Monday 30 March 2020

Lockdown 2: Groundcare

What do you do during a lockdown? More groundcare of course...

Happy lockdown from Rockley, stay home and stay safe, everyone!

Saturday 28 March 2020

Rockley lockdown

Well, it may be a lockdown but life at Rockley continues, with horses to exercise, animals to feed, fencing to be done and lots of spring and summer jobs lining up as well.
I'm starting some short clips, mostly for friends and family with kids, as a way of keeping in touch and showing them what goes on here, so here is Rockley Lockdown 1: Horses

Rockley Lockdown: 1 Horses

This is just a bit of fun and a way of saying hello but I can assure you that we are following all the rules during the lockdown and taking it very, very seriously (with Andy working in the NHS we are only too well aware of our responsibilities to stay at home and work from home).

Take care everyone and stay safe!

Monday 23 March 2020


The second horse who arrived this weekend was Dash, recently out of shoes, as you can see. 
She has a rather under-run heel and long toe and is landing flat with a medio-lateral imbalance which is worse on the left front. 
Her palmar hoof is fairly weak, as you would expect with a horse who has navicular problems, but there is still some good structure and lots to work with. 
This is her less balanced foot and we'd expect to see an improvement in her landing over the next 4 weeks. 
Dash has a lot going for her, including a frog which although a little under-developed looks as if it should strengthen readily.  At the moment she is anding at best flat, intermittently toe first on her left front, and she is also landing laterally on the this foot as you can see from her footage. 
Dash's footage is here

Sunday 22 March 2020

An update from all of us at Rockley

A quick update from us here at Rockley in these strange and worrying times. As many of you know, we live in a very remote part of Exmoor. We are fortunate enough to be half a mile from the nearest road, which is single track, leads nowhere and therefore has virtually no passing traffic and we are surrounded by our own land.  

We are all fine at the moment but we are very conscious that we, like everyone, have to play our part and we have naturally stopped all but essential trips off the farm and have also cancelled our normal online grocery deliveries, so as to hopefully free up slots for people who can no longer get out. 

As we are able to rehabilitate horses safely here without coming into contact with others we have decided to continue working for now. By doing this we will not only carry on helping horses and owners but will also provide employment and support businesses like farm and feed suppliers. We enormously appreciate everyone who has, in their turn, continued to support us. 
Of course owners or transporter need to make the trip here when horses are brought down and go home but this only happens at the beginning and end of their 12 week stay. We had new horses arrive this weekend and observed the recommended rules for social distancing when owners arrived, also making sure before travelling that both we and they were in good health. 

It's ironic that we have always given owners instructions before arrival to minimise the risks of any horses transmitting infectious diseases but have never really worried about us humans. Now of course all that has changed, not so much to protect us but to protect others. 

We normally encourage owners to visit their horses as often as possible but during at least the next 12 weeks this of course will change, as for everyone else. We will try and post more frequent photos and updates as often as possible, to be a small compensation for owners so please bear with us.

After that rather gloomy preface, I hope to lighten the mood by introducing Henry, a cheerful cob who is already at home bustling about on the track and has endeared himself to us all with his jolly outlook on life.

Like most cobs Henry has feet which look robust but he has long toes and despite his apparently beefy frog is landing toe first, with a slight lateral imbalance on his left front. 

As you can see, his long toes are already starting to chip a little and his feet should remodel quite a bit over the next few weeks.
There is a lot to like about how Henry's feet look; they just need to function better as well.

Henry's footage is here: If you struggle to see how he is landing you should be able to pause the footage as well. 

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Guinness on St Patrick's Day

It seems appropriate enough to post photos and footage of new horse Guinness on St Paddy's day, even though he didn't arrive today. He is an eventer who like Wilberry has come from Dorset and also has had a long standing lameness. 
On MRI Guinness has bilateral navicular bone and DDFT damage and he has also been diagnosed with a chip fracture to his navicular bone. He's been rested but things have not really improved. 
The photos show a fairly long toe and under-run heel with weak frogs and palmar hoof generally, as you'd expect with his diagnosis. 
When filmed Guinness is landing flat/toe first with a medio-lateral imbalance which is worse on his right foot and is causing him to overload the lateral heel. 
This is a fairly weak foot, as you can see, and his frogs are showing that he has been only on soft ground for the last few months but this should improve quite quickly once he is on the tracks. 
Guinness' footage is here and we will post more on him very soon:

Monday 16 March 2020

New boy Wilberry

The arrival of Spring yesterday coincided with the arrival of new horse Wilberry (great name!) who has come from Dorset. 
He has a diagnosis of collateral ligament damage, worse on the left front, so this is his better foot. Its not bad but rather flat and he has some interesting growth rings on both feet.
Wilberry was fairly short-striding on arrival and worse on a circle on the left rein than the right but  he was comfortable in himself and was happy to move about on the tracks. 

On his left foot he has a central sulcus split in the middle of his frog which we will keep an eye on. Its not too sore and hopefully a few doses of medical grade manuka honey will improve things. 
In his footage Wilberry is landing flat/toe first and so this is the first improvement we'd want to see. Despite his diagnosis his medio-lateral balance isn't too bad - if anything worse on the left but the lateral tip is only marginal.

Wilberry's initial footage is here:

Saturday 14 March 2020

Ella's 8 week update

In quick succession, because we are late, here are Ella's photos. Again, her original photo is at the top and the most recent photo is the lower one. The changes are subtle but her stance is better and her toe is shorter, a good sign that the back of her foot is stronger than it was.

From this angle the shortening of the toe is more obvious as her frog has developed. This is still a weak foot and I would expect further changes over the next few months.
Sorry the shots are not better comparable, but you should be able to see that her heels are lower and her digital cushion is building up.                 

This is the foot which she improved on first and I would guess its a few weeks ahead of the other front foot in terms of palmar hoof development. 
This is a much better frog and stronger foot and we would want to see something similar in a few more weeks on her right foot as well. Like us, horses generally have asymmetry between their front feet and so its usually the case that one foot is better than the other and improves more quickly. Thats fine, we just need to see the other foot catching up over time.

Not the best shots I am afraid but a less under-run and more balanced back of the foot.

Ella's footage is here:

Smarty's 8 week update

Slightly delayed, its time to post updates on Smarty. who has now been here for over 8 weeks. We took these photos earlier in the week but I've not had the chance to post till now, apologies. AS usual his recent photo are below and his original photos at the top.
Smarty arrived with a solid hoof already and he had improved his landing too so that he was heel first when he arrived. He had done work in boots and our main job was to increase his workload and help him build a hoof capable of higher mileage on tougher surfaces.
Roadwork is one of the best ways to develop frogs and digital cushions and Smarty is no exception. After 8 weeks of roadwork he has grown a much more robust and hard-working frog. His foot also has better media-lateral balance - it looks more symmetrical from the sole (which is about the only place where a more symmetrical foot is necessarily a good sign!).
When you compare his digital cushion as well there are signs of improvement.
His digital cushion is better developed now and his frog has built up while his heels have lowered.
Again, we have roadwork to thank for this as frog pressure on a hard surface is by far the quickest way to stimulate and rebuild the digital cushion.
You can't see dramatic changes from this angle; possibly his toe is a little shorter and his stance more solid but the differences from this angle are small.
Again, the sole shot gives a clear indication of how much his frogs have changed. There is still some way to go in perfecting his medio-lateral balance but he's made good progress.

Looking at the digital cushion from this angle confirms how much it has strengthened up. As with any horse who comes here, he will have more work to do once he goes home and its continuing work over the long term which will ensure that his good hoof balance and improved foot strength are maintained.