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Reasons for the 'horse on a pedestal' stance?
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Kathy75
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 Posted: Tue May 5th, 2009 12:54 pm
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Thanks Leah and Dr Deb, really appreciate the help.

Would it be ok to post pics, 2 of each foot, or maybe I should post on another website as Leah suggested?

Leah you definitely have a point about the hinds being long, and they are more underrun than the fronts. He always develops a very strong toe, with thick hoof wall. I have probably not been strict enough with keeping the toe plane at the correct height and length. So yes he has a narrow frog, the foot has been pulled forward.

Pressure is the stimulis for growth, so it makes sense that if his toes are receiving too much pressure, they continue to grow out of balance. I will work on rectifying this, try for a steeper heel angle as Dr Deb mentioned.

There's no reason he can't work Dr Deb, he's not lame... though I'm only working him from the ground presently. This is partly because I made the mistake of buying a treeless saddle years ago - I ordered it from the UK, had both the open cell and closed cell pads fitted in the numnah to create a gullet and spread the pressure etc... only to read all the info on saddles on this site recently... with the conclusion of course that I should not be using this saddle. So the plan is to buy the saddle fitting CD I saw recommended here before I change my saddle.

The other reason is that I no longer hack him out, I have lost my nerve a little over the years with him. And since reading the Birdie Book, which explains perfectly why I've been having these problems, (spooking, bucking etc) it is actually a relief to not feel obligated to take him out. Instead we are going to focus on the exercises I've read about here on keeping his birdie with me. Even walking out the gate to take him for a walk/jog around the neighbourhood, I see his breathing change and that faraway look appear in his eyes.

Thanks for the suggestion of the cavaletti, I usually try working him over poles and logs in the field where possible.

Dr Deb, I'm not sure what you were talking about regarding the 'wet saddle pads'?

We have a Equine Podiatrist visiting from the UK this week, I'll be shadowing her while she's consulting, and there's a good chance she'll be able to take a look at my horses feet while she's here, looking forward to that!

Thanks for all the help so far.

Kathy

AdamTill
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 Posted: Tue May 5th, 2009 05:24 pm
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This visual might help, based on the last photo you presented. It could be more accurate with a sole photo to key off of as well, but should be close.

As everyone else is saying, toe looks long, heels about right if likely a bit high, but also probably lacking sole depth under the toe.

BTW - wet saddle pads tend to come from excercize sweat :)

Attachment: Reyk 4 May 2009 006 - Markup.jpg (Downloaded 442 times)

lighthorse
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 03:40 am
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I'm a little lost.  Dr. Deb:  If one took more hoof off the bottom towards the heel....where Adams torquoise line is, that would change the angle? ( Assuming that one cleans up the toe),  Making it less under run?   Is that what you would do Adam?  It sounded like you thought the angle was pretty much okay. 

If the hind foot heel is moved back....that would "stand him up" more...taking pressure off clear up to the stifle?  Maybe sort of like straightening the leg to offer more support to the back....kind of like a stronger/straighter pillar?

"Lacking sole depth under the toe"....would that be s concavity made by the overlong toe? 

Thanks.

AdamTill
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 03:59 am
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"I'm a little lost.  Dr. Deb:  If one took more hoof off the bottom towards the heel....where Adams torquoise line is, that would change the angle? ( Assuming that one cleans up the toe),  Making it less under run?   Is that what you would do Adam?  It sounded like you thought the angle was pretty much okay."

The change in heel angle that I'm suggesting would make a trivial change in the standing angle of the hoof. It's backing up the toe, and thus changing the forces experienced by the hoof on loading IN MOTION as a result of altered breakover and capsular loading forces, that allows for a healthier hoof to grow in.

I wouldn't concentrate on what the horse standing square on concrete is telling us. Watching him move, and focusing on the forces experienced in motion is what, in my experience, leads to down a better path.

"If the hind foot heel is moved back....that would "stand him up" more...taking pressure off clear up to the stifle?  Maybe sort of like straightening the leg to offer more support to the back....kind of like a stronger/straighter pillar?"

