Monday, 11 December 2017

We're a little late to the party...

 ...but catching up fast with an inch or so of snow this morning...
Of course the joy of having horses barefoot is that they are just as sure-footed as normal on the snow so we had a good morning out exercising in sparkling, crisp conditions.

Who knows whether we will get more snow this winter but it made a spectacular and welcome change from the rain and gales we had yesterday! 


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Performance Hoof Workshops for 2018

I know its a while till the New Year but it will be upon us pretty soon and now that "Performance Hoof" is finally out there I was wondering if there would be any interest in me running some hoof workshops in the New Year?

I have a lot of people emailing me wanting advice on specific horses and in all honesty its not possible to give sensible advice from a photo or even a video but a workshop with real horses and real owners would be a totally different matter.

The idea would be to look at both the environment as a whole and at the individual horses and try to come up with some tailor-made ways of improving hoof health and performance.

We could film horses moving, as I do here, and assess how they are landing and loading their feet and what could be improved or strengthened. Looking at nutrition is always a vial part of any hoof health programme so that would be another important area to look at, along with what sorts of ridden and in-hand exercise might be most beneficial for the horse.

I'd be happy to travel and run workshops (probably for a whole day) at people's own yards as long as there were enough people interested and enough horses to give us some variety. 

If you are interested in setting up a workshop for 2018 then do email me nic@rockleyfarm.co.uk with  details of where you are and numbers of horses/owners and lets see what we can do!


Monday, 4 December 2017

Three quarters of the way there...

Its been a good weekend for three of the four horses we have here for rehab at the moment, as three of them are now landing heel first.  

They all arrived landing toe first, at least on their lamest legs, so this is a good achievement and importantly means that they are now able to graduate to working on tougher surfaces.

This is a big help as more mileage and harder surfaces means more stimulation for the feet which means more healing and faster growth, all of which are important if horses are to go home after 12 weeks back in proper work.

However one of the four is still landing toe first. She had particularly weak feet and under-developed palmar hooves so we are all hoping that a bit of extra time will help her get the landing she needs.

Clips of the changes in landing are here: https://vimeo.com/245723921 and https://vimeo.com/245722846


Saturday, 2 December 2017

Dolly's 4 week update



These are Dolly's 4 week comparison photos and frustratingly she has not really made as much progress as I would have hoped. There are some improvements to her frog but it has not been sufficient to enable her to land better and she is still toe first on a hard surface. 
You can see from this angle that there are signs of her digital cushion and palmar hoof developing but the problem is that without a heel first landing she cannot work on surfaces like roads safely and this will slow her progress quite significantly. 
Slightly less under-run heels but this is again not enough to make a good landing comfortable for her.  
She certainly arrived with an incredibly poorly developed heels and frogs and they are stronger than they were but she is very far from having a healthy hoof. 

Friday, 24 November 2017

Tabby's first fortnight


Finally we get to the last of the new rehab horses, Tabby. She arrived the same day as the other horses and was the only one to arrive in shoes. As is usually the case, the remedial shoes which were intended to provide support were not in fact,  as supportive as her feet are on their own.
Its also difficult for feet to remain balanced in shoes, as this photo shows clearly, since her foot has better balance once out of shoes and the lateral side is already less distorted.
 There are 3 photos here as the middle one shows her feet immediately out of shoes, since the pads were completely masking her frogs in shoes. Her toe looks a little long but that is old hoof capsule will quickly grow out as her palmar hoof becomes stronger.
 Again, a foot which is in fact less under-run and more supported out of shoes.
The foot is also regaining a more normal shape which is great to see.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Dolly's first fortnight

On to photos of Dolly and at last the sun has come out again which has made everything so much easier, even if its still absolutely saturated underfoot! Dolly had cosmetically the worst feet when she arrived a couple of weeks ago but she was far from the lamest horse here.
Her palmar hoof was very under-developed but is beginning to be more balanced, an encouraging sign.
Although her frog looks narrower now its actually healthier with the split gone. Her heels are of course very contracted but are moving back so her foot is now more supportive than it was. 
This foot more clearly shows the improvement in her palmar hoof which is less under-run and more upright.
 
This foot has a central sulcus split which is healing but which will take time. Frog stimulus will play an essential role in helping this to resolve.
 A weedy foot, there is no doubt, and she is still landing toe first but its very early days and she is showing some signs of improvement.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Brandy's first fortnight

I've only been able to get a partial selection of Brandy's comparison photos because the weather has been so gloomy for the last couple of days. I will try to take new comparison shots later today and post the remaining photos then. 
As usual, the top photo is from the day he arrived and the lower photo is yesterday. The biggest change is in his frog and the placement of his heels which is exactly what we are wanting to see at this point. 
He was landing worse on this foot when he arrived and he still has a toe first landing today but that is not uncommon at this stage as horses would normally only manage to change from toe first to heel first within 2 weeks if they have better-than-normal palmar hooves.  
The toe on his right foot is also shortening and his frog and heels loading better but he already had a better landing on this foot when he arrived. 

I'll update the rest of his photos as soon as I can. 

Edited to add his missing photos: