Sunday, 29 November 2009
Grace's feet in general look horrible (to me). But they are getting better. Decontracting, the corns have gone, the thrush is 90% gone and so is the fungal infection. The latter is problematic because of the extreme wet weather and a previously very damp bed (roof and walls leaked). But importantly Grace is getting happier on her pins. Her heel first landing is becoming more consistant and she is capable of more manoveres. (Things like turning on the forehand used to be impossible because of the pain in her feet.)
I am slightly dreading next season when I feel we are going to be really challenged on the diet front. But one step (literally) at a time. :-)
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Near fore, off fore, near hind, off hind - in order.
At last the heels in front are starting to decontract. It isn't something that should be forced, you have to listen to the foot, follow the live sole plane and let the foot take the time it needs to heal.
Forcing a foot can make the horse lame or take it in the wrong direction - trust the hoof to know what is needed. But of course, look after the gut to prevent laminitis and treat any foot infections as required. The aim with the trim is to only remove what natural wear would have taken off if the horse were living in an optimal environment with optimal exercise.
The heels on the fronts are arguably too long, but taking them any shorter would mean invading the live sole plane which is unacceptable. The owner has been briefed to look out for the sole turning chalky in the seat of corn area.
Madam has been an interesting case - because if you just looked at the outer hoof wall you'd think her feet were fabulous (and in many respects they are). But it has taken an age to get her feet to this stage and if you look at the undersides with a 'barefooters' perspective you can see that her feet can be better still. And we are not being totally aesthetic here - we are looking for function over form.
I suspect Madam's heel contraction is linked to her sugar intake. We had got them to partly decontract last winter, only to have them close right up again in the summer when she had an overload of sugar. It's something to keep an eye on.
Friday, 13 November 2009
The block of 4 photos above are of Grace's off (right) hind. Top two pictures are immediately after she was deshod, the second two pictures are some 8/9 weeks later.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Barefeet are such effective barometers of a horse's health, I can't imagine wanting to shut that feedback down. I have a lot of sympathy for Madam's Mum (MM) - Madam must fall into the category of 'very hard to take barefoot' because she is so sensitive to sugar and simple starch. But MM is doing a great job in less than ideal circumstances and Madam is reaping the benefits.
The alternative would be a horse that is borderline laminitic all winter with full blown episodes in the spring/summer/Autumn - and if the evidence were covered up with shoes Madam could be in real trouble.
Bearing in mind how purple her feet were in the early days of our guardianship I am relieved that we caught her in time, albeit somewhat aggrieved that this sort of issue is not picked up by vettings. And that standard veterinary advice regarding laminitis is so fixated on dealing with the symptoms rather than the cause.
But let's stick to the positives. The finding we have is that it is entirely possible for a newish horse owner to successfully barefoot a challenging horse, if they are able to manage that horse's Diet, Environment, Exercise and Trim to suit. (DEET)
There is no doubt in my mind that Madam is better off because of her 'Mum's' efforts and that they are both a shining example of what can be achieved. (Especially now the linseed is doing it's work on Madam's coat!) :-)