I'm a touch confused. By trimming to a future plane (like I've indicated) you can setup a better landing pattern, and move the point of setdown further back, but talk of "standing him up" by trimming tends to indicate to me that you're talking pastern angle?

If you drop the heel vertically then you'll tend to steepen the pastern angle, but do remember that these tendons are attached to muscles further up, and that attempting to adjust pastern angle mechanically tends to be pointless if the body doesn't support the changes. Again, too, I'd prioritize how the hoof lands as opposed to how it looks when it's resting.

""Lacking sole depth under the toe"....would that be s concavity made by the overlong toe? "

I mean that the distance between the tip of the coffin bone and the outside world is likely a bit too small right now. The flared toe almost guarantees a lack of concavity, which in turn tends to bring the inside closer to the outdoors. The general shape of the average coffin bone and the growth angle indicated in the photo also support my estimate, but without more info, it's only an estimate.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 04:13 am
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Lighthorse -- if you don't rasp the heels back to the widest part of the frog with each and every trim, you will lose ground over successive trims with a horse that has under-run heels/curly bars. The only way to get the heel tubules to stand back up properly is to doggedly persist in moving the buttress support back.

Adam's lines of analysis are absolutely spot-on. You will notice where he suggests taking off the toe to: this is what I meant by 'please remove all the junk from the toe.' A mistake that I consistently see made by amateur so-called 'hoof trimmers' and professional farriers alike: to be afraid to remove ALL the junk from the toe. The person may be afraid that they will make the horse sore, or even cause a bleed; you probably won't do the former, and are extremely unlikely to do the latter. Unless the excess toe is removed, the breakover will continue to be late, and this will feed back not only to continue to create a junky toe that continues to be partly disconnected from the underlying sensitive laminae, but will also alter flight and landing dynamics so that the horse continues to land too early on the heels, which perpetuates crushing them and can neutralize all efforts to get the heel tubules to stand back up properly. You understand that the heel tubules are too low whenever their angle is more horizontal than those of the toe and pillars, irrespective of the apparent "silhouette" outline of the capsule. You judge by the tubules; another mistake often made is that the "trimmer" only perceives the silhouette capsule shape, as if the foot had no biogenic "grain". But the "grain" -- the tubules -- is (in any foot that is not actually gangrenous) an infallible guide to what is going on inside, as well as to breakover, wear, and the general health of the foot and the animal as a whole.

As to the hind hoofs: these require less sophistication in most cases from the trimmer, as weight tends to exacerbate any unhealthy tendencies -- so that while the front feet, which carry most of the animal's weight, may not be able to self-maintain, the hind feet often do so. My suggestion here is to play with the hind feet within the limits they can tolerate, raising the angle slightly so as to push more angle into the hind joints, which will act to relieve the animal's back and also protect its stifles from getting to where they start to chronically "stick". Any animal in as low a state of physical fitness as the one under discussion here, and with as low and "soft" a back, is in danger of sticking stifles.

Moving the hind heels back "a tad" can be accomplished easily while also raising the hind angle "a tad". We are talking here about one degree of angle or less. This is an example of the use of orthopedic principles and of the principles of whole-body biomechanics to assist a horse to greater comfort and better movement.

As to Kate's reluctance to ride the horse: Kate, you need to get yourself some horsemanship help. If the animal you show us has actually bucked in the last decade, I am a monkey. Many beginners get afraid of their horses and (my experience in a previous life as a wrangler at various livery stables) hints to me that what really happened was that he shied a little bit or maybe took a stumbly step going downhill, so that you fell off (which then gets inflated in the person's mind to "I got bucked off"). Please see the recent thread on 'guilt and the sick horse' and read my essay at the bottom of that thread, and think about what it says. It is not fair to your horse to leave him so unfit that he becomes prey to lameness of the back or limbs, and even though I'm all for your plan to longe him, etc., it does not sound to me like you really know how to construct a conditioning program whether from the ground or from the saddle. Go find Harry or Josh, pronto, and find out again what fun riding was meant to be. -- Dr. Deb

 

Indy
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 04:27 am
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Adam,
Is it possible for you to explain what each line represents?

