Ginny is going for a bone scan

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I've read Feet First, Barefoot Performance and Hoof Rehabilitation from cover to cover. It just makes so much sense. Ironically, I am a barefoot runner. I have directly experienced the benefits of barefoot running but never related it to horses before. But the science of adaptation and proprioception is identical. So I am planning to transition Amber and Jenny to barefoot asap. Cally & Oscar never wore shoes and had fantastic feet. I evented Cally barefoot and she was fine. I just didn't know how to go from shod to barefoot so have left the others in shoes as they were bought shod. Ginny is trickier as she is in the middle of a treatment 0lan and I don't want to change anything at this stage, but the longer term plan is for her to lose the shoes too. Basically I am an empiricist so if unshod does not work, well fine. We will think again. But I'm going to try.
 
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Mary Poppins

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I've read Feet First, Barefoot Performance and Hoof Rehabilitation from cover to cover. It just makes so much sense. Ironically, I am a barefoot runner. I have directly experienced the benefits of barefoot running but never related it to horses before. But the science of adaptation and proprioception is identical. So I am planning to transition Amber and Jenny to barefoot asap. Cally & Oscar never wore shoes and had fantastic feet. I evented Cally barefoot and she was fine. I just didn't know how to go from shod to barefoot so have left the others in shoes as they were bought shod. Ginny is trickier as she is in the middle of a treatment 0lan and I don't want to change anything at this stage, but the longer term plan is for her to lose the shoes too. Basically I am an empiricist so if unshod does not work, well fine. We will think again. But I'm going to try.
It is an amazing book isn’t it? Nic also runs workshops up and down the country, she has a Facebook page you can follow with dates and will also arranges workshops at particular yards. It was my saddler who arranged the workshop that I went to and I am lucky to have a vet who completely endorses this approach, a saddler who does the same and a physio who is open to the idea. Some people may suggest that his feet are ‘neglected’ because he hasn’t been trimmed, but with so many knowledgeable professionals working with me, this isn’t true. His feet have become the focal point for lots of people as it becomes apparent how well he is doing.

The transition results in messy looking feet, but if you can look past that and focus on movement you won’t look back. The Rockley Farm blog has got pages and pages of helpful information, fact sheets and advice. The hardest part at the moment for me is getting him to eat the supplement. He was eating it, but then he changed fields where there is more grass and he now turns his nose up at it again. They are doing the job though, the new hoof wall is much tighter and stronger than the old one and this is a direct result of the change in diet.
 

carthorse

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A completely random thought, and a bit late because I've only been popping on & off this thread,but you say she's had a shed load of steroids & is nw more lame in thefronts on her last vet check. Has anyone considered this could be low level laminitis triggered by the steroids? Sometimes when you're in the middle of an extensive treatment plan it's easy to look at everything from that perspective & not see an additional problem &vets are only human. Of course I may be completely wrong, and I hope I am because you don't need something else to factor in, but it's something to consider.

I really hope you can get her right, she must be such a generous pony to have done so much with so much wrong.
 

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Thanks yes lami has been on the radar from day 1 because of the steroids. No one thinks it's lami. I personally think it's a combination of hinds and back improving plus jumping out. We are mixing her being out or Jenny being in with her and seems more settled. I think she is very generous bless her.
 
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Another vet visit. More doom and gloom. She is generally stiff/sore/not moving freely. Main area of pain remains the front end - which we now assume to be coffin joints. No progress at all. Vet expressing concern at how much discomfort she might be in as normally overt lameness is your measure of pain but with her you can't really tell. Feel sick at the thought that she might be still be in significant pain all the time. My vet will liase with Leahurst as he thinks really she needs to go back there for further investigations to try and understand what is going on. Nerve blocking her will tell us how bad each limb actually is without being distorted because all limbs hurt. I'm not prepared to just turn her away for an extended period given the risk that what looks like field soundness is actually masked multi-limb lameness. Don't want to bute her either as don;t wwant her doing more damage running around. But can't keep her in as a) she is stressed when in and b) she has been stiffening up overnight when brought in so she's back out 24/7 as that seems the least bad option. Feeling pretty pessimistic about this now. At the same time I keep thinking she's six!!! And there is no sign of any serious pathology and she has not had any accidents and has never been overjumped etc so how on earth can we be in this situation with such a young, low mileage pony?
 

