unknown said...

What gets me is that people comment on the condition of a bare foot and say it needs tidying up (chips etc) and yet when a shoe is removed most feet have loads of cracks and broken bits, they are just hidden by the shoe.

Nic Barker said...

Peter, your explanation is more scientific than mine but yes, I think you are along the right lines. What seems to happen with these horses (who of course all have a diagnosis of injury to soft tissue in the palmar hoof) is that shortening the toe shifts weight bearing to the palmar hoof.
Thats the right place for it to be of course but if there is too much load too soon then it results in a less sound horse. Leaving the toe to grow shorter naturally allows the weight-bearing to shift more slowly, as the palmar hoof strengthens.
The fear of course used to be that leaving a long toe would result in leverage which would damage the hoof capsule but in practice thats not a problem for these horses, largely (I suspect) because the new hoof capsule is stronger and has better integrity than the old growth which is at ground level.