Dr. Deb,
Is "all the junk of the toe" the amount that is between the two turquoise lines that cross?

I am in awe of the knowledge that you both have (and so many others here). Thank you for sharing.
Clara

Last edited on Wed May 6th, 2009 04:28 am by Indy

Indy
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 04:39 am
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Kathy,
Thanks for posting the pictures and sharing your issue. Having a visual helps.

Was this horse having issues (soreness, inability to move comfortably etc) due to the treeless saddle?
Clara

Blaze
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 04:40 am
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Hi Adam,

Could you also mention what program you're using to diagram the hooves?

I really enjoy studying the various examples you've provided over time. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us.

Thanks,

Erin

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 07:21 am
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Indy & Blaze: I'll let Adam go ahead and tell us where he learned what he knows, but I'll also add that whatever else he may say, Adam has "the eye", which the person develops from appropriate practice (and maybe from "guided" practice, i.e. from working with a teacher who also has the eye).

Indy, "all the junk on the toe" is that portion of the toe which Adam marks off between the blood-red line and the green line. This whole part of the toe of the capsule has become a 'bubble' -- in a way like a blister -- disconnected from the underlying "sensitive" tissue (the tissue that has a blood supply).

When performing an analysis such as Adam provides, the place where you start is to locate that portion of the toe tubules which is most upright. This segment will be found to exist between the coronet band at the top, and anywhere farther down that the capsule of the toe appears to flare outward (Adam's blood-red line). The last place where the laminae of the capsule have a firm and live connection to the underlying sensitive laminae is the place where the tubules first flare outward; i.e., the declivity or 'deepest part of the dip' in the contour of the toe.

Having found the line that represents the "connected" portion, you then project that line downward (Adam's green line).

Adam then draws in the isoceles triangle (blue) which represents the position of the coffin bone. There is a little "art" to this part, because without an X-Ray, one cannot know exactly how high the upper apex of this triangle lies, nor either exactly how far toward the heels the whole triangle may lie. Adam has said in a previous post that he must "guesstimate" in the absence of other data, so I know that Adam knows what the limits of this method are. The widest part of the capsule (where the quarters flare outward the most) can be seen in the photo, and this is usually a good indicator of the position of the 'bridge' which directly underlies the center of the coffin joint. Based on that, I might locate the blue triangle a little farther forward, but that wouldn't change the whole picture of what needs to be done very much.

Further, I would direct you to one VERY important statement that Adam makes in his previous post: he mentions "a future line". In other words -- Adam is not thinking merely in the three dimensions of height, depth, and width, but in four dimensions, i.e. including TIME. The hoof is going to grow, and the good farrier must be able to foresee where the growth is going to go, so as to be able to direct that growth.

This latter ability is even more important than having an 'eye' for the real meaning of what the horse shows you when he walks up to you the first time. One of the great deficiencies (that we can repair) in the present system of education and training for farriers is that the concept of creating a treatment plan is hardly ever mentioned. Nobody should ever trim a horse's foot "for today" or "just to neaten it up." There must always be first, meaningful assessment (understanding what walks up to you), followed by a treatment plan (what you're going to do today, what you're going to do next time, and the time after that, etc., until your treatment objective -- which will always be to restore normalcy according to orthopedic principles -- is achieved). -- Dr. Deb

 

Kathy75
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 08:36 am
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Adam thank you, your diagram is so helpful!! I really have underestimated how much the foot has travelled forward. (Though they have improved compared to years ago, the hinds had virtually no heel, and quarter cracks up to the coronary band, with long flared toes.)

And thanks for the tips about wet saddle pads...I see what you mean (I don't think you call them numnahs in the US?)

