Friday, 26 May 2017

Updates - part 4 (Ted M)

Fourth but not least is Ted M. He has been here a few days less than the others but like Jigsaw he arrived with feet that were already several months out of shoes and becoming more capable. 
This means he was able to work almost from day one and it shows in the good changes he has made since then. His foot is shorter, stronger and more capable and nearly 8 weeks of work has made a difference. 

There was lots to like about his feet in any case but they really look as if they can do the job now, which is certainly the case. 
A really strong, tough little foot - well done Ted!

He already had some good new growth coming in and once this is all the way down his feet will be even more robust. You can just about see in the current photo that the band of growth which was at the top third of his hoof when he arrived is now nearly at ground level.  

Now quite a business-like foot which is capable of working on all sorts of terrain. 

Well done Ted, and keep on growing those feet!

Updates - part 3 (Jigsaw)

Jigsaw is the next update, again at 8 weeks. I am not sure how the dint you can see in the lower photo came about - it clearly happened at about the time he arrived with us as its not apparent in his arrival photo so it may have been a knock while travelling. 
Whatever the cause it does not bother him in the slightest and is purely cosmetic. It is quite a useful marker though to show how fast his hoof is growing; you can also just about see the line of the new hoof capsule level with the bottom of the dint.
Jigsaw already had quite nice feet when he arrived and had a heel first landing so he has made rapid progress compared with some of the horses who come here.  Nevertheless his feet are still improving and his heels in particular are less under-run and are providing much more support than when he arrived. 

No dramatic changes to this angle as he was already landing heel first, which is what I would expect. 

Its a shame his stance hasn't improved - although maybe I just got him at a bad moment, again(!)... 

Subtle improvements which have come about with increasing levels of work and a variety of different surfaces. 

Again, a foot which is working a bit better but was already on a pathway to better soundness. 

Updates - part 1 (Zac)

Glorious weather for photos and footage for the last few days and far too nice to be in front of the computer but today its almost too hot, for me at least, so here goes. 
Zac arrived at the start of May so this is his 8 week update. He had a reasonable palmar hoof when he arrived but its considerably stronger now as I hope you can see.  
The most significant change in Zac's feet has been the short from straight hoof, wonky leg to straight leg but turned in toe. This is clear from the photos and you can also see the way his heels are now less under-run (check where the bars ended when he arrived and compare today).  
Of course ideally we would like straight legs, straight feet, but thats not possible for Zac. He is sounder when he is allowed to compensate in his feet, rather than his limbs, so we have to accept that.  

His hoof pastern axis is improving, a reflection of the stronger palmar hoof, but he still has a way to go and because of his conformation may always find standing straight on a hard surface tricky. 

Again, compare where the bars end and you can see how the base of support has moved back. The twist in his foot, resulting in the turned in toe, is also evident here but is less dramatic.

Palmar hoof looking much better now that he is working more consistently. 
Finally his footage, for reference, on a hard surface: and on a circle:

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Weekend jobs

There is a lack of blog posts this week which I will rectify soon, but we were so busy at the weekend putting a new ramp on my lorry and installing new drainage in the yard that I didn't have time to take update photos of the rehab horses. 
This is the smart new ramp, which unlike the old one should stand up to my obsessive pressure-washing...and the digger for the drains made it into the photo as well!
They have all been working well this week but just when I had time to get their photos and footage (this morning) the fog descended which means filming has to wait till tomorrow.

Still, we have a great forecast for the next few days so I am hopeful that I will be up to date with everyone by the end of the week!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Best foot forward

I want to use this post to look at just one foot on one horse because its a great illustration of how feet change and why its important that they improve.
 This foot belongs to Rose who has now been here for just over 6 weeks. She arrived with one foot - this one - much worse than the other and this was the foot she was lamer on.

Its clear to see why, as anyone who is familiar with the comparison shots I post here will already be able to see. The back of the foot in the upper photo, taken the day she arrived, is weak and under-run, providing little support.
After 6 weeks there is an improvement in the frog, the heels are less under-run and the whole foot is stronger. Her other foot has improved as well but the changes are more dramatic in this foot because it was worse to begin with. 
This shot is a good illustration of the fact that high heels are not very useful to a horse with palmar hoof pain. They force loading onto the walls which as a result under-run even further; they also reduce stimulus to the frog and digital cushion which means less capacity to shock-aborb in the palmar hoof.
This is not the best photo but you can still see that its a stronger, more developed palmar hoof today.  
Finally, compare the stance and the heels between these 2 photos and consider which is the more stable limb. Rose still lands worse on this foot than her left foot but it is catching up rapidly and I hope that in a few more weeks she will be much more balanced.  

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Eventing barefoot

One of the concerns most commonly raised about riding a horse without shoes is jumping - specifically, jumping on grass and how on earth do horses cope without studs?
There are lots of issues with studs, not least that their effects are unresearched and they can cause severe injury (some interesting points are raised in this article: "The use and effect of studs") but today I just want to point to Mango, a little orange horse who last week flew round the Badminton grass roots course fast, clear, under the time, without slipping and without shoes.

I've known this horse and his incredibly dedicated owner for several years and they have gone from strength to strength all through their own hard work. It was a huge privilege to watch them storm round the course more confidently and more fluently than many of the shod combinations.

You can read the whole story, with some fantastic photos, on their own blog I've Been Mangoed and there is some short slow motion footage here as well:

Just goes to show that a well-balanced, well-schooled, healthy horse does better on his own 4 feet.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Ridgeway Ride RESULT!

We had a wonderful weekend riding the Ridgeway on our awe-inspiring horses. Over 3 days we covered 49 miles of incredible countryside, which despite being in one of the busiest parts of England felt remote and unspoiled and we were surrounded by history at every step as the Ridgeway has been a well-used trackway for 6,000 years. 
We had a fantastic time and the horses did us more than proud, looking as fresh and well at the end of day 3 as at the start of our ride. Their feet had no problems at all coping with the mileage or the sometimes very tough chalk and flint.
Best of all we have reached our target of raising £2900 for Wilberry's Wonder Pony, the bone cancer charity we were supporting. If anyone else wants to donate the link is here:
 Thanks so much to Annette who did the lion's share of the organisation, Cathy, her mum who catered for us and provided superb picnics every day. Thanks to Peter, Lucy, Helen, Annette and Fiona for great company and most of all to our noble steeds, Kira, Teak, Mrs Hoggitt, Pocholo, Prince and Felix.

There is footage here of us on the Barbury Castle gallops!

...and here are the feet at the end of all those miles...Hoggitt...
....and Teak...
I love the fact that each horse's hooves look totally different but they were all equally competent. There's a lesson there somewhere...