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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Monday, 18 July 2011

No miracles here

Regular readers probably know that I write this blog (more accurately, sweat, bleed and salt the air - seeing as how I am not that IT literate) to provide some inspiration for people with more challenging horses and barefoot newbies.  Yeah and there is a bit of personal satisfaction too, let's not forget that.  I am only human and a pretty flawed one.

But I don't do it to parade 'miracles'.  All the horses on this blog are cared for either in livery or at home, with the exception of the odd rehab I had before I ever went pro.

And that is the point really, because it is the care that they receive that transforms these horses.  Not my trimming, not some super special feed or supplement, but a general holistic, horse centric care approach.

True, the tall horses need the length adjusted etc, but without proper care all I could achieve would be some pretty basic adjustments.  Some horses need a long period of rehabiliation and the carer may need advice on how to rehabiliate a hoof, but they should take the credit for any success because they are the ones who have delivered the care.

And yes, sometimes progress is a little slower than it could be because the owner is learning, but you know equally it is sometimes really really fast. And previous horse experience is not really any kind of guide.  What does count is putting the horse first and learning to 'read' them and respond appropriately.

So what I am trying to say is, when trawling the net and this blog in particular, as you peruse the before and after photos, just remember the only miracle at play is the miracle of mother nature.

Friday, 15 July 2011

More tall walls

Another day, another horse, another set of overly tall feet. 

This one came as a perpetual tripper.  I have never seen such an enormous jumpers bump (not pictured) on a medium heavy cob (and no he doesn't do any jumping).  Also camped under.  I suspect that this guy, being 20, is going to have more problems with reeducating his muscles than he will have with his new feet.

That's not to say the 'new' feet won't be noticed.  His heels will widen, the frog will come into use, breakover will come back, the proportions will change, the walls will get denser as will the sole.  How could all these changes not have an impact and not be felt?  Sometimes I wish the horses could talk to us - other times I am quite glad they can't.

Frog is tiny and not touching ground, heels are very tall

Heel is contracted, bars bent inwards,
 foot is 50/50 rather than 2/3 and 1/3

Wall much taller at quarters than toe

Height on opposite quarter

Comparison between shod and unshod height

This hoof has just been deshod.  Although there has been a significant shortening of the whole hoof capsule, over time it will get shorter still - and all to the good.

Before and after deshoeing, same day, same hoof

There are two ways in the above photos of comparing the differences between the before and after shots. The horizontal amber lines give an overall comparison of the height of the hoof before and after. 

The pairs of coloured lines show more detail.  Each colour pair is the same length and angle in both the before and after shots.  So the red line which marks the toe length, by being the same length and angle shows the difference in the hoof toe before and after.  The green line shows the change in height of the heel. The blue line joins the red to the green, showing their relationship to each other is the same in each photo.

And where did the extra height on the shod horse come from?

Not just the shoe but a lot of untrimmed hoof wall too.

Hoof wall is longer in toe than heel, tipping foot backwards

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Well where do I start?

Apologies for lack of posts! So much to blog about I don't know where to start.

Thought you might find these interesting. Older horse, started tripping, shod 7 weeks ago. Clenches not risen at all.
1 Frog not touching ground,
 foot clearly peripheral loading
2 Note inverted 'V' of back of foot/heel bulbs &
detrius under toe of shoe
3 Note height of foot and nail holes in
relation to ground
4 Note narrowness of heels, and tiny frog

5 Compare with 1
6 Inverted 'V' very noticeable, heel too tall and contracted
7 Compare with 3 note excessive height
8 Compare with 4

9 Post trim, compare with 1 and 5

10 Post trim, compare with 4 and
7, note nail holes, multiple event lines and
 change in angle
11 Post trim and short road walk
 compare with 4 and 8, note dip in toe

This horse has quite hard feet, not bad at all for such a long time shod. But they are quite contracted, the frog hasn't been in contact with the ground for ages and there appears to be some dietary issues.

There have been lameness and tripping issues. Some related to the feet, but others ? Whatever happens, this guy is going to be able to move more comfortably now he is not on stilettos. I am expecting him to have a few good and a few bad days though as he gets used to his new feet, as they decontract and while we figure out what regime is going to suit him, especially as he has many of the symptoms of Insulin Resistance.

His owner is considering setting up a track and we may fit boots in order to be able to step up his exercise a little more sharply than we would otherwise.

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Southern England, United Kingdom