Wednesday 23 March 2016

Norman's update

Norman is going home at the end of this week so time for a quick update. He arrived in bar shoes and pads which had given him an exaggerated heel first landing - he still has a heel first landing but with out the leverage action which his shoes had given him. 
I much prefer his hairline out of shoes and you can also see the band of new growth in the top third of his hoof capsule. As with most horses, Norman is going home with only the first part of his new hoof capsule grown in and until the new growth is the whole way down the hoof capsule his foot won't be as balanced as it can be, so he should continue to improve over this time.  
With the frog doing what it is supposed to do he can develop a stronger digital cushion, though the back of his foot was already stronger than many rehab horses as he had spent a lot of time out of shoes. 
If you compare the distance between hairline and the ground surface of his feet in shoes and now its also clear that his foot balance is changing. 
In his bar shoes you couldn't see a lot but immediately out of shoes (below) things didn't look too bad.
However his frog is now not only much bigger but so are his heels. He will benefit from being allowed to grow his feet as he likes rather than having the shape imposed on him, I suspect.
As you can see, there is an untidy white line which is currently a trap for tiny stones. This is largely because what is on the ground at the moment is old growth. As the new growth grows down this should resolve and his toe will also shorten. You can see that his breakover is already behind the white line, in line with where his toe will be once the new growth is complete. 
Again, the new growth is clear in the lower photo as is the deeper palmar hoof. 

Still some work to do on hoof balance - this is his worse foot - but a whole lot better than it was! 

The photos are straight out of shoes (above) and now (below). Lots of people would want to chop off that flap of frog but its not doing any harm and he needs all the frog stimulus he can get at the moment. Ragged white line, as with the right front, but that will sort itself out as the new, tighter growth takes over. 

Friday 18 March 2016

Back, back, back!

Someone is happy to be out with the foxhounds again! 
Kiara having her 5th day out hunting since coming out of shoes in November. 

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Boys in the sunshine

 Little 'n large matchy matchy dapple greys...
 Coming in for tea
 Josh photobombing Norman...
 Finnick in the firs

Friday 11 March 2016

Finnick's 8 week update

This is Finnick's 8 week update. He arrived as one of the sounder horses among the current rehabs and there was lots to like about his feet already. 
If you compare the growth in the top third though you can see that his feet are growing in stronger; this will result in a shorter toe as well as the less under-run heel which you can already see.
This is a foot which is rebalancing medio-laterally - the old growth is at ground level and it will be another few months before the new hoof capsule is complete. 

His feet are developing more concavity and you can see from this angle how much rebalancing is going on. His frogs look if anything smaller in the new photos but that is mostly because his toe is shortening. Once the new growth is all the way down his foot will look more in proportion again. 

As with the other foot, the biggest change is the palmar hoof being less under-run. The angle of the new growth can be seen but is less dramatic on this foot. 

From this angle you can see that the frog and digital cushion are actually stronger now than they were. 
And the proof of the pudding - better movement when you compare his January footage...
 ...with his recent footage.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Kiara's 3 month update

Kiara has been here since the end of November, so a little over 3 months, and its time for an update. When she arrived several of you commented on her feet which appeared a bit bull-nosed. I thought at the time that this was probably mostly the effect of how she had been shod and trimmed and sure enough, it is growing out. 
In her latest photo, above, you can see 2 angle changes. The first is the line you can see around the top third of the hoof, extending to her heels. This is the really strong new growth which is at the steepest angle. Further down there is another angle change, less severe, and finally at ground level the last of the bull-nosed old hoof wall. Her hairline and the new growth give a good indication of how her hoof capsule will be in another few months - much steeper and shorter with a really strong palmar hoof.  
Some nice changes in the sole shot with a  much stronger frog and much more concavity. This will improve further as the new hoof capsule grows down. You can see from the dark inner line round the sole where the new hoof capsule will be - this is already effectively where she is breaking over and the old hoof wall is wearing away as it grows down. There is no need to trim as the new growth is far stronger than the old and is already setting her foot balance. 

She had a fairly good frog and digital cushion for a horse who had been shod for many years but still they can improve out of shoes!

As with the left foot, the bull-nosed wall is growing out and the new, steeper angles can be seen. This was her more compromised foot, which had quite an extensive solar abscess when she was in shoes but that too is now growing out. 

Although her frog was fairly good in shoes you can see how much it has developed in the last few weeks.  Her bars are a function of the fact that her sole was compromised by the abscess and they will normalise once her new foot has grown in. For now they are providing much needed stability so, again, its best not to trim them.

It wasn't a terrible palmar hoof before but its more balanced and working harder today. Kiara is now back hunting, though we are only letting her do a couple of hours for now. Next season I hope she will be back all guns blazing!

Thursday 3 March 2016

Not rocket science

Is it me or this terrible weather or just the time of year? Three times in two days I have seen posts on social media from owners whose horses have suddenly gone sore. See if you can spot the connection.

"My horse has been barefoot for x years...He has suddenly gone lame after a trim..."

"I took my horse's shoes off 4 weeks ago. He was managing fine until a few days after his first trim..."

"I need some advice about my mare. I took her barefoot following a navicular diagnosis. She had her first barefoot trim and is extremely sore..."

Of course, at this time of year grass is something to be watchful of and for any horse good nutrition is the foundation for hoof health BUT we need to be logical too.
If a horse is fine until it is trimmed and nothing else has changed then it is probably the trim which has made the horse lame. 

Don't beat yourself up - we all make mistakes - but don't repeat the trim if its making your horse worse. I don't care how nice your trimmer or farrier is, how well they get on with your vet or what plausible phrases they use to convince you that a trim is necessary. When it comes to trimming the ends never justify the means.

If your trimmer and your horse don't agree on what a beneficial trim is, please believe your horse - you owe it to him.

The truth is that a trim should never leave a horse sore or less capable; a trim which does this is not fair on your horse and should not be done again.

PS: Any newcomers wondering about the photo...just search the blog for "celery"...

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Josh's 8 week update

Slightly late, here is Josh's 8 week update. Given how flat and under-run his fronts were when he arrived I am pleased with how he has progressed so far. You can see the new angle of growth in the most recent photo, below, and how it is shortening his toe and bringing his heels back to where they should be. 

Like many ex-racehorses, Josh has an under-developed digital cushion; it is better now than it was when he arrived and now that his frog is getting stronger that will also help. 

Josh still has a lot of work to do but what I like about these photos is that the heels are slowly but surely moving back to be more supportive and less under-run. 

Again, the new angle of growth is clear, which will shorten his toe and bring back his heels as it grows down. 

Some encouraging changes in the frog on this foot too, and much more concavity is building as well. 

The business end - now working harder and all the better for it.