Thursday, 10 August 2017

Dallas changes her landing

Dallas has been here for 6 weeks now and its taken until now for her to change her landing. Many horses go from toe first to heel first relatively quickly but she has found it more difficult and its only really this week that she has started to engage the back of her foot properly.

Her landing was extremely toe first when she arrived and its proved a stubborn habit to change so its good to see the first tentative evidence of better movement in her video.

At the stage its still tricky to spot, even on slow motion footage, but the stills confirm that she is actually using her palmar hoof now. She should also begin to develop a longer stride as she becomes more confident with her new landing.

Footage here, for the hoof nerds:

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Jet's first fortnight

Ex-racehorse Jet arrived here just over 2 weeks ago and I took comparison footage and photos earlier in the week which I've only just managed to upload
His photos do not show dramatic changes but the back of his foot is getting stronger and as this happens his toe is shortening and his foot as a whole is becoming more supportive. 

Of course there is still a very long way to go; Jet will grow in a hoof capsule at a steeper angle and it will be at least 6 months before he has "new feet".

Its good to see though that he is making progress and for an ex-racehorse his feet are changing quite rapidly. 

The proof of the pudding as always is in his footage which is here:

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Celery - it could be your horse's best friend

For some of you this blog post may be a blast from the past - its over 6 years since I first blogged about celery (or to give it the full title: Why its better not to let a farrier or trimmer near your horse with anything sharper than a stick of celery).

Back then I also posted about the numbers of horses whose soundness was impaired by trimming and who were measurably sounder when allowed to manage their own hooves instead.

There have been a number of other posts about celery since then so feel free to search for them if you are interested in catching up :-)

I hoped I wouldn't need to write more celery posts and its been good to see more and more people experimenting with allowing their horses to self-maintain, something which becomes even more important if you have a horse who is recovering from injury and who may need asymmetric hooves to provide essential support.

However, it seems to be time for a new celery post because poor trimming has become an increasingly common problem once more.  I have been told of several horses who have been lamed by poor trims - some by "qualified" farriers, some by "qualified" trimmers - and I am also seeing more reports online of horses being footy after trims. There also seem to be lots of "methods" of trimming being taught over the internet, usually using only photos and ignoring how the horse is moving. These tend to feature an aggressive approach which requires hooves to be trimmed to a template and removing all "flare", something which will render many horses unsound.

The reason for this post is very simple: to ask owners to stand up for their horses and never to be bullied into having your horse trimmed if it is to the detriment of his soundness. There are lots of "hoof experts" out there but the only one worth listening to is your horse.

I'll finish with something I posted back in 2011:

"If you decide to have your horse trimmed there is a way to work out whether your horse "needed" a trim - and its really pretty simple:

If the horse is moving better, more capably, more confidently, with a better stride length, over tougher surfaces after a trim, then it was the right thing to do.  

If the horse is moving better, more confidently, with a better stride length, over tougher surfaces when he is left well alone, then stick to celery. 

There is NO reason to trim unless to make the horse sounder, and if the best way to make the horse sounder is NOT to trim, well then, embrace your celery."

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

New feet - Jet's photos

New horse Jet arrived at the weekend. He is an ex-racehorse who has successfully competed in endurance and eventing more recently and went lame with a diagnosis of navicular bone oedema on MRI.
He has the relatively weak digital cushion and under-run heels that are not only typical with this diagnosis but which are also common in ex-racers; its no surprise therefore that he is landing flat on this foot though he has a marginal heel first landing on his right foot.
He has worn shoes up until 4 weeks ago, when he was put onto box rest; happily he has a fairly relaxed outlook on life and, like most horses coming off box rest, has taken well to a more active life on our tracks.
Its yet another useful feature of tracks that they encourage regular, gentle exercise rather than the sort of high intensity, hand-brake turn, stop-and-start galloping that can occur when horses are first turned out after restricted movement. 
Jet is landing better on this foot even though its the foot he has historically been lamer on. One possible explanation which I see fairly frequently is that the "better" foot has been overloaded to the point that it then becomes lame, even if it wasn't the worse foot to begin with.
 You can see that he has a better frog on this foot as a result.

Jet's initial footage is here and you can see the difference in his landings in front as well as the fact that he has a slight medio-lateral imbalance, leading him to land laterally on both front feet.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Feet can improve at any age - Shannon's update

Shannon arrived a couple of weeks ago aged 22. She had been shod for, presumably, most of her life and has had remedial farriery as well in recent years. It improved her lameness for a while but then stopped working and had left her with weak feet. 
Shannon was landing toe first and was particularly unlevel on the left front. She was uncomfortable on hard ground initially but has become steadily more competent over the last 10 days.  
She developed a tentative heel first landing - tentative because although she is landing correctly her palmar hoof is of course still vulnerable and under-developed. 

Nevertheless that is impressive progress for any horse, let alone one who has been shod of so many years. 

She was not as lame on this foot but it does have a nasty central sulcus split. These are common and troublesome, prone to infection and can be a barrier to a good landing but fortunately Shannon is tough and is landing well on this foot too, now. 

A better landing, and liberal doses of Veterinus derma-gel, will be the quickest way to heal this. 

I am sure that Shannon's next update will show a much more attractive looking foot but, as her footage below demonstrates, she has made a good start. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Dallas after 2 weeks

I wanted to update Dallas' photos now that she has been here 2 weeks. She is not yet landing heel first and I wasn't convinced her feet had changed that much; in fact when I actually compared the photos I was surprised. 
This is her lamer foot which had become club-footed as a result of being unloaded. Despite her poor landing the toe is shortening and the palmar foot is starting to strengthen. 

Although the frog on this foot is much weaker than the front on the left foot it has still developed considerably. I am hoping a better landing is only a few weeks away. 

The tracks are an essential tool for feet like this as she could not work safely on hard surfaces yet and needs the stimulus of the conformable surfaces on the track to allow her feet to improve. 

Her feet are still mismatched but they are I think more symmetrical than they were on day 1. 

Compare the frog on this foot to her other front foot its clear which for has been working harder. Her frog is now starting to look good on this foot and she should soon be able to land properly. 

More on Dallas soon!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Toe first landing to heel first landing

These are stills taken from Rose's footage which is up here: Like most horses when they arrive here for rehab, Rose was landing toe first and monitoring how feet are loading and landing is a critical part of rehabilitation. 
I would expect her landing to improve still further over the next few months but she has made really good progress. 

These stills are from Teddy's footage: Like Rose he has been here over 12 weeks and there is a clear improvement in how he is landing.  

You can also see that the effect of a heel first landing is automatically to increase stride length. A toe first landing conversely will always mean a shortened stride.