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DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Nov 1st, 2014 09:06 am
Juliet, my apologies for not having been able to get back to you sooner. I am in the midst of having what my office assistant Wendy calls "having a book-ectomy" -- actually in this case it's a research-paper-ectomy. Seven years of work on 2,000 year old dog bones about to come to fruition, and of course there are a million details to take care of, i.e. checking bibliography references, double-checking all the tables of measurements, final corrections and labels on figures, and so forth. It's exciting and fun but a lot of time-consuming work, too.

 But, this hallowe'en evening I've managed to corral a little time and so we can discuss what you've recently posted. First off to say that I was grateful to Julie because she filled in for me a couple of days ago with some good advice -- subtle advice. It is just as well, I think, when the subtlety is such that you really have to chew it over and think it through.

Now, for some reason my screen isn’t reproducing the first photo that you posted the other day -- maybe it’s just coming up real slow. Nonetheless I remember it well enough to say two things about it. One, it shows the horse with its neck breaking at the wrong place. This has probably been a factor with this horse actually right from the day you bought her, but did not come to be observable really until you started to learn how to use your hands properly, which means that there will be moments of real firmness and that you are not to be afraid of having those moments. I well remember when I was afraid of them; my dressage instructor kept telling me, “you have to ‘take contact’.” Unfortunately her idea of what constitutes “contact” was all wrong, and it was not until I began riding with Ray – and IMITATING the way he sat, the way he held his arms, the way he held the reins, and most important of all, when to hold, waiting at the same pressure, vs. when to release. What this all adds up to is that you must not pull. “Pulling” means exerting even the eensiest, teensiest bit of backward traction upon the reins, so that the energy flowing within the reins goes from the horse’s mouth toward you. This must never be the case. The energy in the reins can be still, like a deep, still pool; or it can be flowing from you to the horse.

 

We need to note here that the horse gets the habit of breaking its neck because it has a brace around the poll joint. This is what Julie is telling you, Juliet, when she suggests twirling the head before even stepping off. You have to get that brace out of there before you can do much else. If you wanted a (totally tongue-in-cheek, of course) protocol for breaking a horse’s neck, you would follow these steps: (1) Take ahold of the reins too fast and with too much firmness, so that you put the horse on the defensive right from the first moment; (2) Pull back slowly but continuously and wait for the horse to reply to this by clamping his jaw and lips and prying down and forward against your hand; (3) When that feel is there, then gradually exert more and more backward traction, until you pull the nose into a vertical position. You see, if the horse has braced its poll, the poll joint will be locked, and therefore to get the nose into the vertical orientation, the flexion will not be able to occur at the poll joint. It will have to occur somewhere else, and that place will be the joint between the 2nd and 3rd neck vertebrae, just as we see in the photo of your mare.

 

Now, Juliet, you are not to get discouraged about this because a horse that has been TAUGHT THIS EARLY ON will continue to offer it even when the current owner/rider is doing their best not to follow the above protocol. And by the way, that would be 85% of all the horses you’ll ever buy “used”. The horse will do it almost no matter how you try to use your hands. You can be as delicate and as feeling and as caring as you like, and the horse will still do it. So I am telling you this again, that I told you when you came out and we discussed this with Ollie – “fixing” a broken neck is one of the most difficult of all horsemanship projects. You will either need to be an expert to accomplish it, or you will need to become an expert.

 

The key to being able to fix it is the coordination of the leg and the hand. Your leg has got to be there, and that’s the second thing I remember about the photo: you are now sitting way too much on your crotch. Relax, kiddo: slouch, please. Particularly important is to get your lower back flat. You will have to tell yourself over and over to monitor the muscles in the small of your back, to see that they are not tense; and when they (almost inevitably) are, then you have to be able to tell them to let go, relax, soften up. One thing that will help you will also to be to monitor the muscles in your buttcheeks – they must be absolutely flaccid, totally floppy, altogether turned “off”, all the time. When your buttcheeks are totally relaxed, only then can your lower back also start to let go.

