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Exercises for a stiff shoulder?
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AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Apr 8th, 2010 06:38 pm
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I've never heard of the length relations with the digital cushion as well, but I'd be interested to find out more. Without a firm marker to show where the heels actualy end, however, it might not be possible from the xray above. Below is an example of an xray overlaid onto a photo where both were carefully scaled to known dimensions - the shadow of the heel doesn't extend back to where the real tissue ends.

As another viewpoint on hoof boots, I've actually found that on "navicular"-type horses, a lot of them benefit from a rather firm pad rather then a soft one. One of my favorites is a gel-filled horseshoe pad that I use in boots on occassion, and it really gets some horses striding out well. For horses that are sore in the back of the foot, often soft ones are great, for sure, but it's good to have a decent selection on hand to try different things. Some actually need MORE stimulation, and that's where the firmer pads come in handy. Some benefit from no pad at all too...there's not always much consistency.

Also as an FYI to those that have tried and don't like boots, there are a bunch of good styles out there now, and some mfgrs boots fit different types of feet better then others. Some boots do well on round feet, others with high heels, still others with "coke can" feet etc. Often an owner struggles with boots not because they're hard to put on intrinsically, but because they bought/were sold the wrong style for their horse.

On the digital cushion front, in the field I've learned to palpate them by pressing between the heel bulbs from the back of the foot. Each horse will be different, but eventually you learn to feel the difference between a weak and squishy underdeveloped verion, and a tougher developed fibrous one. I learned a neat trick on this from an expert who said to find a horse with weak contracted front feet, who needs front shoes to stay comfortable. If you then compare the feel of the digital cushions between the front and hind feet (which are typically MUCH more developed), then you can learn to key into the differences in feel.

The same trick works for assessing the lateral cartilages, except you sort of reach in between the heel bulbs from the back, and hook your finger towards one side. That works, but I find that it's easier to take the foot and manually shear the heel bulbs up and down. A weak foot will be easy to shear, and a more developed, tougher one will resist the shear forces better.

Squishy feet tend to be weak overall.

In addition, since it may be relevant here, I wanted to throw out another example of posterior rotation of the coffin bone as I think was described by Dr Deb. This was my last horse, and he is the only other one I've come across here that rotated like this. I got his feet realigned eventually, and even recovered most of the distal decent, but the posterior rotation resulted in a dramatically wide HL (horn/lamellar) zone at the toe which never went away. Much trickier feet to deal with then "normal" founders, since they're not well documented generally.





Cheers,
Adam

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Apr 9th, 2010 05:44 am
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Adam, would you take the time to specify for us what type of boots you think suitable for what type of foot....does this have to do with presence/absence of a collar? Depth of the boot measured upward from the ground at the toe or over the bulbs? Type of closure system? And so forth.

Also, your observation that not all horses benefit from 'squishy' foam is quite valid. Foam can be obtained in almost any degree of squishiness. And texture probably does matter; I've advised before that people who need their horses to be very sound, i.e. as for enduro competition, should build themselves a cobbled yard and see to it the horses are in there for a good part of each day. This is not my invention but Xenophon's!

As to substrate -- Pauline commented on this too in the other thread -- I've heard Mike Bowker at an enduro symposium tell the audience, 'don't expect your horse to be sound on the Tevis Cup ride (lots of rocks and hard ground) if he lives 23 hours a day on shavings in a stall.' I think this not only relates to substrate depth and texture, but also to MILEAGE -- the person has to ride the horse over lots of ground, not leave him standing, if you want that digital cushion to thicken up. The same process has been noticed for development of sole thickness, again initially by Bowker and Ovnicek, and echoed by Chris Pollitt's team in Australia working with Brumbies. -- Dr. Deb

megan
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 Posted: Fri Apr 9th, 2010 09:45 am
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Thank you all for your comments, and interest. There is a lot here to think about, and apologies if I don't respond to all of the points that have been raised.

My trimmer and vet have pointed out the uneveness in the joints to me, which they also felt indicated a contraction or tension in the tendon. So far, however, no-one has suggested that the coffin bone might be rotating posterially, so that is interesting, or that the laminae are involved. I have attached the front view x ray of this foot, which shows the degeneration of the lateral cartilage on one side. There are probably some other aspects of this which are of interest.

