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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Heavy horses can go barefoot and blossom

Just remembered a happy incident from the other day. Must have been 5th (?) trim of Big Black Boy (BBB) who is about aged 18 I think and on the large side.

Always been labelled as 'lazy' and was hard work to ride.

Well we took his Cytek shoes off, the carers worked hard to clear the thrush and managed his rehab/new work load carefully.

Now he happily hacks for an hour plus - nearly all on the road and his feet are beautiful.

But the real upside? He now walks out with such power that his carers report:
He makes our hips ache his stride is so long and powerful. And he no longer slips on the road. The trot - amazing!

Big as he is I wonder what this boy could have achieved if he'd been iron free all his life. Anyway - he is now and he is blossoming :-) makes my day. Once again great people work hard to get the best for their horse. Good on them.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Getting the whole picture

I often feel exceptionally blessed. I get to work every day with great people who are determined to put their horse's welfare first. 

The hoof below tells a familiar story, the owner was concerned that something wasn't quite right, but literally couldn't see the foot for the shoes.
Note: event lines upper hoof wall, rasped out lower hoof
wall, crumbling toe edge, dorsal wall is flat at 12 o'clock
from coronary band to floor

Note stretched white line and absence of hoof wall
at toe. Sole is flat and thin.  Hoof proportions are out
the foot has run forward.

This scenario is often seen in cases of undiagnosed laminitis in the shod horse, or perhaps where shoeing has been used to 'treat' a laminitic case, or where the horse has had laminitis in the past which had been treated and then gets it again, but the shoes mask the symptoms.

The owner of this horse couldn't see quite how extensive the damage was, because the shoes were doing a splendid job of covering it up.  So good on them for following their instincts and getting the shoes pulled.  And please send them your best wishes for a speedy recovery for this horse.

It is going to take a while to grow down a decent, healthy foot that has this much damage. In the meantime the horse can be kept comfortable with boots and pads which provide all the support and protection a damaged hoof needs, but which allow easy access for regular inspection and treatment. And when we know the foot is sufficiently comfortable the horse will be able to work in the boots and pads too.

Friday, 25 May 2012

still waiting for AA

Tbe AA being the Automobile Association by the way :-) Car has a major flat. So big question of the day. Why would an HCP put a horse in Natural Balance on one fore and an eggbar on the other? The eggbar foot was a good inch plus taller than the NB foot and the frog nowhere near the ground. Medial lateral balance off by a finger's width. Horse moved terribly and couldn't turn corners properly as well as tripping. Shoes off, no trimming and horse already going better. Text today and he is ok. Second big question why put on wraps on a hoof in such a way that the foot is in one county and the rest of the leg another. Plus the frogs have rotted through where they've been covered up. And question for myself. Why do I not get tougher with owners? If a horse needs solar protection they need it and no excuses. Wish me well!

waiting for the AA

and time to collect my thoughts.

Hooves really are a window to your horses health.  As mere humans we may not always be that savvy about interpreting the signs, but that is hardly Nature's fault.

Chunky Chap (CC) who is dearly loved and treasured by his carer who has looked for answers to his problems for a very long time.  CC had flat, desicated coconut feet with really bad cracks.
Dietary adjustments did much to resolve peripheral issues, but CC's feet were still showing signs of ill health.  Very savvy vet (I think I love you! :-) ) identified a problem with blood supply to hind gut.  Since that has been treated hooves have blossomed.  No longer pancake flat, they are now glossy, hard, fabulous.  CC is going well too.

Then there is the Ebony Princess (EP) hooves also signalling problems. The attending is more sceptical and thinks shoes will sort. Attending treats the 'secondary' issues. EP is no better and from a hoof point of view somewhat worse. Attending who really does have EP's best interest at heart, agrees to owners request for Cushings test. Despite her youth EP does have Cushings, but now the attending and owner have a chance to treat. Thank goodness owner listened to what EPs hooves were telling her. I'm sad for EP and owner, but now we have a chance to make progress. Let's see how it goes - timewise we have lost best part of a year. Learn to read your hooves - please - it isn't easy and interpretation is still in its infancy, but if you know just one thing know this. 'If the hooves aren't right than neither is the horse.' And personally - I think we owe it to our horses to find the problem, and if we can, to fix it. Covering it up or ignoring it shouldn't be an option. (And I really need to learn how to use my phone properly to post blog entries.)

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Southern England, United Kingdom