 

Because you aren’t sitting right, your leg can’t work right either. The way a person’s legs should feel against the horse’s barrel is (as Reiner Klimke used to say) “like a wet gym towel thrown up against a tile wall”: i.e. it sticks of its own accord, without any type of effort to grip. I sometimes say “like an old pair of chaps hanging off a peg.”

 

There is also an ‘orientation feel’ in the leg that needs to be there. You should feel like your horse is a triangle, like you’re sitting on a triangle – bigger in front and diminishing to the rear. Sit a little BACK into this triangle and imagine that the horse has a magnificently wide chest. He’s very WIDE in front and he’s also GOING UPHILL all the time. So the triangle is triangular both side to side and vertically. This is what it means “to have the horse in front of the leg.” The opposite feel will cause you to tilt forward, look down, and have your legs swinging to the back all the time. To have your horse behind your leg is a “diminishing, shrivelling” feel. To have your horse in front of your leg is an expanding feel, all the way.

 

Now, when your back and your legs are working right, then you can coordinate the effect of your leg with your hand. How you do this is you use your legs to ‘inflate’ your horse. You touch him with your leg – you caress him with your legs – it is a soft, warm feel. You communicate to him that you expect him to balance himself in such a manner that you get that sensation that you’re going uphill all the time. You SIT AS IF YOU EXPECT THIS TO HAPPEN AS A MATTER ‘OF COURSE’. If you sit right, the horse will at least try to rise to your expectations; he can feel the way you want him to position and balance himself. But, beyond getting that ‘triangular’ feeling, you’re also telling him to coil his loins and raise the part of his back that is directly beneath your seat. ‘Inflation’ also causes him to want to raise the base of his neck.

 

When he rounds his back and makes an effort to raise the base of the neck, the rest of his neck will inflate, too – like somebody blowing up one of those long circus balloons that the clown makes animals out of. The horse’s neck inflates from the base going forward. This will obviously cause the horse’s head, and therefore its mouth and the corners of its lips where your bit plays, to move forward. So when you inflate him, you are EXPECTING this with your hands and you obviously would do nothing to block it, i.e. you expect that HE WILL CARRY YOUR HANDS FORWARD.

 

The other thing that inflating the neck does is blow that kink right out of the wrong joint. It blows the neck into its proper anatomical alignment, and it actually makes it a little more difficult for the horse to kink or break his neck at that favorite spot.

 

Now, when he inflates, that moment is a good time to twirl. Remember that twirling happens ANY TIME you turn. So if you’re standing still then you do what we might call a ‘formal twirl’. But if you’re moving, then you use your inside rein and you tell him to turn. Not too sharp; that will just knock him off balance. A good exercise here is ‘snake trail’, i.e. what in English riding is called a ‘shallow serpentine.’ Go at a fairly slow trot, and play around with deeper and shallower cuts, and more vs. fewer cuts built into the length of the arena. Notice that there will be one side that never seems as good as the other. Once you find out which that is, then take it into some 10 or 15-m WALK circles, then once it starts feeling a little freer, go to 15-m trot circles and/or figures of 8.

 

This brings me to the last thing – Juliet, you’re still in too much of a hurry, and you’re still hustling your horse. Notice that in the second photo that she is going crooked as she trots on the circle there. She is NOT CURRENTLY CAPABLE of trotting with that much vigor on that small of a circle; to please you, she tries, but she has to ‘handle the demand’ by offsetting her hindquarters to the left, which is what makes the right hind fall to the left of the right fore. SLOW DOWN. Much better to do like Mike Shaffer with this horse and do some head-twirling, followed by some leg-yielding in hand, then mount and do the same under saddle. It does absolutely no good to practice, or to cause the horse to practice, the wrong things.