With regard to the toe length and correcting breakover, the x ray was taken when he first arrived, and was overdue to be trimmed. We were waiting for the x ray before he was trimmed, and the toes have now been addressed.

The x ray of the other foot shows a slightly different presentation, which I would be happy to post if anyone is interested!

It was with a slightly heavy heart that I read your suggestion of putting him in boots, having spent a year re-habing my older mares feet when she had her shoes removed. However, it does make sense, as I never will know whether the muscles caused the rotation of the pedal bone, or the that the muscles and tendon contracted as a result of heel pain.
I do have a selection of boots, but I suspect they may not fit his upright, heel high feet well, so I will pm you for suggestions. Just to note, he is able to stomp readily over any ground, but I suppose that does not indicate that he has not had pain or a lack of internal structure.

Thanks again, your comments are much appreciated -I will keep you posted of his progress.



Attachment: x ray 2.jpg (Downloaded 403 times)

AdamTill
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 Posted: Mon Apr 12th, 2010 05:50 pm
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Hi folks,

Dr Deb, by collar for boots, did you mean the strap that goes around the pastern (I'd call that a gaiter?). If so, those are generally the best types of boots, in my experience. Boots generally fall off the heel first, and the gaiter can prevent that without requiring a high-tension front closure on the boot. With no gaiter, a boot requires a fair amount of tension in the closure, and that can lead to coronet scarring if the owner isn't careful.

For example, my default go-to boot has generally been the Easyboot Epic, which has a good tread, and fits a good majority of feet well. They have a couple of different cable closure styles, and you can get the elasticated closure from the Easyboot Bare added to it (though I wouldn't recommend doing so personally...harder to use generally, but largely maintenance free). With the gaiter being so useful, they've added a slip-on style of boot (Easyboot Glove) that has the gaiter but no front closure, which should be very easy to get on.

For those wanting a longer-term solution for long rides and/or turnout, you can actually glue the boot section of the glove to the foot for short periods of time. That was developed for endurance rides, I believe. With Gold Bond powder inside and a good pad, it would be a good rehab choice as well.

For the feet that I'm envisioning needing them however, I'd personally probably go with a hoof cast (http://www.equicast.com/). They require a bit more expertise and practice to apply, but they're a much more custom fit for the (generally oddly sized) feet that require a medium-term protection solution for turnout. Tricky to apply to a low-heeled horse, however.

In terms of foot shape, I'd probably say that for most feet that are longer then they are wide, the Easyboot Epics are a good choice. If the heels aren't too high, and you could try them out first, the Gloves are an even better choice. "Unfortunately", the Gloves are sold in half-sizes, so ordering them is a bit trickier. They offer a fit kit to those of you in the US, but we can't get it up here, so I haven't been brave enough to try those yet. The closures on the Epics mean that they're probably a better option for flared feet, since you can adjust the size as the flares grow out. I had one horse that started in a 5, for example, and ended up somewhere between a tight 3 and a loose 4. I'd personally avoid the Bares in any wet situation, since I've heard a couple of stories of horses slipping in them, and I don't really like the closure. Most easyboots can have the breakover modified with a rasp, which is handy.

For really round feet, my older choice would have been Old Macs, since they fit that style of foot better. Owners really liked them since they had a front clasp that was easy to apply to the foot, but no gaiter, and the dial to tighten the cable could cause a coronet scar if the owner wasn't careful (required tightening each time). Now, I'd probably go with a Renegade boot, but they don't make them for the really large sizes of horse.

For jumpers, I've heard that the Marquis boots are quite good, but they're EXPESNSIVE. Replaceable parts, but still a pretty penny.

Pads-wise, I keep a wide selection available. I like the Impact Gel hoof pads, the interlocking kids play mats for cheap soft foam, and the Easycare pads for longer-lasting soft foam. I just play with combinations until the horse strides out on his heels well.

The trick to boots is that they should fit without twisting BEFORE the closure system is done up (if any). Too many people buy a boot that's "easy to get on", try to hold it in place with a tight closure, and then wonder why they're getting rubs. To some extent you can ease rubs with a bit of duct tape on the hair lines, or just leather pads riveted into the boot, but the real solution is to get one that fits better.

