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ESI Q and A Forums > ESI Q and A Forum > Questions and discussions for the ESI Q and A Forum > horse is "quick" on right front which is a clubby

horse is "quick" on right front which is a clubby
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jrhammontree
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 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 10:53 pm
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My horse has narrow feet with the hi/low syndrome.  The right front is very narrow and clubby and he grows a tremendous amount of heel and is very up right.  Sometimes, most the time, he is quick on the foot which is obvious only at the walk.  I have seen times where he is not quick on it, but that is not often.  He goes in egg bar shoes.  My vet diagnosed him as having "navicular".  My questions are this:

1.  What could cause the quick step on that foot?

2.  I would like to see if we can get his hooves to widen a bit and was told the only way to achieve that is to let him go barefoot.  My vet is adamant that this is a bad idea because of his navicular changes.  (By the way, the vet  said in a scale of 1 to 5, his changes ares about a 2).   I was wondering if barefoot with easy boots to protect his hooves from wearing down would be a good idea.  Any ideas on this?

Thanks for any advice or direction you could point me.

 

Rose

Cyrus44
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 Posted: Fri Jun 1st, 2007 10:59 am
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I just wonder what you mean by quick?

I have a horse that has a very club foot as well, and I describe  his leg as sort of flicking, and having a hackney type action- but it does this  sideways.

 

I have had a massage person working on him, who Dr Deb may know. called Di Jenkins, she has done a few of Dr Deb's courses.

She gave me  an article I have followed- and asked my farrier to work  on the foot that is not clubbed.

I can dig that out for you if it would be helpful.. or Dr Deb may know of it.

As it is br Dr Kerry Ridgeway-Low heel High heel syndrome- often unrecognised problems...

Anyhow- it seems to working very well on my horse.. and the leg flick is hardly seen at all now and he is a 17 yr old horse-only this year have we adressed this issue- and he is also shod.

jrhammontree
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 Posted: Fri Jun 1st, 2007 09:48 pm
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By quick I mean when you watch him, it appears that he puts that foot down faster than the other.  His stride is also shorter on that side.  I've been told that he has uneven shoulders and that the clubby foot  side is lower and not the same size as the other.  I consulted with a "natural" barefoot farrier and he recommends I have him chiropracticed but I am so skeptical of this.  I'd be interested in any information you can send me.

 

P.S.  He is not always the same.  Some days he is more quick and others he is less.  My vet said this is typical of a horse with navicular, which is  what she diagnosed.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Sat Jun 2nd, 2007 01:03 am
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Hello Rose & Cyrus

If you are both fairly new to this forum, you may not have seen previous discussions on hi/lo syndrome, and may not be aware that the answers to both  your questions are given in full in Dr Deb's paper on crookedness.  You can access this by going back to the Home Page, then click on Knowledge Base, then click on Woody.  You will be able to read about the underlying reasons why horses develop different shaped front feet, how this causes them to have uneven stride lengths and timing, and more importantly, what you can do about it.  Any tinkering about with just the feet will not address the cause of the problem, it's only responding to a symptom - how much better to get to the real problem which is something you can fix yourselves.

If you have more questions after you have studied the Woody article, then I'm sure Dr Deb or others will be happy to help you.

Best wishes - Pauline

jrhammontree
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 Posted: Sat Jun 2nd, 2007 04:30 pm
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Thank you for your post. I will read up on Woody.

Cyrus44
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 Posted: Sat Jun 2nd, 2007 10:00 pm
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Yes thanks- I just re read woody as well.. and after the 2 day horsemanship clinic- it all makes more sense to me.

Basically- Dr Deb, and I am terrible at asking questions, as you may have discovered- but unless I ask, I never know the answer. I just spend hours trying to work it out- like you building woody, and I will build a woody too.

