Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Feet, stride-length, backs and saddles

Sorry for the blurry photo but I thought you might be interested in this - its a couple of wither tracings which I have done for one of the rehab horses.
The inner line shows him on 1st September and the outer line was done today. Its always interesting to see how feet improving can trigger other developments - here I suspect that a longer stride length has meant he can really swing through his shoulder and of course he has muscled up as this has happened.

You can imagine how important it is - especially now that he has rediscovered his proper stride length and built up new muscle - for any saddle to allow this movement to continue and not restrict him in any way.
I'm quickly adding his comparison hoof photos, which cover the 12 weeks he has been here. Lucky had been out of shoes for 9 months before he came here and his feet had already shown huge improvement as I mentioned in his original post
The most obvious changes are to his toe length and to hoof pastern axis - his foot is more supportive now as a result of having a stronger palmar hoof. His landing has also improved from being flat and intermittently heel first to consistently and clearly heel first. 
Not the tidiest frog in the world as he has shed a layer of it but its a pretty robust foot. He has lost the elongated bars he had when he arrived, which extended round his sole and his heels are also stronger. 

Hairier of course(!) but also a better frog - now sharing load properly with the heels instead of the heels taking the primary role, as was happening on day one. 

Similar changes to this foot and once the new growth hits the ground his heels will be less under-run as well. 

 Again, good changes to the heels and bars - there is some old damage which he had on day one which has all but grown out now but that is the reason for the slightly distorted medial bar in the lower photo. 

 Better frog - compare the central sulcus and how the hoof wall is no longer curving in but is slightly wider than the hoof capsule at the coronet, as it should be. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Alfie D's first fortnight

Alfie D has now been here for 2 weeks and so its time for an update. I'm sorry the blog is almost exclusively updates at the moment but its been so busy there has been little time for anything else, and even with perpetual updates I am only just keeping up, so I am afraid it will be like this for some time! 
Alfie came out of shoes a couple of weeks before he arrived at Rockley and he has clearly been keen to make changes to his feet as soon as possible. His hooves were contracted not just at the frog and heel but through the quarters as well and by comparing the same hoof 2 weeks apart you get a sense of what needs to improve.
Alfie's landing in front was extremely toe-first and not surprisingly he has not yet developed enough palmar hoof strength to land better on a hard surface so we are working him on softer terrain for now. 
Nevertheless he is shortening his foot and it is becoming more supportive. 
Though its hard to see from this angle his heels are slightly less under-run and his frog is starting to get stronger as a result of increased stimulus.  

The changes to his RF are less dramatic but you can see that here again there is a shorter toe and stronger hoof capsule coming through. 

The frog on this foot has been slower to change but its beginning to de-contract. 

Shorter hoof wall and a beefier frog are good signs and something we should be able to build on going forward. 
More on Alfie soon. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Goofy's 2 week update

Its a bit early for Goofy's update but since Ernie had his yesterday its only fair for Lindsay to get a set of Goofy photos as well. He has a central sulcus split on his LF which, like Ernie's, will take time to resolve. 
Because he has had surgery and was on box rest before he arrived here we have been only slowly increasing the amount of his movement and exercise. He is now turned out daily on the tracks and is walking out in hand and as this hasn't caused him any setbacks so far, we cam start to build that up.
Its too early really to see significant changes in his hooves, especially as his mileage has been limited, but there are signs that he is using his palmar hoof more as the digital cushion and frog are better in the lower, most recent photos. 

Again, not dramatic changes but a shortening toe and better palmar hoof profile. 

A harder-working frog and more supportive heel is of course what we want to see.

Although the changes are modest they are heading in the right direction, as Goofy's footage shows. 
Goofy from Nic Barker on Vimeo.

Apologies, by the way, for the footage not being shot in the same place but it was so dark in the barn that even with the lights on and halogen spots it was too dark for the camera couldn't record in slow motion inside...

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Ernie's 4 week update

This is Ernie's slightly overdue 4 week update - in fact he came here at the beginning of October so its a little more than that but lets just go for it. 
These lateral shots are interesting because the line on his hoof wall gives you a good idea of the angle of growth. In the top inch or so of growth the line is at a much straighter angle than it is at ground level. This top inch is the angle of the new hoof capsule; project the growth at that angle all the way down and you should be able to see he will have a straighter, more supportive hoof in a few months' time. 
A much better frog and heel than he had a few weeks ago - encouraging progress. 

Confirmation of the better frog and digital cushion from this angle too. 

Again, contrasting the hairline in both shots gives a good idea of the angle the new hoof will grow at and the top section of new growth is again at a steeper, straighter angle. 

His central sulcus split hasn't completely healed but its a lot better than it was and is heading the right way. A better landing has helped to give more stimulus and promote healing. 

And finally the proof of the pudding - Ernie's comparison video. Not quite complete as a rogue memory card seems to have swallowed his original footage but you get the picture. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

New boy Bruno

New boy Bruno arrived yesterday and with the wonders of the new computer I've managed to get his photos and video up already - perhaps I am finally getting to grips with it(!)...
Bruno has been lame for a while and though he improved to around 1/10 lame on a circle in the school he was still short-striding, though level in front, when he arrived. 
He has a reasonable palmar hoof judging from appearance but he is landing toe first so this isn't a frog or digital cushion which is used to consistent work. Its hard to tell from initial photos but I would expect there to be changes by the time we have new photos in a few weeks.
This is his sounder foot and it has better media-lateral balance than his RF - if you check out the footage below you can see the difference in landing - but it is under-run and I suspect wants to have a shorter toe.
Again, looking at the palmar hoof there is lots to like and lots to build on. The fact that he is landing more evenly on this foot is another helpful sign.