Monday, September 03, 2007

Serious mileage required

I think everyone I speak to is converging on the idea that the next stage of rehabilitation for Lutine is a serious amount of mileage, ridden or hand walking, but all done at walk. Below is a reply from an AANHCP Field Instructor that has been kind enough to discuss Lutine and her feet with me a few times before now.

So my first post was meant to be a direct answer to your query about navicular. The second was to illustrate that some horses just take a long time to come right. Many of the horses have come working sound sooner than I might have expected. This is always pleasing but the reality is it takes 8-9 months to grow a new hoof and 4 years for a hoof to fully transition.

The first year is about that new hoof, but after that, if you maintain the hoof, the walls start to build mass actually becoming thicker.

I took a moment to go back and look at the pics I have of Luntine’s feet from when we talked a year ago. The feet were poor. The wavy event lines indicating a poor history of foot care and a ‘blow out’ through the front of the walls on both feet just beneath the coronary band [in fact, these were bruises from overtightened Boa boots]. Assuming diet , exercise and trimming were brought on line we would still be looking at 9 months to grow that hoof out.

I’m aware from following your posts on the eye problems your horses have been having that you and yours have not had an easy year. I certainly hope that the situation is finally improving. However from a hoof point of view, I would assume the immune system has been under stress ( there’s a British understatement) and the effects of any drugs have all produced a situation where the horses metabolism was not optimal for good hoof growth.

I assume that your exercise regime was not optimal in this period.

I would be interested to see pics of the present hooves; Are the hoof walls consistent good quality ( no event rings or deviant toe angles) do they feel smooth to the touch or are there little underlying bumps that can be felt but not seen?

Given Lutine’s history perhaps she’s not doing so badly. I can’t remember where we got to with the pads I sent. I have found I get better results by trimming the outer edge down, so that the pad is more of a dome.

If she’s just a bit off at the trot, I’d boot up and put some serious walking miles on her.
Also all the gravel crunchers I’ve had, developed high concavity. I have come to believe that concavity is higher with higher toe angles. The toe angle come from building a good digital cushion above the frog ( this seems to jack up the P3 and the concavity follows).
So when I’m not happy with the frog/digital cushion I use boots with V pads under the frog.

Some times a horse sound on harder going at the walk but going short or footy at the trot may have weak heel cartilage. I will walk extensively with such a horse without boots and boot up for trot work/dressage.

It can get a bit despondent when the hoof doesn’t go to my schedule! Luckily Deb is usually around to remind me of where the hoof started and how far we have come . At least you're riding now, remember the trim is just the base, diet and milage are the two factors that forge a wild horse hoof.

Hope this is helping Kev

Other professional trimmers have also expressed this view. But, most importantly, this is a view that's also shared by our vet, who's seen Lutine 'in the flesh'. His comment was that she was fine for being ridden and that we were going to have to carry on with gentle, appropriately progressive, exercise and not just stop whenever we have a minor hiccup or else Lutine would simply fail to improve in the longer term.

Anyway, bearing this in mind we walked out again tonight, with Lutine in boots and pads on her front feet, and she was back to being sound in trot on the roads 'sans cavalier'. Remember when it took 5 days for her to get over the head bobbing the last time? now it took just 2 - I did say I was looking forward for when it took more 'effort' for her to start head bobbing and less time for her to get over it.

I am going to recommence riding her and concentrate on keeping her in walk and just getting her fit for regularly hacking out in walk. So we're looking for fitness to do lots of miles at a walk pace with the aim of rebuilding her musculoskeletal system and general health.


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