 

You have had the opportunity to ride Ollie, and so you know what it feels like to have a horse inflated underneath you. Ollie inflates for anybody, just as soon as asked. He feels much bigger underneath you, as you will recall, than he actually is. Nobody ever thinks of the Spanish Riding School’s Lipizzans as ‘small’ either, when they view them on show, even though most of them are not even 15 hands high. Any horse that moves correctly looks and feels big and powerful, high and grand in front, broad through the chest, and strong yet flexible through the hindquarters.

 

I certainly am glad that you got so much out of going to see Buck. This stuff takes time to learn and the questions you ask about when to hold or wait at the same pressure vs. when to give or when to make some other change stem from only one thing, and that is inexperience. Inexperience is overcome by not giving up, by keeping on trying, but also by being willing to be creative. This is a lifetime thing that is between your mare and you. I encourage you to play around with your seat, your balance, and her flexibility and balance. Never be afraid to try something, so long as it seems sensible; you cannot make a mistake, and you’re highly unlikely to hurt the horse.

 

As to the toe-first striking, it is evident from the photos that although your farrier is backing the heels up properly, he is not, like most of them, taking enough toe. If you keep backing the heels up and you don’t take enough toe, you will eventually make the coffin bone go negative-plane. As the horse approaches negative-plane, the forefeet will become more and more U-shaped, and the horse will be more and more ouchy, grumpy, and eventually lame. I’d advise you to go get a consult with your vet and possibly a set of reference X-rays – a good farrier will find looking at those very helpful. You need to maintain the angle, i.e. shorten the toe so that you raise the angle.

 

Second, examine the thickness of the digital cushions. Do this by pinching the DC where it is exposed at the back of the hoof, between the bulbs of heel, between thumb and forefinger (lightly). Look up our previous threads with Pauline Moore talking about and posting pictures of DC examination. If your horse’s DC’s are thin, you may need to do some re-educating as Pauline instructs, by using foam pads and well-fitting hoof boots. Sometimes even when the feet are in perfect balance, if the horse has been toe-striking for a long time because his DC’s are thin and ouchy, he’ll be in the habit of doing that and it’s a whole movement pattern. I have seen several horses treated with boots and pads who were able to break the habit and of course, that reciprocates on the neck and back and haunches. It works both ways: your way of riding does influence the feet; but the feet also influence what is possible to accomplish through riding.

 

Let us know sooner next time, if you will, how things seem to be going. When you do finally get all the little things that it takes going right, your horse will make some big changes I am sure. Cheers – Dr. Deb

JulietMacie
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Posted: Sat Nov 1st, 2014 05:48 pm
Thank you Jeannie and Thank you Dr. Deb. I'm off to the barn now but will be back in touch soon. Grateful as always for the help!

cheers,
Juliet
JulietMacie
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Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 07:17 pm
here's one of the pictures that disappeared from my earlier post.

Attachment: backing-oct2014.jpg


JulietMacie
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Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 07:18 pm
and here's another...

Attachment: turning-right-oct2014.jpg


JulietMacie
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Posted: Tue Nov 25th, 2014 10:43 pm
Hello Dr. Deb,
A lot has been going on in the past few weeks and I’ve been trying to sort it all out and get a little clarity before reporting. In an effort to eliminate health-related causes of toe-striking I had the vet check her feet; he found no pain or tenderness in her feet but agreed that her front heels looked contracted and said that I should be careful to clean out all the deep grooves daily to avoid thrush. Then I had a chiropractor see her; he reported that she was tight and stiff in her right sacroiliac joint and also in her jaw and did some adjustments. Two days after the chiropractor’s visit, I could see a definite difference in her movement while she trotted at liberty in the arena. Her front legs not only swung further: a noticeable increase in the range or arc of motion, and her overall posture seemed more upright or uphill; she also seemed to be flexing her joints more deeply--less stiff looking overall. Interestingly though this didn’t seem to really last and now she appears to pretty much be moving as before...maybe a little looser and less stiff, but not as marked as that day. I’ve also been experimenting with hoof boots with pads in them but am still working on getting the right size/fit so the jury's out on this front.