You are saying it is our job as rider to teach our horse straightness, as we ride him, not to rely on the farrier, chiro , massage person etc- to fix all our riding faults that appear in our horses-( this would be assuming they have feet trimmed and cared for correctly as a young horse too- ??) and when they began their working life, before we mount- they travelled straight without us on them. Then we hop on and our balance etc- changes how the horse goes- and we have to show him how to carry us with ease-

We are doing this by attempting to place ourselves in the correct timing of his feet, in some ways our feet move as his feet do and we are to learn to feel when he is crooked or wobbly- set him on a straight path again- and just feel the lightest contact with his mouth.

We also do this with his " birdie" and that birdie is also my focus with my eyes???  as to where I want to go on my horse- ( yet to read the birdie book, hopefully its on its way to me soon)

eg if I am riding straight- I need to be looking straight between his ears-  at something- eg that ball we were chasing, or an object in the distance.

I myself need to feel straight- and make sure my weight also feels even- and I keep my body parts straight and balanced as well..( as best I can with each riders shape taken into account)

Then to turn - or ride circles, I will need to adjust this to the correct circle shape ( but right now I am working on being straight)

and reprogramming many years of bad habits, which I find just creep right back in- when I least expect them to....

and for what I felt your article said, If I address the issue of straightness in my horse-  this will also help his foot- etc

So - I am also interested in where my interpretation ( of your clinic and woody article) has strayed-  so correct me when I am wrong-

 

jrhammontree
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 Posted: Wed Jun 6th, 2007 11:29 am
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Dr. Deb.  I had a chiropractor come out and see my horse.  He said his withers were out towards the right and he adjusted them.  He indicated this could definitely be causing the problem in the right front (which is growing clubby and moves in a shorter stride than the left and is "quick" to hit the ground).  Does this sound right to you?  He also adjusted his shoulders which he said the right one was lower than the left.    Any insight would be appreciated.

 

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jun 7th, 2007 08:34 am
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Dear J.R.: Pauline suggested to you earlier in this thread that you might benefit from reading the "Woody" paper posted at this Website under "Knowledge Base". Just go back to the Home Page and then click on the Knowledge Base button, and then click on "Woody". You will find that if indeed you have not previously looked at this information, that it will give you some good pointers as to what your horse's problems are and how you can solve them.

To answer your immediate question: yes, if a horse is in the habit of leaning, there's no question but what a competent chiropractor is going to be able to detect the effects that this has in the horse's body.

Most chiropractors, however, like most veterinarians, are not aware of "Woody" and they therefore do not conceive of the array of symptoms or signs that the horse presents as all having a single source. This is what the "Woody" paper explains.

It also explains that you have two choices here, J.R. Either you can continue to live with the high/low foot thing and the resultant "quickness" on the one foot (or short-stridedness on that side, or the horse feeling/looking like it has a "flat tire", or "stepping long and short", or that he is "off" -- all these terms are descriptions of the same thing). If you take this route, you will either do nothing about it, as many people do, and then justify it by saying "that's just the way that horse is." Or maybe you will continue to try to do something about it, as you recently have, by calling a chiro or a vet, and in that case, if that's all you do, you become 100% dependent upon the chiro or the vet or the massage practitioner or whoever you call, to make whatever improvements can be made in the horse.

The other route is for you to do something about it yourself. And what is so great about this is that you as the rider and handler are the ONLY one who can make any great difference in this type of problem, anyway. What the "Woody" paper explains is that you can learn not only what habitual postural crookedness is (this is what is causing your horse's problems), but you can ALSO learn how to cause him to carry himself and you straight. When he goes straight, he will not step long and short; and over the long haul (6 wks. to 6 years), his feet will even out, too.

So, J.R., after you study "Woody" and think about that a little bit, and questions come up in your mind, then please write back here and we'll take it to the next place.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Val
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 Posted: Thu Jun 7th, 2007 03:24 pm
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Having read the Woody paper many times, I think your description of leaning and crookedness there is extremely clear.  However, I'd like to add that that it wasn't til I listened to you explain it on your second set of Dialogs in Horsemanship that the whole concept came together in my mind in a cohesive way.  I feel inspired to go out and experiment and observe at this point. Before, I felt overwhelmed by a lot of apparently disparate bits of information that I couldn't use or apply. 

