Monday, January 18, 2010

Buttercup's first trail ride back and frog improvement

It has been more than three months for Buttercup and since getting her EasyBoot Edge last week, we are taking it very slow.

Anytime a horse comes back from pasture condition (and specifically from dealing with hoof or leg problems) lots of walking with minimal turning is best. We are 20-30 minute walks. On Saturday, I felt confident in her ability to do an hour long, easy trail ride. Keep in mind, we do not have hills where I live. Just flat, soft ground.

Her condition looks bad, but she seems comfortable.

(Buttercup is moving consistently heel first)

The short trail ride really exhausted her, but she was feeling fine the next day. I think she's happy to have a job, however small it may be.

(Best seat in the house!)

Now, this is kind of a two-part post. I wanted to update everyone on the changes to Buttercup's frog over the last month.

Dec. 6:

(Completely receded. Barely even a noticeable bump and soft to the touch.)

Dec. 20:

(Frog starts to rally and harden up. )

Jan. 17:

I noticed yesterday was the first time when I picked her hooves I could put the pick into the grove between frog and sole. The flash flattened the grove a little bit. There is less than a finger's distance on the front left (second pics in the series) and the ground and about a finger and a half distant on the front right (first pics in series) right now. We are about halfway through our farrier rotation which is why her frog is all icky.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lameness evaluation

Since lameness is a huge factor in hoof rehabilitation, here are two ways to diagnose lameness. In my opinion, each system is equally useful. I find the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) system useful for a horse showing acute lameness signs. But the Obel system is much more helpful in a horse undergoing hoof problems, since sometimes they don't show that "hitch" at the trot.

AAEP guidelines:
0: Lameness not perceptible under any circumstances.
1: Lameness is difficult to observe and is not consistently apparent, regardless of circumstances (e.g. under saddle, circling, inclines, hard surface, etc.).
2: Lameness is difficult to observe at a walk or when trotting in a straight line but consistently apparent under certain circumstances (e.g. weight-carrying, circling, inclines, hard surface, etc.).
3: Lameness is consistently observable at a trot under all circumstances.
4: Lameness is obvious at a walk.
5: Lameness produces minimal weight bearing in motion and/or at rest or a complete inability to move.

Obel lameness grading system:
Grade I: At rest the horse will alternately and incessantly lift the feet. Lameness is not evident at a walk but a short stilted gait is noted at a trot.
GradeII: Horses move willingly at a walk, but the gait is stilted. A foot can be lifted off the ground without difficulty.
GradeIII: The horse moves very reluctantly and vigorously resists attempts to have a foot lifted.
GradeIV: The horse refuses to move and will not do so unless forced.

Obviously, with the Obel scale, there is no grade for a sound horse. The Obel scale is great for inflammation, heel pain, etc. I like the wording "stilted" for the gaits. That's the hoof landing flat or toe first.

Right now, Buttercup is like a Grade 1/2 on the Obel. She's not quite stilted at the trot, but she's a little short. She's moving comfortably with no hitch in any gait, so that would put her at a 0 on the AAEP scale.

She has officially gone 48 hours without her turnout boots. She registered a Grade 1 with Obel and a AAEP 1 after the 48 hours, but still looked relatively comfortable. Her frogs have built up to where there is only one finger width of missing frog on the front left and two fingers width of missing frog on the front right. Progress!

We are still waiting on our new EasyBoot Edge boots (just a hint, never order EasyBoots through Country Supply ...). Once we get them, I plan on taking her for long walking trails. She needs a job right now, but no stress. She's feeling good but we don't want her to backslide.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Farrier visit 12-28-09

Happy 2010! We are starting the New Year with new hooves. The exact words from my farrier: "I'm tickled." Buttercup's hooves look great, her frog/heel are getting stronger (though still rather receded) and we will be starting some light walking work undersaddle once our new EasyBoot Edge boots arrive.

Let's start with the solars since that's the highlight.

Just to compare, here is a healthy hoof's solar view:

And the ideal diagram:

Another bright spot is that her crack is grown out and what remains is superficial to the wall:

Unfortunately, we are still distorted at the heels, likely as a result of the cast being applied too tightly. This time around, we again really had to rein in the front right toe. But we also got some really strong heel growth. It was the first time since the my farrier's first time working with her that he has used hoof clippers on her. Normally, he just rasps away the hoof, but this time she had enough growth the warrant hoof clippers. Progress! If we got that amount of growth in the winter time, I can just imagine this spring boding good news. I may even begin to say we are out of the rehab stage if we continue this path!

Again, to compare, here's two relatively balanced hooves in the lateral view:

(lower heel)

(higher heel)

Best of luck to everyone in the New Year!