For my part, I’ve been trying to sit on my whole butt and fill out (flatten) my lower back. Now that I’m aware of this, I’ve noticed the same posture in all my activities, the slightly arched, tight lower back and clenched butt: while working at the computer, standing at the sink doing dishes, walking, etc. I’ve tried to keep my eye on this and relax but it’s a very hard habit to break and one that seems to require my abs to do more so my back can do less. When riding I’ve tried to keep butt and back relaxed and let my legs hang. It feels better and more settled to me but I’m not sure how it affects the movement or the posture of my horse.

We’re still practicing the head twirling. I believe it’s getting quite consistent and good at a stand still, okay at the walk, still pretty bad but not impossible at the trot--just rare. I hate to admit this, but I’m really still working on understanding holding vs. pulling. I’ve stopped consciously pulling but it seems to me that when two beings are in constant motion connected by two pieces of leather it’s very hard to never exert any backward traction on the reins. So, I still have more to learn about this aspect of your last lesson. Today, though perhaps I had an insight on this front. I tried to hold my hands in a relaxed but consistent relationship to her face so that when she leaned forward, the reins were taut and she was heavy to me, but when she picked up her head and felt more centered underneath me (for lack of a better description) the reins became loose. I’m not sure she felt inflated, but she did feel more, as I said, underneath me.

As for inflating, I think this has happened two or three times. These are fleeting moments but they feel very lovely and inspiring. The downside is that I’m not at all confident that I’m the cause of these moments! These moments have happened when my horse has some extra energy and impulsion: a day when the wind was gusting against the walls of the arena or an unfamiliar horse was in the arena with us. Does this mean that typically I’m not asking for enough energy output from her?

One other question: my mare is really reluctant to back up. I ask and I wait at steady pressure and when she slightly shifts her weight back, I release. However, it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier or more immediate--I still ask and then wait...suggestions or interpretation?

thanks as always,
Juliet
DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Nov 26th, 2014 07:33 am
Juliet -- The reason I asked you to post the two photos just above is that they are MUCH better than any posted before. You need to be aware of what you are doing right as much as of what you need to change.

The photo showing the forward walk-and-bend shows a bend passing through the horse's entire body, from nose to tail. It shows the horse stepping u nder the body-shadow with the inside hind foot. It shows a nice expression about the ears, nostrils, eyes, mouth, and tail. This is what good, correct walk work looks like.

The photo showing you asking her to back up shows the horse and you together on draping reins. The mare is in the act of organizing to pick up one of the hind feet. She is raising the base of her neck and flexing through the loins so her butt tucks and her back rises. This is what that should look like.

The revelation you report -- quote -- "I tried to hold my hands in a relaxed but consistent relationship to her face so that when she leaned forward, the reins were taut and she was heavy to me, but when she picked up her head and felt more centered underneath me (for lack of a better description) the reins became loose" -- is a good description of the correct technique. You fix it up and wait. You fix it up and let HER find it. You wait at the same pressure until the horse gets her body organized underneath you to be able to pick up whichever foot you're asking her to pick up. This is what it means to control the feet.

If the mare feels like she "gets stuck" trying to step back, remember that you're asking for one step, then one step, then one step. You are not at any time trying to "go" anywhere, either when moving in a forward direction or in a backward direction. You are simply fixing it up so that it would be as easy as possible for her to get her own body organized underneath you, to pick up whichever foot it would be necessary for her to pick up.

Many times, horses that are stiff through the hindquarters -- and your chiro. was of good help to you here in identifying that -- will also be stiff through the neck and/or poll and jaws. The two work together, so that if the one is stiff the other will be, too. This is why we twirl the head: not just to get the head 'loose', but to get the lower back loose so that the butt can tuck and also swing or orient obliquely to the sides for bends and lateral work.