Thank you for your good work, Dr. Deb. 

jrhammontree
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 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2007 02:37 pm
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Can anyone explain why my horse's "quick" right front leg is mostly at the walk.  At the trot and canter, his legs move almost normal.  But at the walk, it is the most evident that there's an imbalance?  Some days he is just a little short and others it's like he's in a marching band really slamming down the right front and striding a lot shorter than the left.  I never really seen anything significant at the trot or canter.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2007 06:21 pm
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Your horse may carry himself better at the higher-energy gaits, J.R. In other words, he may use his back, neck, and haunches better at those gaits, thus doing more of the work, and giving a more even push, from the two hind limbs. At the walk, he has the opportunity to "sag" -- one form of travelling crooked, which is, as I mentioned to you earlier in this thread, the basic problem that is causing all of the rest of your problems.

You have not confirmed to me that you have read and studied the "Woody" paper that's posted in "Knowledge Base" at this website, or I don't recall that you have said you had. Have you looked at it? What meaning did what it says there have for you?

Once you get into dialogue on that subject with me, J.R., we can go on from that understanding to helping you with specific techniques that will make the long-short stepping, at whatever gait (but especially at the walk) go away.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

J W
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 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2007 10:44 pm
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Hi Dr. Deb

I too have a horse with that had an upright foot. With your help in another post with this horse (tripping and falling in the canter) and the help of Woody, I have been working to straighten him with quite a bit of success, as well as the support of a chiropractor. His feet are evening out, his gait is smooth and even, he picks up both canter leads beautifully and is just as smooth in both directions especially when I follow my birdie. 

However,  I would like to ask is about club foot. I had him xrayed when I bought him to confirm it.  This horse eats off the ground with his right foot back, wither low stance. Always has. He's just six, bought him when he was four. I am feeding him in a manger to help the time he stands correctly, but he is out on grass now. He also is back at the knee on this leg, which concerns me greatly for soundness over time.

What would your recommendations be in maintaining this horse over his lifetime?

Thank you, JW 

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Mon Jun 25th, 2007 05:32 am
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Hello JW  -  If your horse is consistently choosing to eat from the ground in a posture like a foal, where one foreleg is strongly retracted to allow for a lowering of the withers, then there are a couple of things you might like to check:

1)  Can this horse easily take a treat from your hand at ground level right in front of his toes, while his two front feet are level?

2)  How does your horse habitually stand when he's having a snooze in the paddock?  Does he mostly stand completely square on all four feet, even if one hind foot is resting on it's toe?

Unless your horse has an abnormally short neck in comparison to his height, he should be able to reach his nose to the ground without having to spread his front legs.  Young horses do this because their necks do not reach full length until some time after their legs have finished growing, but a six-yr old should be mature enough to be able to reach the ground comfortably. 

Grazing horses will usually eat with all legs spread at least a little, as they slowly move along, eating as they go, so watching a grazing horse is of little value in this respect.  Observing how they choose to stand when eating from a container on the ground can tell you a lot more.  The most common reason for mature horses to eat with one foreleg retracted is that their back muscles are tight/contracted, which does not allow their necks to stretch down to the ground when they are standing square.  Spreading the front legs lowers the front part of the body closer to the ground so the horse can get to the feed.  I once knew of a racehorse who was kept for a long time in stables with no turnout.  When he eventually left racing and found himself in a grass paddock, the only way he could graze was to kneel down like a goat.  Although this is an extreme example, it is indicative of what can happen when back muscles become tight.

If your horse can stretch down to the ground easily, it is likely his back muscles are just fine, being able to stretch to their conformational limits.  If he can't do this, then we need to work out why.  If  your horse mostly chooses to snooze with his feet spread apart, then you may need to confer with your farrier and look at hoof balance, particularly medio-lateral balance.