I'd also just like to temper my comments by saying that the ground conditions around here tend toward being firm and/or rocky - generally packed soil or clay. I don't have any experience on sandy or continuously wet terrain, which would alter things substantially. Sandy conditions are more likely to cause the gaiters to rub if they're not maintained and tensioned correctly, and wet conditions neccessitate things like Gold Bond powder in the boots, and different tread patterns.



Megan - As regards the new xray, is this a left front? If so, does the horse wing when he moves? You said that he was a bit overdue, and what I'm seeing is much more wear or trimming on (assuming a left foot) the medial buttress of the foot, and correspondingly more ossification of the lateral cartilage on that side.

Look at the joint space between P2/P3 - it's imbalanced mediolaterlly, with more quite a bit more space on the left side of the joint. Again you can use the collateral grooves to see this without an xray, since the groove is deeper on the tighter side of the joint.

Imbalances like this are often trim-induced...either showing the dominantly left or right-handedness of the farrier, or a misguided attempt to "correct" conformation and/or the flight of the limb. Whatever cosmetic result is achieved isn't worth the sidebone, as you're finding out. The imbalanced sidebone development is hinting that this situation has been here for a while.

Cheers,
Adam

rifruffian
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 Posted: Mon Apr 12th, 2010 08:56 pm
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Adam thanks for your many informative posts. The last paragraph of your recent post intrigues me........as to how and why a farrier is either left handed or right handed should affect his/her ability to produce a trimmed balanced hoof. Have you time to explain to me further why this is so....?

Indy
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 Posted: Mon Apr 12th, 2010 10:05 pm
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Adam,
In your post the description of the Old Macs sounded more like a Boa boot. The Old Macs have a velcro closure not a dial. I have tried the Easy boot Bares and Epics and had great difficulty getting them on and keeping them on. It seemed my horse was right between sizes. I have been using the Old Mac G2s and found them to work well. They are easy to put on, the traction is good and I have not lost one yet. They have a gaiter that goes on the inside. It is not attached to the boot like the Epics. I have heard good things about the Gloves. I may try them for my pony who is driving. I found the chart that EasyCare has where you input your horses hoof measurements is very handy. When I used it and went with the boot that was closest to my measurements I got boots that worked. Before that I think I was being influenced by advertising and was not getting the best fit.
Clara

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 Posted: Tue Apr 13th, 2010 06:30 am
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Thanks for all of this information. I currently have the G2's, which I have had mixed success with. They fit my other horses feet well (she has much rounder feet than the Lipi) but on the very wet terrain around here, the traction is not all that it might be.

I also have Epics, which I prefer, but I don't have the right size for his feet, so I may now try out the Gloves. I will also look at the website you recommended Adam, as I suspect that his feet are going to need bespoke boots-they are quite unusual!

Thank you for your comments about the second x ray Adam; by 'wings' do you mean mean that he dishes?

As his physical issues had not previously been recognised, I guess the trimmer was trying to address the foot's reaction to this, without recognizing what else was going on. Also, in fairness, the horse is 'foot sound' - he displays no obvious foot pain and is able to walk over very rough terrain, so I imagine that is why no one suspected there were problems.  Left or right handedness of a trimmer is also an interesting factor, and something that I imagine one has to be very conscious of.

I may be confused about this, but Dr Deb has suggested that my horses' pedal bone is pulling away from the laminae at the coronet- possibly making him a sinker. How does this tie in with the back of the pedal bone being pulled 'upwards' by the digital flexor tendon? Has one caused the other to happen, or are they not related?

Thank you, Megan




Sam
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 Posted: Tue Apr 13th, 2010 07:40 am
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'To cut a long story short, the best way to entice a horse to weight his heels is to have hoof boots into which a soft pad can be inserted.  The softness of the pad is not to provide cushioning (that has to come from within the foot) - the softness provides tactile stimulation of the sensory nerves in the frog, a kind of 'waking-up' of nerves that have not been in use for a long time.  This in turn causes the horse to want to put his heels down first, which starts the process of developing fibrocartilage in amongst the thin, fatty tissue of an underdeveloped digital cushion.'

Thanks all, for this excellent thread and everyones willingness to share. How long would the horse have to wear the boots with the padding in each day? 