Clara, I don't know if the treeless saddle impacted on him in any way (probably didn't help), I've only used it a dozen times the past few years, and not longer for about an hour at a time I think.

Dr Deb, I would love all the horsemanship help possible, and if I didn't live a continent away I would have already been to many of these clinics you mentioned ages ago. I have tried in the past to get help from 'natural horsemanship' instructors here - coming from a well known American based husband/wife team source (not to be mentioned on this site... and I think I understand why...). 

My first lesson with one of these instructors ended up in a huge vets bill, he got away from her, tore around the yard and gashed open his hindquarters, needing to stitched up! So I've been looking for help in all the wrong places, have made more mistakes than I can count, and yes I've read the 'guilt' thread,  there's a lot there that relevant for me. I won't go into any more about why I still have my horse, don't want to take up any more space.

But while we're on the subject of getting the *right* type of help, would it be OK to ask, if any other South Africans that happen to be reading this site, could they contact me if they are keen to attend a Josh Nichol clinic? I have contacted him last year, and just recently again, and he's interested in coming to SA, maybe in 2010. I would like to organise clinincs in Cape Town and Joburg... nothing definite, but I'm very hopeful it'll work out.!!!

 Email: kathadams75@gmail.com

I really appreciate the amount of detail shared on this thread, I will be reading it many times over to be sure.

I would like to trim this weekend, then would it be ok to post more pics  - 2 per foot, or will this take up too much space?

Maybe I should post them elsewhere?

Thanks again

kathy

 

lighthorse
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 12:26 pm
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Thank you, Adam.  I'm off to work and haven't had a chance to read the other posts besides yours.  When I asked about the upright pillar so to speak...I was asking about Dr. Deb post relieving back strain.  Thanks again, everyone.  Mauri

Rowena
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 12:59 pm
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Hello everyone, I'm new here and am so glad to have found this insightful and open-minded forum!

Reading through this thread I totally relate to the observation's that Adam and Dr Deb have made, but (if no one minds?) I would like to venture a small reservation...

Kathy mentions a pulse, an unfit horse and the dreaded Kikuyu grass. This got my attention as I have had similar problems.
Firstly the pulse indicates a degree of inflammation - (is this horse also lethargic Kathy?)
And then that dreaded Kikuyu grass... which is so sweet you can taste it by human standards. Horses can derive a massive amount of sugar 24/7 this way even on short grass.

This combined with the stance and 'pregnant' belly all suggest that a digestive overload has brought about some temporary inflammation in the front feet. The pedestal-stance is good way for a horse to alleviate the weight off his front feet - as the hind feet stand further toward the center of the horse, this will automatically lighten his forehand (the fundamental principal of dressage).

So while his toe does need to be taken back as suggested, I would venture that the timing is not right.
Taking the toe back at this point will unavoidably lower P3 and render it more available to trauma and with any inflammation present this could make things even worse.

I've noticed this with my own horses - when the toe needed to be taken back and if any inflammation was present, it pushed things over into the wrong direction and caused a great deal of unnecessary pain (which increases the uncomfortable stance).

I would therefore caution Kathy to wait until ALL inflammation is completely gone before making any changes (even if they are for the long term better).

I absolutely do not believe the overlong toe is the root cause of this on/off situation that Kathy describes, as I have many seen horses with far longer toes and more imbalanced feet (but no inflammation) that are quite sound in spite of it. And even though the imbalance could not have been quite comfortable Mother Nature combined with the dynamics of Movement soon did the work of breaking and chipping away the long toes and nothing but a shoe or forced inactivity can prevent this.

Of course this is not the answer, as Dr Deb pointed out it does not address the corresponding heel issue, but my point is that it did not cause the kind of issues that Kathy has presented, and every single horse was quite happy to carry their weight independently on either end of the body in spite of some (temporary) trim imbalance.

