Tuesday 24 July 2018

Performance Hoof Workshops - new dates

As you may know, I've been trying something new this summer - workshops for owners and horses all about hooves. 

They've been lots of fun to run and I'm delighted that the feedback from those attending has been really positive so far.

They usually run for one day and we look at around 6 different horses, filming them and looking at their movement in slow motion on various surfaces. We assess how the horse is moving, where his strengths and weaknesses are and whether there are ways to improve how his feet are landing and loading, overall foot balance and movement in hand and under saddle.

As well as taking footage of each horse and looking at them individually we talk about nutrition and environment and how they can affect feet. We also look at practical ways to make simple, cos-effective changes which can improve yards and fields for every horse.

There will be new workshops on the days below and there are currently spaces available so if you are interested in booking please email me: nic@rockleyfarm.co.uk

Costs are £40 for a spectator and £80 if you are bringing your horse, each day runs from 10am-4pm.

Saturday 1st September              Priors Hardwick Road, Upper Boddington, NN11 6DW

Friday 14th September                  Rockley Farm, Brayford, EX32 7QR

Friday 21st September                Frieze Farm, Crowsley, Henley-on-Thames RG9 4JL

Thank you all!

Monday 23 July 2018

Belatedly, Beau's update

Beau should have had her update last week but Cassie took her spot, but belatedly here we are.  
The most dramatic changes for Beau are that she is less under-run and her hairline, instead of diving down to the floor, is now more level - sign of a palmar hoof that is building up. She also has a new angle of growth visible right at the top of the dorsal wall - this will be easier to see in another couple of weeks.  
You can see that the heels are slowly moving back. I'd like to see her frog develop further but its fairly early days in terms of the amount of work she is doing so that can follow. 

Better frog and digital cushion strength but still lots to work on!

The new dorsal wall angle is already clear on this foot in the lower photo (there is 4 weeks between the original, upper photo and the lower one from a couple of days ago).

More supportive heels on this foot too, along with the beginnings of a more concave foot. 

A good start from Beau, with more to follow over the next few weeks I hope. 

Friday 20 July 2018

12 weeks later - Cassie's update

Cassie is going home at the weekend so this is her 12 week update. She arrived with flared hoof wall and under-run heels along with her weak palmar hoof. She was landing toe first, no surprise, and had been shod fairly recently, as you can see from the nail-holes but arrived out of shoes.
We knew her feet were due for some fairly dramatic changes and in the current photo below you can see the new growth if you look at the dorsal wall and the change in angle about half way down. This is the new, stronger hoof wall she has grown over the last 12 weeks. 
She also has a more supportive palmar hoof - the hairline and heels show its much less under-run. 
 Her foot is also more balanced now and her digital cushion has developed.
The long, flared hoof wall is clear to see in her original sole shot and of course it broke off readily as it grew down since it was so weak. 
 As she has only grown in half a new hoof capsule the hoof wall at ground level is still the old, flared wall. However this is much weaker than the new growth and it will simply grow out without in any way damaging the new wall. For now its providing some protection and there is no benefit in aggressive removal.

As with her other foot, there is much stronger new hoof wall growing down and she is stronger at the back of the foot, although this foot was not as compromised as her right foot.

This is a messy photo I am afraid - I brushed her feet off but they are still a bit hard to make out. She still has old flare at ground level, as on the other foot and although many people would trim it off (which would certainly make for a more photogenic hoof) this would overload the back of her foot, which is only just gaining strength and needs more time before it is as strong as it will be.  
In addition you can see that her feet are flat still and the hoof wall is providing some protection for that. As her feet improve the long wall will wear away and by that stage her sole and palmar hoof will be stronger too. 

The bulge in her digital cushion is something you often see in an under-run foot as its not supported properly by the heels. Now (below) the whole foot is more balanced.  

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Further footnotes...Flynn's (nearly) 4 week update

On the footage I took last week Flynn's landing had improved though not as dramatically as Ozzy's. However, he has a much more concave foot and is comparatively more competent on tough surfaces, so its swings and roundabouts. 
The changes in his palmar hoof are not as clear as Ozzy's, simply because he has not yet got such a good landing, but he is engaging the back of his foot and I would expect his feet to strengthen a lot more over the next few weeks. 
For now he is less under-run and is building better heels which is a good start. I would like to see his feet develop better balance, as he is landing laterally at the moment, so thats a focus for the next update. 

 As you can see, he is becoming a little more balanced but there is more to do.

Not a huge change from this angle  - I would expect to see a change in the angle of the dorsal wall in due course but its often not visible at such an early stage.

A more business-like and balanced foot, with stronger heels and we'd hope for a lot more the same now that he is landing more confidently.
Flynn is also landing laterally on this foot and again we want to see better medio-lateral balance which will allow him to load his heels more evenly. More on Flynn soon!

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Footnote photos: Ozzy's update

I posted video updates last week on 3 of our current rehab horses and this week I wanted to put up their comparison photos. Regular blog readers will know that photos, in my opinion, are not the best way of judging a hoof as they tell you little about its performance, soundness and balance. However when you already have footage (as we have here: http://rockleyfarm.blogspot.com/2018/07/changes-step-by-step.html) then they can provide an interesting footnote. 
In Ozzy's case, as we usually find, the shoes which were intended to provide "support" are a contradiction in terms. His feet are more supported without shoes, as you can see by comparing the palmar hoof and hairline. 

This is still a flat, weak foot and although he has a better landing now his soles are vulnerable and his hoof wall non-existent so it will be a few more weeks before his feet have strengthened sufficiently for him to cope with tougher surfaces. 

A shot of the palmar hoof shows how much progress he has made in developing his frog and digital cushion already: this explains why he now has the solid heel first landing we saw on the video.

A less under-run foot and an interesting angle change which will probably have a lot to tell us in a couple more weeks. 

You can almost feel the relief in this frog being allowed to function properly again! It looks pretty funky but Ozzy is doing a great job and his frogs will do fine being allowed to sort themselves out. 

The contrast between the pinched and contracted frog and heels and what Ozzy has now is quite stark, even after less than 4 weeks.  Its easy to see from this perspective how much happier the foot is when allowed to load centrally, rather than round the outside

Monday 9 July 2018

Changes, step by step

Three horses who arrived at the end of June are due their first fortnight updates. Normally I give them a day each but as we filmed them all together yesterday I thought it might be interesting to put them together in a post as well.

I've taken stills from their updated footage (links to all the footage are listed at the end) which compare landings from their first day to 2 weeks later.

Beau was landing flat when she arrived and has improved to a slight but definite heel first landing on both fronts. 

Flynn was landing laterally on the left front and flat on both front feet. He has also improved to a slight heel first landing; although we did not film him from in front this time he looks to be landing more levelly as well. 

However the biggest surprise has been Ozzy who has gone from toe first in shoes to confidently heel first. This is not only impressive but rapid. He has much flatter feet than the other 2, though, and still finds tough surfaces more difficult so he has a long way to go but its very encouraging.

Good work team! Now to build on those landings and really grow better feet...

Links to the full footage are here and I will post their photos later this week.
Beau: https://vimeo.com/279079467
Flynn: https://vimeo.com/279077955
Ozzy: https://vimeo.com/279079950