Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Horses on a circle

Footage of horses moving on a circle is an indispensably useful piece of information, and its something we use here routinely to assess how horses are doing. I don't usually post this on the blog because people who are unfamiliar with what we do tend to view it and simply see a less than sound horse - perhaps not realising that the reason horses come here is always because of lameness! 

We don't use work on a circle for rehabilitation, certainly not in the early stages, as its too challenging for horses with soft tissue injuries of the type we see here. The reason it is useful is as a measure of lameness because although every horse which comes here is lame, some are sound in a straight line and only show lameness on a circle and many are worse on one rein than the other. 

Its very common, as with Guinness above, for a horse to be reluctant to bend correctly as a way of taking weight off a front leg, to go hollow (for the same reason) and to have a shortened hind leg stride (as a consequence of shortened stride in front). 

This lower photo is a still from 3 weeks on and the improvements are clear. Guinness still has a few weeks of rehab here to go and should continue to improve once he goes home but it is a nice illustration of the changes that can happen in a few weeks as feet strengthen and become more comfortable. 


claire wood said...

How long typically do you work horses each time when still uneven? What do you do with them in arena? I struggle to do any trot work without circling which is partly why I’m asking. Do you use poles? thanks for as always posting thought provoking information :)

Nic Barker said...

Hi Claire,

I only wok horses within the scope of their soundness - so generally that means work that is allowing them to improve rather than deteriorate. So work on a circle is strictly limited initially.

I sometimes use poles, depending on the horse, but in-hand work is always useful.