When a horse has been stiff, they will often be reluctant to back up. This is because the action of backing to a degree stretches the hamstring muscles that lie along the backs of the thighs, and it stretches the Achilles tendons which those muscles tie into below. In order to avoid the full degree of stretch, the horse may lean back too much before it picks up the hind foot. This is where for the rider to not pull at all is very important; if you pull, especially if you pull equally with both reins, what is liable to happen is the horse will not pick up either hind foot, but will instead lean backwards so that its big heavy butt gets over or even behind its hocks. When that happens, we say the butt 'traps' the hind legs. There are two easy ways out of this for the horse: one would be to try to lean forward to get the weight off its hind legs, and the other will be to rear. You definitely do not want that, so what you do the next time that she feels stuck is you walk forward and try again.

When you try again, just TOUCH the tongue and wait. You convey through that touch that her front knees are not to be bent -- and that is ALL you tell her, that she can't move her FRONT legs forward, you're going to block that. You then add enough in the way of wiggling your feet in the stirrups or tapping with the calf of your leg that she knows she will have to move SOMEPLACE, but you absolutely disallow her to pick up the front knees. If she leans forward, I don't care if it is 500 lbs., you meet that -- but you do not pull into it.

The usual response is for the horse to squirrel around -- she will maybe throw her head up and down, crank it to the side, or else she'll swing her butt way over to left or right. All of this is just fine. You wait it out, but you still sit there and tell her, you can't move your front legs forward, you can't pick your knees up. Finally, she will make an attempt to pick up one or the other hind feet WITHOUT leaning her body backwards on her legs. When she discovers this, that is when you drop the reins, pet her bigtime, and then walk forward with the reins laid upon her neck.

You see what I am describing here is the same as the revelation that you had. There is a vast difference between pulling and blocking. The horse will get 'trapped' when backing up when the rider pulls.

Now, here is the further revelation, and it is another reason and a bigger revelation as to why we practice backing one step at a time. The revelation is, that there is zero difference in going backwards and in going forwards. For when you drive the horse forward, what is liable to happen is that the horse will lean FORWARD on its legs -- and this is when it stiffens its neck so as to lean on your hands, because it is moving out of balance. This is 'dynamic imbalance', and it traps the FRONT legs just the same as moving backward in 'dynamic imbalance' traps the hind legs.

What you want instead is that the horse should PICK UP the forefoot that is necessary. The forefoot is to be picked up, while all of the 'forward' energy comes from the push from the hindquarters. There is a vast difference between the horse continuously falling forward and depending upon continuous backward traction in the reins in order to maintain its balance, vs. moving correctly in EITHER a forward or backward direction.

Thus you should be working on getting enough feel of the feet that you can begin producing Spanish Walk-type steps. The horse should pick up the one front foot as you remember Ollie doing, whenever you ask. Then he should pick up the other front foot -- one and one and one and one and one. This is moving forward literally exactly like moving backward.

When the energy level comes up, i.e. there's a little excitement in the horse -- not panic or fear or any bad type of tension, but just a bit more than usual life -- then what that does is add to the horse's 'bounce'. This is what we want -- longer period of suspension in trot without increase in speed; and a kind of bounciness or 'greater swing' even in the walk. This is where the true student must divest herself of all the habitual phraseology that one hears from dressage instructors: you must NOT 'go more forward'! What you need to do is go more UP.

More UP cannot happen unless there is more DOWN, i.e., when the basketball player jumps up, he does that by first bending his knees -- in other words, his joints must not be stiff but rather bendable -- and then he pushes DOWN so that the equal and opposite reaction is for his body to spring UP. His feet, in short, must press DOWN against the ground for any upward flight or 'suspension' of the whole body to occur.

This is why you ask your horse not to speed up at the trot and canter but rather to slow down. You should always be working to see, like a game you play between you, how slow your horse can go and still maintain lively energy and elastic bounce. So you set her up into a trot and then you bend to the right, to the left, to the right, to the left through every figure and combination of figures you can think of. You find the diameter of bend that helps her the most and then ride that. You transition trot-walk-trot many times during any given ride and you play with her, to see how little it might take to get the hind feet to stop. You transition trot-walk-halt-back many times without pulling. You transition back-walk-trot to see how little leg you'll have to use, and how promptly, she can go from backup to trot.