Thank you from Sam

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Apr 13th, 2010 09:19 am
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Megan, it's a sling -- like a backyard hammock. The tendon of the deep digital flexor muscle passes around the navicular bone on its underside. If the coffin bone is sinking, detaching, or trying to rotate in the negative plane (i.e. so that the heels of the coffin bone are trying to get lower than its toe), then that pushes downward on the DDFT like a fat man lying in a hammock. Does the hammock feel it? Of course. Does the joint feel it? Yes of course too. Does the navicular bone also feel it? Yes.

Adam beat me to it, but I also wanted to comment on your horse's ML unlevel coffin bone. This is one of the most certain ways to make a horse lame. It is almost impossible for a horse to be sound when the coffin joint is unlevel. You must get your trimmer to address this first thing off. AP balance can take quite a while, even several years, to establish; ML balance can usually be achieved in a single trim. Until you get him in ML balance, nothing else will be possible.

Adam's suggestion that the foot is unlevel because of someone's wrongheaded idea that the horse should 'toe square forward' is the probable explanation. There should be absolutely no attempt to use the foot of this (or any) horse as a means of forcing the toe, or the limb, into a forward orientation. Please go look again at the illustration I have previously posted here and referred to recently with a link, that shows the plane of assessment for the forelimbs. It is crucial that your 'trimmer' understand this drawing. You must go get it, print it out, and show it to him.

Also, if you don't already have it, you might like to obtain the new "Conformation Biomechanics" 4-DVD set and sit down with your 'trimmer' and view it. There is a large amount of information in that program concerning the limb and hoof. The long and short of it is, the hoof capsule is merely the last item in a long chain that starts at the horse's shoulders. One hopes to see that a single plane can be passed through the horse's knee and ankle, in other words, that these joints line up. One also hopes to see that the toe of the hoof capsule is bisected by this same plane. But it is absolutely unnecessary and undesirable that the plane that bisects the limb as a whole lie parallel to the plane that would split its spine.

Also, Pauline and Adam, you will get a chuckle out of this: after our revelation concerning DC thickness being less on the hindfeet and ENOUGH less -- possibly below the critical minimum which we are here attempting to establish -- why, then, the obvious thing was to go out to the stable this afternoon and put the boots on Ollie's BACK feet instead of on the front feet. What a plan!

However....Ollie has never had boot, shoe, or in fact so much as a leg-wrap on his back legs. Sooooo....after I put the boots on there, we needed to spend about two hours just getting used to wearing the boots. Ollie put in a fairly concerted effort to either kick them off or stomp them off, and in general considered them a real irritation. It is rather funny I think to see a person hand-walking their horse and about every four steps he hops up in back and tries to kick his tail off! However, once other people got done using the arena and I was able to turn him loose in there, I believe he was stepping down more firmly in back with each canter departure than I have previously seen him do. And he was most definitely "rolling through" on the back feet from heel to toe. I'll report again about this in a few days, and one thing I'll be looking for is if this change in movement style gives him sore hocks, because it might. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Tue Apr 13th, 2010 10:29 am
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Dr Deb - The owner of the bay horse on the Digital Cushion thread is doing the exact same experiment with switching the boots to the back feet, luckily for her the front boots fit the back feet - we should have some interesting comparisons to discuss in a few days. - Pauline.

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sat Apr 17th, 2010 06:22 pm
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hello Dr Deb and Megan,

I have been following this thread with interest, and hope that the following observation may be helpful.

We have a very convenient ford across a brook near us, which is about knee / hock depth or a bit deeper, and we take the horses into it for fun (and to get the mud off their legs). Recently I took my 3 year old in, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself pawing and splashing vigorously. He alternated pawing with his front legs, coiled his loins and 'sat' himself while he made the really 'up' neck telescoping posture that you see with good spanish walk. He managed to get himself wet all over his flanks and back as well as legs and tummy!

I just wondered if your horse is amenable to going into water, whether this would be good shoulder stretching exercise, and is alot of fun at the same time?

Dorothy

lighthorse
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 Posted: Sat Apr 17th, 2010 07:06 pm
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Adam, thank you for the referral to the equine stretching video.  I understand Dr. Deb's point on stretching; but, after barrel racing some relaxation stretching seems in order.  At least it makes me feel better.


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