Monday, 21 August 2017

New boy Freddie

With Dash going home at the weekend we also had a new arrival, a thoroughbred called Freddie. 

He has a fairly complex history with additional issues beside his lameness which may or may not impact on his rehab; we will know more as we get to know him better and start working him.
He has been diagnosed with DDFT damage to his left front but is landing toe first on both front feet and is lame and short-striding in trot on a circle, as you would expect. 
He has been shod up until the last year and there are aspects of his feet which are encouraging, as his frog is reasonably healthy and apart from a couple of cracks he has good hoof wall.
However as well as his toe first landing he has a medio-lateral imbalance, again on both feet, which means he is landing on the lateral side of his feet.
We will of course be monitoring him for change over the next few weeks and there will be more on him soon, I hope.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Shannon's 8 week update

Shannon has now been here for nearly 8 weeks. She arrived in shoes with a very weak frog and digital cushion and a pronounced toe first landing.  
She is now, as you can just see, growing in a new hoof capsule at a much better angle. This will considerably shorten her toe once it has fully grown in.  
Shannon has been landing heel first for a few weeks now and although she is quite stiff her better landing is having a good effect on her feet. 

 The improvement is clearest from this angle where the development of the digital cushion is evident.

This is her worse foot as she has a sheared heel on this side. 
Again, there is a better angle of growth which will result in a more balanced hoof capsule. 
The sheared heel - or split central sulcus - is healing up thanks to the better stimulation from her now landing heel first and regular treatment with derma-gel. 

Of course Shannon has a lot of foot growing still to do but she has made a good start.  

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Dash's 12 week update

Dash is going home at the weekend so its time for his 12 week update. As you can see, he has made some big changes to his feet and there will be more to come as the new hoof capsule (the steeper angle which you can see in this lower photo) fully grows in. 
The new hoof capsule will give him a shorter toe and although it looks funky at the moment his feet should look very nice in a few more months. 
This is the business end - where the most important changes need to happen. There is already more structure to the digital cushion and better depth to the frog but this should steadily get better again as he continues with work.

The balance of his foot has also changed; instead of being weighted to the front, as it used to be, there is now a lot more development in the back third of the foot. No trimming has been necessary to achieve this; its a function of a healthier hoof growing in. 

Although these photos are at different angles I hope its still clear that the lower photo shows a stronger and more stable limb.  

This foot was in better shape than his right foot but still needed a much stronger digital cushion and frog.  

As with the right foot, much better balance in the hoof capsule now. I will upload his landing footage and post it here as soon as I can!

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.