And with regard to the hind heels being too low... my guess is that Kathy has not been lowering these, but that the habitual overloading of these heels (when the horse is standing too far underneath himself) has driven the tubules forward and so now they do not properly support the back of the foot.
My guess is that she can wait till-the-cows-come-home but those hinds heels will never gain in height and will only creep forwards, until the main cause of the problem is dealt with.

Just my tuppence worth...
Cheers,
Rowena.

Tutora
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 03:48 pm
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Hi Rowena. Thanks to everyone for this interesting thread.

I have a couple of questions. Firstly, does a faint but clear digital pulse, on horses who have been resting just before I feel for it, necessarily indicate inflammation? I've been periodically checking digital pulses on several horses for a few years, and most of the time I've had a hard time feeling it. This spring, however, I've been able to find a faint but distinct pulse on each horse almost daily.

One thing has stayed the same this spring--I've strictly limited the horses' grazing time as I have for many years (having owned Morgans, ponies, Iberian horses).

One thing has changed--I'm feeling for the digital pulse differently: I was often pressing too hard before. So I'm pretty sure the reason I'm finding it consistently is because I've gotten better at feeling for it.

The horses are VERY playful--running,bucking, doing unnamed airs--in pasture, they horse around in their paddock, and they seem comfortable in work. Other than the fact that I've been wondering if I should be finding their digital pulses so consistently, I'm not seeing anything that makes me think they're footsore.

So do the pulses just mean they're alive, or should the pulses in themselves be a concern?

To Rowena or anyone--My second question is this: Kathy said in her first post that her horse sometimes cocks a hind leg when he's in the stance being discussed. If he's placing his hinds under himself more to take weight off the front as you brought up, would he still cock a hind leg?  I ask this because when I see my horses standing at rest with a cocked hind leg, I've been taking that as another indication that they're probably not sore in front from low grade laminitis.--Elynne

Rowena
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 05:13 pm
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My experience has been that a light but distinct pulse in a standing horse (not after exercise) is indicative of low grade inflammation. A bounding pulse is faster and much more noticeable, and as you rightly say - requires a 'sensitive feel' to be certain. Most owners who check the pulse regularly get to know their horse and can tell the difference easily. But even with a sensitive feel, those horses who appear to have no pulse at all - don't have any inflammation.

The problem with Spring time is that with all the added energy (from sugar&carbs)horses feel full of life and they do silly things. This is only regrettable if it results in any small loss of connection - which it very often does. The on/off footyness, flaring of the hoof capsule and sometimes flat-footedness testifies to this - I've seen it a lot.

You are wise to limit the grass intake, as this is the only control you have over sugar intake. Perhaps Global warming is the cause of the fact that nowadays we have high grass sugars pretty much all year round, but particularly at Spring and in Autumn.

As to the cocked leg...my own observations have led me to believe that horses 'stand-under' when wanting to relieve the weight off the front feet, and sometimes cock a leg once they settle into it (generally once the inflammation backs off and they get lazy) - depending on the amount of inflammation present. But it can become a bad habit if chronic, and horses that sometimes look as if they are standing on a pedestal are more uncomfortable then.

And very often a trimming/correction can be just the thing to push things over the edge. I learned the hard way that it is always best to consider timing. Never take too much toe if the horse has any inflammation present get the inflammation down first.

Tutora
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 Posted: Wed May 6th, 2009 06:11 pm
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Hmm...more food for thought. That seems like a good observation--that the spring grass could make the horses playful enough to temporarily override discomfort. My horses are just as playful year round, though. Even when they're not wound up, I often see them walking actively in the large dry lot. They get no grain, just nice grass hay, scheduled morning grazing, and a supplement in the winter. They're not overweight, but their coats and hooves are shiny. Their feet have no flares.

I certainly don't want to deceive myself, but I am sure that the method I started using to check their pulses a few weeks ago has made a big difference in why I'm now feeling them consistently. But yeah, I do get concerned when I see people talking about any digital pulse as a cause to suspect hoof inflammation.

I've been waiting for "the hay guy" and now he's here. I want to add something else when I'm done with the hay stacking. Thanks, all.


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