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'Death' to poor Muffy
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Sam
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 Posted: Mon Nov 19th, 2007 06:54 am
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Hi Folks,

Alrighty putting any 'Poor Muffy' thoughts behind me, this horse I am about to discribe has no history, he is as he is. He is a gelding of 14.1hh about 12 yrs old, looks of quarter horse type, he is built down hill, wither is lower than his rump, he has a lovely curve to his neck with no large muscle underneath. His forlegs viewed from the side are slightly calf kneed and if you dropped a plumb line down the back of his quarters to the ground his hocks/cannon bones are along the same line. If I view each leg as Dr Deb has taught us no offsets, rotations or deviations jump out and hit me in the face. The forefeet, the balance inside to outside (medial-lateral?) is even and there is the tinest bit of more sloping walls on the inside of the forefeet compared to the outside of the hoof, the reverse is true on the hindfeet. Front to back balance on the forefeet, crushed underrun heels, and toe grows like crazy, he walks like a man in flippers. His walk is his 'best' gait as far as how comfortable he looks, I don't know if it means anything but if I lead him along at a good walk the leadrope gets a great swing up (side to side) compared to my other horse. When he canters he looks like the cartoon skunk 'Pepe La Phew' his legs move under a rigid body and his head is in the air. When he trots there is a hitch in the stride, its not a 'lameness' as in a sore foot, more like a hitch in the motion when the near side fore goes forward, there appears to be little 'air' time in the trot, again his head is up. ( I am yet to buy my book with the muscles of the horse labled so please excuse my attempts to discribe this) Imagine his neck is a triangle, viewed at the side, the base is along the shoulder and the point is up behind the ears, he has a muscle that bulges and it looks like a little triangle with its base too along the shoulder and it sits just above the imagined centre of the horses neck, this muscle bulges when his head goes up or he is tense.

If I twirl his head and quarters he will move in a 'true' two beat trot with out the hitch. When he bucks and plays he appers to have his back stuck in the one position, he has a bit of muscle wastage behind the withers and his tummy doesn't sag hugely.

Again with no thoughts of poor Muffy, this horse appears to me to be a real 'project' as his posture is going to cause him difficulty in becoming a riding horse. The question is just how much of a project is he, will 12 years of bad posture have caused him irrepairable damage or will physiotherapeutic riding be his saviour. I am not sure if my above description gives you a good mental picture or not so please feel free to ask any questions. His nature is gentle, not confident and a delight to teach. I am not going to go into what he has done and what I have done etc as we are starting a fresh. Any suggestions appreciated.

Kind Regards

Sam

 

DrDeb
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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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 Posted: Mon Nov 19th, 2007 08:12 pm
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Sam, your first step will be to find a farrier who can take care of the underslung heels/long toe situation. If you have not, go to Gene Ovnicek's website (I believe it's http://www.hopeforsoundness.com) and read his educational materials. I am not telling you that you need an Ovnicek trainee to do the work, nor that you necessarily need Gene's type of snub-nosed shoe to create good results. The point is rather just to get you to understand what re-establishing fore-aft (AP or antero-posterior) balance is all about. You have to move the heels back, i.e. you have to cut off enough heel that the buttress meets the ground at a new point, farther back from where it now is. At the same time, you also have to shorten the toe as much as possible without the horse actually bleeding. This will require nippering to begin with, followed by some rasp work which is done by placing the foot on a hoof-stand and rasping downward. The toe may look "dubby" after this is done but that is temporary. Ovnicek's shoes are most useful when the amount that can be taken off the foot is still not enough to get the breakover line back to where it should be.

You will find that all the other problems, or most of them, that you are currently seeing with this horse are related to the poor condition of his feet. The triangular muscle you describe is the trapezius cervicis, which does indeed function to raise the head (it also functions to "shrug" the shoulders, which makes the gait stiff and short).

The "hitch" you are describing in the hind stride may be due to muscle stiffness in the hamstrings, the muscles that run down the back of the legs from the buttocks to the Achilles tendons. See if you can get the horse started on learning to bow -- this will help take care of the hindlimb stiffness, and it's also good for the front tendons, which will also be stiff as another side effect of the out-of-balance hoofs.

If the pony is good-minded, it sounds to me like a good project that has every chance of complete success -- Dr. Deb

Sam
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Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2007 04:48 am
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Many Thanks once again, will study Gene O's information, This has given me such a huge amount of hope.  He does have the most wonderful mind, sometimes it seems his body just won't co- operate.  Throw into the mix the 'baffling' owner and I thought my chap was doomed.  Re the bow, at one  of your seminars I made hurried notes as to the 'bow pilae', (I knew this was lurking someplace have just found it!!)  Just checking I have the notes complete,' Reward the slightest try, Short pleasent training sessions.  Teach the horse to lift one leg at a time. Next teach him to hold up the feet then teach him to place one foot out in front on a 'target' once he is happy doing that, tip the weight toward you so the other leg pops out to join the other.  Reward lots and once happy doing this give the carrot between the forlegs.'

Does he stretch the same muscles if I stand him on the drum with his backside in the air?

Thanks so much.

Best Wishes

Sam


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