Tuesday 27 February 2018

17 years old and diagnosed with navicular - 3 years on

I got a great email a few days ago and I just had to post it here (with permission of course!).

Alfie is a wonderful Irish sports horse who came here for rehab in 2014. He had been diagnosed with "terminal navicular" and his first blog post with his original photos is here:   http://rockleyfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/new-boy-another-alfie.html

His progress has not always been totally straightforward but he has had an extremely dedicated owner who has turned into a bit of a hoof obsessive, like many of us. His attention to detail and unrelenting care of Alfie's feet has certainly paid off.

Here is his email:

"I thought you might be interested – I had Alfie x-rayed today (to check on his hocks) but had his front feet done as well.

I hadn't had him x-rayed since his "terminal navicular diagnosis" just before he came down to you, on the basis that once he came back if he was having a full, athletic, and pain free life that's all that mattered, but I was nonetheless interested to see the x-rays of his front feet when I had the opportunity.

The vet advised that there was no abnormal wear and no wear that you wouldn't otherwise see in a 17 y.o. active horse, and no navicular diagnosis.

Interestingly, the front foot that I would consider much "healthier & better" of the two (better frog, wider heel, shorter toe), was in fact showing more wear (the sole thinner and a tiny bit more sign of age) – so I think that maybe he is favouring it (and that diagonal in general) a bit because it is stronger.

Anyway, what great news and what a rewarding result and recognition for your approach!"
As you can see, the pair have had a busy season and I was interested to hear about how they find hunting barefoot:

"Purely for feedback for you, my hunting this season has given me much more experience of the self trimming approach in this new context. My current thinking is, vs "shod":

1.      Surfaces  

a.      Better - overall it's much better, with better performance in plough (no lost shoes, less weight, easier to lift foot), wet ground, great on grass, no difference on jumping, fine on smooth tarmac (tho will slow down), (tarmac without gravel, or grit, or when the verge is accessible and safe), it's also safer on tarmac vs shoes as you don't slip when turning (to jump a wall etc) etc.

b.      Surfaces where I need to be careful – roads with gravel or grit basically, farm tracks made of broken stone, (where there is no good verge), and also;

c.      Cornering on slippery grass around headlands (you have to manage your balance), tho the horse becomes more aware of the slipperiness of what's under his feet and adjusts accordingly.

2.      Amount of work:

a.      I am convinced that not having the extra weight of shoes makes a big difference to the amount of energy expended during the day/how tired he gets.(i.e. I think lightweight racing plates taken to the extreme). This is a big plus as a less tired horse is safer etc.

b.      I think also the focus on better diet and its constituents makes for a stronger horse with better stamina.

3.      "Wear" to hoof:

      The extra work over multiple surfaces seems to benefit the foot, except on the days when there is lots of roadwork on roads where there is grit/gravel, and I think the sole gets sore (that was the event in my earlier email).  In VWH area this seems to be our low lying, wet areas where grit washes onto the roads. Think I might to skip those Saturdays in future, now I know which areas they are.

      So in conclusion self trim works fine / better, save that there is a need for some level of awareness and management / avoidance when on hard surfaces with grit/gravel/broken stone on top."

1 comment:

LL said...

Wow!!! How awesome is that !! And great info about surfaces!!!