And when you do this, you keep your lower back full and soft because that's how her lower back needs to be. You keep your buttcheeks totally relaxed so that your lower back can work correctly and so that your legs can hang down softly around her, which gives you the ability to touch her very softly and yet in a way that she cannot ignore.

I am pleased to see that you're making great progress. Your horse is better and your thinking is now in much better directions. I encourage you to work on the transitions and to make your rides as varied and interesting as possible. Keep arena sessions short, because (I assure you) work like this is very demanding -- far more demanding of the horse than all that the rough and crude and abrupt and unfeeling rider whom you may see shoving her horse forward all the time. I have to chuckle when I hear people say 'yeah but Dr. Deb never works Ollie very hard.' Oh really? Why then is his back double and his butt covered with muscle? I can work a horse harder in forty minutes -- and I regularly do -- than most people can manage in three hours.

So you meter what you do, because the way we ride in this school, we are asking more in the way of transitions than you generally would see, and transitions are the most physically demanding and developing of all maneuvers. After warming up at a walk, I will typically pick a figure and ride it through twice (whether at walk or trot), then transition to walk if I'm not already in the walk, drop the reins on the neck, pet the horse, and walk forward. Then I stay in a vigorous, lively walk for as long as it took me to ride through the figure once; sometimes longer. Then I pick up the reins again, ask for some kind of flexion, transition to trot, get the horse on a figure, and again ride it through once or twice only, then rest again. When doing transitions it is the same: I might walk-trot-flex/figure left - straighten - walk - halt - walk - trot - flex/figure right - straighten - walk - halt and then drop reins and pet, then walk forward.

The number of transitions that you can pack into forty to sixty minutes in the arena is an exact measure of the training/development value of your time in the arena.

The other thing I will add before signing off, is that it is now time for you to have built a drum (see threads in this Forum -- many designs and blueprints), and to be working on learning how to teach the horse to step up on the drum with you helping her from the ground. This will teach you more about body balance, not leaning forward or backwards while being able to pick up one foot at a time, than any other exercise. It will greatly clarify what you're to be doing under saddle, and it will feed directly into the horse's ability to achieve the correct 'upwards' dynamic balance. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

darlinglil from a new phone
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Posted: Thu Nov 27th, 2014 05:59 am
On toe first landing, check out the Rockley Farm blog. It is a rehab farm in Exmoor. They post numerous photos and videos of toe first landings. It is a delight to see, and they share how they achieve the improvements. Darlinglil from a new phone.
JulietMacie
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Posted: Thu Nov 27th, 2014 04:51 pm
Dr. Deb,

thank you for the very encouraging post--I've been feeling great about it ever since reading it! I'll keep working and report back soon, but in the meantime, here's a photo of Macie on the drum my husband built for me for my birthday last June. It took her about 30 seconds to get right up there!

Also, DarlinLil, thanks for the suggestion, I'll check it out.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Juliet

Attachment: mace_on_drum.jpg


JulietMacie
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Posted: Sun Jan 11th, 2015 03:09 pm
Things are going quite well for us here. I feel like I'm FINALLY really getting it. Not that there isn't endless room for improvement and so much to learn, but I finally, after working and learning for two years, feel like I'm beginning to understand what needs to be happening underneath me and how I might go about making it possible. It's so interesting to me that as my confidence and knowledge increase, my horse's confidence in me and willingness increase. I guess this makes perfect sense and looking back, it also makes perfect sense that when I was so ignorant and ineffectual, my horse was expressing her distrust and disrespect of me (she's the type that doesn't suffer fools gladly!) Finding my current instructor and this forum are what made this all possible.