Bodshi

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Oh dear, that's not great news and like you I don't understand the sense of it with such a young pony. It must be incredibly frustrating, as well as upsetting, for you not being able to pinpoint a cause. I do hope something makes itself apparent soon and that it's something that can be addressed. Fingers crossed for Ginny x
 

newforest

She's not fat, she's too short :-)
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I'm thinking there is an old injury that's reared its head. Age of the animal is immaterial.

This probably sounds bizarre but vets generally trot in a circle or on the flat on a hard surface. You might find out more with a hill and trying both hard and soft.
Walking and trotting up hill mine is a free as they come, but downhill she's stiff. She has an old back end injury or she's super ultra careful, my money is on the injury because a physio visit helps.
I wonder if yours would therefore be the opposite, uphill is worse?

Also is the soreness now because of how she is shod? That's going to change her way of going and if she's not actually better from that shoe, maybe it's not the right shoe?

It doesn't sound promising, but if it's showing as front end, that's two legs that can be nerve blocked and not four.
What has the physio done?
 

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I'm thinking there is an old injury that's reared its head.
Maybe but she was 5 stage vetted less than a year ago and nothing came up then. But who knows. She came from Ireland with no history.

This probably sounds bizarre but vets generally trot in a circle or on the flat on a hard surface. You might find out more with a hill and trying both hard and soft.
Vets have been trotting her on hard and soft, straight and circles. They said feet problems show up more on hard, joint problems on soft. Not tried hills but she is lame on hard and soft. Also now reacting to flexion tests which she was ok on before. It looks to me like a deteriorating picture not an improving one.


It doesn't sound promising, but if it's showing as front end, that's two legs that can be nerve blocked and not four.
I am pinning all my hopes on the fact that she is in fact improving just different limbs are improving at different rates so she looks more lame than she did. My fear since the day the vet told me how lame she was when blocked was how to tell when she was in pain. Had a long chat about that and at that time vet seemed confident that steroids, rest, shoeing etc would lead to improvements quite quickly and once she was sound we would use behavioural cues for pain. So any napping etc would be a red flag. If she is still very lame when blocked then we will be looking at quite a different scenario. So I am now terrified about the 6th though also worried that it's so far away and she might be suffering right now. My vet is also worried about that and will be speaking to Leahurst. May try and get her seen sooner.

What has the physio done?
Physio has been working on her back which is very tight and locked up. If she has freed the back a bit that also might make the fronts worse. But the main problem is that the front should be getting better!! And they don't seem to be.

Thanks for thoughts and good wishes everyone. I am trying to keep a positive spin on things for Katie. And not to cry in front of her! But I have started introducing the idea that Ginny may not come right any time soon - or indeed at all. But she thinks she'll just be retired from ridden work and be a therapy pony. I have obviously not shared my worries that she is in pain. She does not need to be thinking about that.
 

newforest

She's not fat, she's too short :-)
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How do you know she is low mileage? Didn’t she come over from Ireland?? They start them young and hunt and jump before the basics are developed. Many come that can jump the moon but can’t ride a 20m circle well.

Not dissing the Irish at all as they do produce phenomenal hunters etc :)
Yes she did.
 

