Wednesday 26 April 2017

The very special Ridgeway weekend

This weekend there is going to be a mid-season Rockley Rehabs' Reunion and its possibly even more special than usual. This time 6 of us  - plus of course our gallant horses - will be riding the historic Ridgeway, the prehistoric trackway across the spine of the south of England over 3 days, finishing (we hope!) on bank holiday Monday. 
We are raising money for this inspirational charity which was set up by event rider Hannah Francis as she faced terminal cancer. The charity raises money for cancer research and you can find out more about the causes and Hannah here:

For anyone who feels they would like to support us, there is a fundraising page here (I have piggybacked onto Annette's page as it won't let me open my own!)

I hope that next week I will posting lots of great photos from the ride  - please think of us over the weekend and donate if you can - thank you!
#willberrywonderpony #kickingcancersbutt #rockleyrehabsrock

PS: As at Thursday at 4pm the 5Rs team has already raised over £1300 - thank you so much! Everyone else, please support us if you can and have not already :-) The team pages are here:

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Rose's 3 week update - changing hooves which are landing badly

Rose is, as you can see, making some fairly dramatic changes to her feet. She was landing very toe first when she arrived and although she is improving she is not yet landing heel first on the concrete. 
However she is definitely building up her palmar hoof so I am hopeful that she will be strong enough for a better landing soon. 
This was her lamest foot when she arrived. Of course it is still under-run and still has a long way to go before it is a healthy foot but there are encouraging signs that she is heading the right way with a much healthier frog and bars and heels which are becoming more supportive. 

These are the first small steps towards healthier hooves. Rose has not progressed as far or as fast as some of the other horses who arrived at the same time as her but like them she is developing a stronger palmar hoof which is the precursor to a better landing.  
I suspect there will be a very different angle of growth visible at the toe as well in a few more weeks. 

Basically this is a foot which is still weak but is starting to function like a foot again. The long hoof wall has not been trimmed so all the changes in her feet have happened simply with increased movement and stimulation from the surfaces on the tracks. 
Although Rose is not yet landing as well as I hope she will be in a few weeks the changes in her feet show the importance of allowing horses to move on conformable surfaces when they have weak feet. 
These surfaces provide essential stimulus to the frog, heels and soles even when horses are not landing optimally and so allow weak areas of the hoof to begin to develop without excessive strain.  

Monday 24 April 2017

Zac's 3 week update

Zac has now been here just over 3 weeks and so its time for an update. He has fairly upright feet so there is no dramatic change in angle to see but he is starting to become less under-run at the back of his foot. 

You can see this more clearly when you look at the sole shots. His frog is becoming more robust but he still has a ridge of sole extending from his bars to the apex of the frog which is a sign of a weak foot.  

He is one of those horses whose feet actually looked too small for him when he arrived so its good to see them beginning to look a bit beefier now

A slightly less under-run foot and slightly better hoof pastern axis but still plenty of work to be done. 
Because he has been slower to land heel first he has not been able to work as hard yet as the rehab horses I blogged about last week. 
Nevertheless stomping about on the tracks as well as working in the school has helped his feet to begin heading in the right direction. 

His frog and digital cushion are working harder than before and I think he is on the verge of being confident enough to land heel first; I hope this will happen over the course of the next few days. 

Thursday 20 April 2017

Another seventeen days - Teddy G's update

Teddy also arrived on 1st April and had also been out of shoes a while. This is his worse foot which in addition to the problems diagnosed on MRI had a central sulcus split. 
These can be problematic as they are prone to infection and in a horse who is landing toe first can be slow to heal. The secret usually is to get on top of any infection with a mild treatment like Veterinus derma-gel or manuka honey. 
Once the infection is no longer causing pain the horse will usually, on conformable surfaces, be able to start engaging the back of the foot and this of course promotes a change in landing. 
Once a horse is landing heel first then the back of the foot can rebuild and stimulus to the frog is key to this. In Teddy's case we have been treating the split and it is slowly improving. 
He is already loading the back of the foot more readily and I hope that over the next few weeks the split will close up fully.

His foot is starting to appear less under-run but we still have a long way to go, as you'd expect at this stage. 

Its good to see a better frog and the heels moving back, which is confirmed by his improved landing - his footage is at the end of this post. 

You can see clearly from this angle that the frog on this foot is healthier - no split although it is still in need of development. 

The biggest change, again an incremental one but definitely in the right direction, is in his landing footage which is up here:

<iframe src="" width="320" height="180" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href="">Teddy G</a> from <a href="">Nic Barker</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Fourteen days

More updates, this time Ted M who arrived soon after Jigsaw and so had been here 14 days when these photos were taken at the start of the week. 
Ted had probably the best feet and the best landing of the current crop of rehab horses when he arrived so I would expect 2 things: first that he should make fairly rapid progress and second that, although his feet should improve further, there won't be such dramatic changes as with some horses. 
Sure enough his feet are becoming stronger and less under-run, with a developing frog and heels but he already had some good structure there. 
Now that he is working on harder surfaces his long hoof wall is wearing down which should also  help his foot to balance as it loads more centrally. 
He is doing a good job of building up the back of his foot as his clear heel first landing shows. 

Again, a less under-run foot but nothing shocking. He is setting himself up a solid platform for future work which is what we want. 

More of the same changes that we are seeing on the other foot, heading in the right direction. 

  There is a slightly different angle to these 2 photos but the shorter hoof wall is still clear to see. 
His footage is here or on this link on Vimeo

<iframe src="" width="320" height="180" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href="">Ted M</a> from <a href="">Nic Barker</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

He was already landing heel first but his stride has become more confident in the time he has been here and I hope it will improve again as we go through the rehab process.