So, here's the ironic part. Way back when I first started this thread, the issue that got me here was toe-first striking and I think this is still happening. Should I send a new set of pictures? (if so, what would be the best to show? trot at liberty? trot under saddle? walking?) After reading some of the posts on the blog from Rockley Farm that DarlinLil suggested, I'm concerned that if my mare continues to move like this it's going to result in damage to her feet and legs. I also see that her front feet are, over the past several months, narrowing and contracting some at the heel and that her sulcus is quite deep (3/4" in some places). Farrier and Vet say they see no thrush, instructor says she thinks it IS thrush so I've been treating her for the past few weeks. Anyway, this toe-first striking is my only remaining area of worry and confusion. Any tips?

thank you as always! and happy new year!
--Juliet
DrDeb
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Posted: Sun Jan 11th, 2015 03:47 pm
Juliet, as a suggestion on this, use the Google Advanced Search technique (directions in thread near top of Forum home page) to search out Pauline Moore's contributions on digital cushion (DC) thickness. There were a couple of threads on that as I recall, and some photos showing how to measure your horse's DC thickness.

I want you to do that and take pictures if possible....post them in one of the old threads you find....and on that -- we'll go from there.

As to the changes in the shape of your horse's feet -- ask your vet and farrier whether she's "negative plane" or getting that way. This can easily happen when the farrier has been conscientious about keeping the heels moved back, but less conscientious (or sometimes, due to the foot) less able to keep the toes moved back. If this is part of the picture -- but in fact even if it isn't -- I suggest at least rolling the toes, or, more preferably, rockering them; or alternatively, have the shoe set back on the foot as far as possible; apply the shoe backwards; or get Gene Ovnicek's custom set-back shoes (http://www.hopeforsoundness.com) and try them.

Pauline in the old threads explains how to use boots as well as trim to increase DC thickness, and the tendency of everything I've suggested in the above paragraph is also in the same direction: the more you speed up the breakover, the more likely the horse will be to strike on the heel properly. However, in a horse that hasn't been doing that for a long time, as Pauline says and as confirmed by my experience with other students also, you have to "teach" the horse to heel-strike, or re-teach him, which is a kind of "patterning". For this the special shoeing or boots are crucially helpful.

And one last note....I am pleased to hear you're feeling more confident and so is your horse. But there's still lots to do in this arena also, not to make a bad pun. The way your horse moves and the heel strike/toe strike are still linked; and you are right to be concerned that continued toe-striking is likely to result in longterm damage. Your open and pro-active approach do nothing but help your horse. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

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Posted: Mon Jan 12th, 2015 01:45 am
Juliet
There is a lot more information, and better photos, on the various pages of my website (http://www.gravelproofhoof.org). Have a look at the Hoof page for comparative photos of strong and weak feet, and information about the importance of the digital cushion. There is some discussion on the Movement page about heel-first landing, and there is a long article on the subpage about Low Plantar Angle that's under the Therapy main heading.

If you are going to post photos, could you also please do one of your horse standing on level, firm ground (e.g. concrete), taken from mid-flank area so the whole side view of the horse can be seen. Don't worry about getting her to 'stand-up', just whatever is her normal chosen posture. It is sometimes possible to get some clues about likely low plantar angle from how the horse stands.

Happy to help if I can.

Pauline
JulietMacie
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Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 07:18 pm
Thank you both for your replies! I have to go out of town for a couple of days but as soon as I return I'll get to work on this and report back as soon as I can.

--Juliet
JulietMacie
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Posted: Fri Jan 23rd, 2015 01:14 am
Hello, I've followed up on the suggestions in your (Dr Deb's and Pauline's) last comments and am about to post my photos and findings on the Digital Cushion thread as Dr. Deb requests.
( http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/572.html )

see you over in the Digital Cushion thread!

--Juliet
JTB
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Posted: Wed Jan 10th, 2018 08:28 am
Bumping this so I can find it again. Great thread! :-)
Belated Happy New Year to all and Thank You Dr Deb for this resource.
Kind Regards Judy
DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Jan 10th, 2018 03:33 pm
And a Happy New Year to you, too -- and to all our NZ friends. Jenny's arranging clinics for 2018 so I hope to see you in April. Cheers -- Dr. Deb




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