Mary Poppins

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Another vet visit. More doom and gloom. She is generally stiff/sore/not moving freely. Main area of pain remains the front end - which we now assume to be coffin joints. No progress at all. Vet expressing concern at how much discomfort she might be in as normally overt lameness is your measure of pain but with her you can't really tell. Feel sick at the thought that she might be still be in significant pain all the time. My vet will liase with Leahurst as he thinks really she needs to go back there for further investigations to try and understand what is going on. Nerve blocking her will tell us how bad each limb actually is without being distorted because all limbs hurt. I'm not prepared to just turn her away for an extended period given the risk that what looks like field soundness is actually masked multi-limb lameness. Don't want to bute her either as don;t wwant her doing more damage running around. But can't keep her in as a) she is stressed when in and b) she has been stiffening up overnight when brought in so she's back out 24/7 as that seems the least bad option. Feeling pretty pessimistic about this now. At the same time I keep thinking she's six!!! And there is no sign of any serious pathology and she has not had any accidents and has never been overjumped etc so how on earth can we be in this situation with such a young, low mileage pony?
I'm so sorry to read this, and I completely understand how horrible and helpless you must feel. It would be much easier if she had suffered a specific injury which you knew about and can treat. The hard part of this situation is finding out exactly what is wrong with her. I understand that completely sick feeling of realising how much pain they are/have been in and all this time they have been hiding it from you.

I can't speculate what is wrong with her (it drives me crazy when people try and tell me what is wrong with Ben - they are always wrong!), it could be absolutely anything but unfortunately it sounds like you have more than one issue going on. But please do not try and lose hope. At one point Ben was significantly lame on 3 bute per day and I was seriously thinking that we had reached the end of the road, but he is now bute free and walking out for one hour per day with no signs of lameness at all. He was initially lame on all 4 legs and had many issues that needed addressing, but with time (it has now been 7 months!) and lots of TLC he is on the road to recovery (I hope!).

The only thing that I would question is the remedial shoeing on the front feet. As you know, I am a huge advocate of the barefoot rehabilitation approach and perhaps this clouds my judgement, but I find it hard to understand how the remedial shoeing is helping her when the cause of the lameness has not been identified? And how can she be nerve blocked and assessed properly for lameness when she has remedial shoes on? Surely the shoes would influence how she moves? I know absolutely nothing about the type of shoes she is wearing, but these are just the thoughts flying around my head.

Look after yourself (and Katie) and I hope that you get some answers soon. x
 

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Thanks @Mary Poppins.

I think the shoes are meant to take some of the pressure off her feet and are just for comfort while other treatments addressed the inflammation and pain. They have frog supports and extend beyond the heel so the weight is spread over a larger area. I guess the way rehabbed bare feet are naturally? With a weight bearing frog and large digital cushions at the heel? They are the same shoes they often use for lami in the acute phase. But they don't seem to be making her more comfortable. Another question to ask Leahurst! My own vet has also expressed his doubts about the shoes - he was supportive of them to start with but given how things are going he thinks they may not be helping. So he is also going to talk to Leahurst about them too.
 
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Mary Poppins

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Thanks @Mary Poppins.

I think the shoes are meant to take some of the pressure off her feet and are just for comfort while other treatments addressed the inflammation and pain. They have frog supports and extend beyond the heel so the weight is spread over a larger area. I guess the way rehabbed bare feet are naturally? With a weight bearing frog and large digital cushions at the heel? They are the same shoes they often use for lami in the acute phase. But they don't seem to be making her more comfortable. Another question to ask Leahurst! My own vet has also expressed his doubts about the shoes - he was supportive of them to start with but given how things are going he thinks they may not be helping. So he is also going to talk to Leahurst about them too.
The barefoot rehab is all about the foot growing in such a way that it supports the unique way of going for the horse, so the concept of having perfectly symmetrical and artificially balanced feet is out. Ben is developing a medial flare on his right fore, but my support crew assure me that this is a good thing because he has a lameness in that foot which is (hopefully) reducing because his body is now able to support itself in a way in which suits him, rather than a way in which suits a textbook. But yes, his frogs and digital cushions have certainly changed shape and are much bigger and robust compared to when he was shod. I am not one to be able to talk objectively about shoes at the moment as my instinct is to take all shoes off all horses. I had reached a point with Ben where I was so desperate and thinking he was going to need to be put down, and the turning point happened when I took off his shoes and changed his diet. Maybe that is coincidence and he would have improved anyway, but I really do believe it has made a huge difference.