I take it that the right-front is the clubby foot?  Have you re-xrayed since all the improvements from your good work in straightening him?  You may find there is now little or no difference in the positioning of the bone within the hoof.

Best wishes - Pauline

 

jrhammontree
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 Posted: Mon Jun 25th, 2007 06:10 pm
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Yes, I have been studing the Woody paper as well as your audio CD's.  One question that comes to mind is when you describe straightening the horse.  You said that if the horse is leaning similar to a  leg yeild towards the right, he would be  leaning on the right front and the left hind would be under him but isn't it really out to the left and the right hind under him?   In a true leg yeild, doesn't the horse's shoulders lead slightly right, therefore  the left hind would be more out to the left?  I hope this isn't a stupid question.

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Jun 25th, 2007 07:07 pm
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Ain't no such thing, J.R., as a stupid question. The only "stupid" question is the one that doesn't get asked.

The problem you're having in visualizing this is one that a lot of folks have. The problem is that you're VISUALIZING. So stop trying to do that, and just go out and TRY it. Try it first on the ground: get the horse moving at a nice walk on a longe line, and then increase the amount of "energy" you're sending toward him. Aim your energy at the point on his ribcage where your leg would be, or perhaps toward his shoulder or the base of his neck. Somewhere in this range, the horse will respond by fading outward, away from you, moving forward-and-obliquely. This is a leg-yield (I am not too sure what you mean by a "true" leg yield; there are many forms of leg-yielding, and there is no such thing as an "incorrect" movement. They're all just movements, and they're all available for you and your horse to try. So don't try to be "correct" either; just go and experiment or play, as I have explained above).

Once you're clear as to what this action LOOKS like, because when you do it on the longe line you can easily see how it is when the horse does it -- then you can hop up in the saddle and try it from there. Again, you get him moving nicely at a walk on a lefthand circle, then lightly tap him with your left leg in time with his steps. You look UP and OUT over his right ear -- beware not to look down and in over his left shoulder -- you look where you're intending to go, not where you've already been. You be sure not to be restricting him with anything you're doing with your right hand. Your left rein should also not be doing too much; just a little bit to cause him to turn his head slightly to the left, and even this might only be needed initially. You go four or five forward-and-oblique steps, then straighten out and go twenty steps straight. Then bend him the other way and go another four or five forward-and-oblique. This is leg-yielding in the pattern of a zigzag.

Another real good way to leg yield from the saddle is to ride your lefthand circle at a walk, and simply use the forward-and-oblique "travel" of the leg-yield to cause the diameter of the circle to expand. So you start on a circle that's 10M diameter -- fairly small -- and expand it to one that's 20M -- fairly big. Then take your horse off of the circle, reverse, create a new circle of 10M that's to the right, and then expand that one from 10M to 20M. This is called "leg yielding on the circle" or "leg yielding expanding the circle." It's probably the single easiest exercise in the whole repertory.

You will find as you do these simple exercises how your horse rearranges the parts of his body to accomplish them. As he rearranges his bodyparts, you will feel his weight shift as I have described in the "Woody" paper. A rider should NEVER go about this backwards -- as so many people do -- what they are doing is trying to get the weight to shift FIRST. In other words, they think THEY have to push or shift the horse's weight around. No indeed: the weight shift is a side effect of the rearrangement of the bodyparts. You "rearrange your bodyparts" every time you go from standing still to taking a step to walk forward. So in like manner does your horse. And just as the way you use your body and legs would differ depending whether you were going to step forward vs. step obliquely, so it will also in your horse.

You are certainly supposed to ask the horse to rearrange his body parts -- you are supposed to ask him to take steps. And some of those steps will be forward, some oblique, some backward, some on straight lines, some on curved lines. You go right ahead and ask for these things, but you let the HORSE SHOW YOU where the weight goes. You don't try directly to influence the weight.

Write back again if you will, after you have gone and done some of these things, and let us know how it all worked out. Best wishes -- Dr. Deb


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