Thursday, 9 November 2017

Tabby's first photos

Our final arrival of the weekend was Tabby, the only horse to arrive in shoes although the others had all been shod fairly recently.
As you can see, the shoes are intended to provide "support" for the palmar hoof but in fact simply mean that the foot becomes more under-run.
Given that the palmar hoof is the area needing support, its clear from this angle that the shoe is counter-productive as it loads the foot towards the toe and leaves the heels and digital cushion unsupported, in fact.
The other issue, common with pads and wedges, is that the underlying frog and sole are prone to softening and infection. You can see the central sulcus split on this frog which is impossible to clean or disinfect in pads. 
 This is Tabby's worse foot, in terms of her landing (she is landing toe first on this foot and heel first on the left front). On MRI she has bilateral damage to navicular and pedal bones and DDFT damage.
Again, for me the remedial shoes are not really helping this foot, even though I am sure they were put on with the best of intentions.
However the frog underneath is ironically in better shape than the frog on her left foot, so we shall see.
Tabby's footage is here:

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Dolly's feet

These feet belong to Dolly, another arrival from Sunday. She has been diagnosed on MRI with a DDFT tear to the left foot and bilateral navicular bursitis and DDFT anomalies.
Of course the contracted frog and heels are obvious and of course she is landing toe first on both front feet but she is actually not as unsound as you might expect, at least on a soft surface.
 However this is not  an issue which has suddenly occurred overnight and so logically its going to take time for Dolly's feet to improve and strengthen.
As you can see from his angle she also has splits in her frog's central sulcus which have been difficult to deal with, particularly given the way she is landing. 

 Lets hope that there will be some good changes from Dolly in a few weeks' time.
Her footage is here:

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

New boy Brandy

Our second new arrival Brandy has come here following a diagnosis on MRI of DDFT and navicular bone damage resulting in right front lameness. This first appeared in April 2016 and has psersisted despite surgery, rest and remedial farriery; more recently has been medicated with corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid.

They aren't the worst feet in the world by any stretch of the imagination but he is landing toe first, intermittently flat, on both so there is clearly work to be done in improving his palmar hoof health.
The left seems to be his better foot, as you'd expect from the diagnostic findings, but the digital cushion is under-developed.

This foot is more upright which is typical when there has been a long term lameness.
Although his frogs are weak there are no splits which should be in his favour as he starts to develop a stronger foot.
Brandy's footage is here:

Monday, 6 November 2017

New feet for November

We have some new arrivals among the rehab horses for November. I will get their photos up over the next few days and I am starting with Wales who appropriately enough has come from Wales.
He has a long term left front lameness and this is clearly his weaker foot. It has a central sulcus split and his digital cushion is also less developed.
Its no surprise he is landing toe first on this foot but he does land better on his right foot which he is sounder on.
Nevertheless this is also a foot in need of work so I will be hoping for some dramatic changes to his feet over the next few weeks. 
His footage is here:

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The new book...

...has now been published by Crowood and is available in all its shiny spick-and-span glory!

It is available directly from them as a paperback or e-book via this link:,-Performance-Horse at a discounted price. 

Thanks to all those who have already provided great reviews and I hope you enjoy the book and find it useful!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Flying high a year after rehab

Its always special to hear about horses who have done well after rehab and even more special when there are photos!

A short while back I heard from Elaine about Deutz, who came here last autumn and what a great picture she added to her email!

"Hi Nic, 
Just thought I'd drop you a quick line to say Deutz won his section at Little Downham BE Novice on Monday. He finished on his Dressage score of 25.5. Next closest was Aussie Kevin McNab on 36.9! With Ros Canter and Kristina Cook also in the top ten it was a very competitive section and D showed them all how to do it. 

Comments on his Dressage Sheet prove barefoot and balance go hand in hand with an 8 for his paces!

And time for a cup of tea whilst everyone else 'studs up'.
He was one of only 2 horses across three Novice Sections to get round in the time. 
He wasn't even blowing by the time he got back to the lorry (lots of roadwork and hound exercise) and is now preparing for the Dressage Home International this weekend."

And her update from that weekend is equally lovely:

"Deutz was 6th Individually at the Home International and team  4th. 34 teams competed and the standard as you would expect was very high. Deutz had lots of admirers who watched both his tests but his dislike of simple changes in the first test and Philip doing his give and re-take in the wrong part of the circle in the second test cost him dear! 

Lots of interest in his rock-hard feet and a couple of other unshod horses there, several more with just front shoes. Discussions too about his feeding regime; he looks great and is super fit. 
He's doing his favourite thing again on Sunday: off with the Kent and Surrey Bloodhounds."

Friday, 13 October 2017

Freddie's 8 week update

Freddie has been here for 8 weeks so its time for an update.

The biggest changes visible from this angle are in the hairline, which is more balanced now (below) than it was when he arrived (above). His toe is also considerably shorter and his foot is therefore more supportive. 

If you compare the back of his frog and digital cushion its stronger now (below) although I must apologise for the lack of focus - Freddie can be a fidget. 

Its difficult to see from this angle but one of Freddie's issues is poor medio-lateral balance on both feet, but worse on this one, which leads him to land on the outside edge of the foot. It will take a while for this to improve but its likely that he will develop a medial deviation on this foot for support. 

Again, the main improvement is a hairline which is no longer nose-diving at the back and a more supportive palmar hoof. 

His frog is more robust now (below) and his foot is becoming more concave, though this will also take several more months to fully develop.
Not the clearest of shots unfortunately but as with the right foot it is on the way to having improved media-lateral balance. 

 His footage shows a clear improvement in landing, which is great to see as it took a while to change:

Monday, 9 October 2017

Jet's 12 week update

Jet went home yesterday and so its time for an update on his feet. He arrived back in July (above) with a diagnosis of navicular bone damage on MRI and was landing flat on his left foot and fractionally heel first on his right. 
Twelve weeks on and in the most recent photo, above. his feet are much less under-run with a shorter toe and he has a correspondingly  stronger palmar hoof, which has led to a better landing (footage is below). 
Comparing his frog and digital cushion between July (above) and October (below) its clear that there is still work to do but it is less contracted and he has the beginning of better concavity in his feet. 

Like many ex-racehorses Jet's palmar hoof has been compromised by early shoeing and may never be as robust as it would be if he had remained unshod but he has made progress and his feet should continue to grow stronger over the next few months. 

From this angle the new growth (below) is clearly visible about halfway down his foot. It will take at least another 3-4 months before he has grown in a full new hoof capsule. 

Jet has stronger heels and a better frog today (below) than he had when he arrived (above) but there is still lots of work to do. 

A stronger and more robust digital cushion is now visible (below) but again Jet needs to continue in regular work for a good while yet before his feet will be as good as they can be. 

 His footage is here: