Monday, July 19, 2010


'What you looking at?'
Feel the love, isn't the big monster cute?

Most likely, providing we can get Smurf over his aversion to a single float he is off to a new home in the next couple of weeks. We tried for an hour and a half on Sunday to get the little critter on the float but he wasn't having a bar of it. His owner said he has mostly been floated with other horses so facing travel by himself on a single may have been a bit daunting. But the little guy totally had our number so it may have been a people problem instead LOL.

I am going to have a wee cry if/when Smurf does go. He's definitely got a piece of my heart and had my situation been different I'm sure we could have been lifelong partners. His owner wants a piece of his tail to make into a bracelet and I have one of his shoes that I will scrub up for her too. I'm going to keep the other one for me though.

This means I may also be able to move Fox into town. I've been offered grazing at a place a few minutes up the road. This would be so awesome! The price is the same but I would have access to the local equestrian park with an all weather arena with jumps etc. Nice. But I can't go if I still have the two horses so fingers crossed that the little bugger decides he's ok with the single float.

There are also a couple of horses there that I could ride if I had the inclination which would be nice. Though I will start working on Fox's rehab more thoroughly again when Smurf goes. But having the option is good. I'm really craving some proper riding, I mean I love hacking but being restricted to a walk and the odd wee trot is a bit tough and being constantly worried that I'm hurting Fox sucks. I'm also really tempted when Smurf goes to start getting the odd lesson. There is a new lady who is apparently great. She has lesson horses too so wouldn't have to worry about Fox.

I would have to move Fox away again for the Guy Fawkes season and probably Christmas/New Years due to the fireworks. Last year we had a ton in this area and I'm not going to risk another injury. I could move him out to where he is at the moment which would be fine or set up something temporary at my dad's place. Though the cost of buying an energiser might negate that option.

Other good news, I think I've found a chiropractor for Fox. He comes up from Christchurch and is hopefully due in August/September. They are getting back to me about final dates. This (we would have to travel the racecourse in Richmond for the treatment) and the possible move means I'm going to have to start on the dreaded floating issue that I have been doing my very best to avoid.

In the meantime, I'm going to save up for a couple of visits from the physio to get the ball rolling. Though I do have personal issue with her (I tell you the things I've heard, it's like one of those cheesy daytime soaps) I want what is best for Fox and at the moment she is it.

Interesting happenings here anyways, could be some big changes on the horizon and with the shortest day well behind us now and the weather for the most part being gorgeous, I'm feeling positive and really looking forward to some good weekends with Fox.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gene Ovnicek

Fox and I at an unregistered Dressage day last year. My first dressage test ever. You can see how nervous Fox and I both are. I believe we got fourth, the second test I was eliminated LOL. We got best turned out though.

Well last night I was lucky enough to attend a seminar held by Gene Ovnicek. I did take notes but half the time I was concentrating so much I forgot LOL. If you don't know, he is the Natural Balance guy. I was a bit worries that he would be touting his products all night but he didn't. He said the main thing to take away from the night is it is the natural balance trimming style that is important, get that right and what you do or don't put on the foot with some exceptions is largely irrelevant. And everything he talked about just made so much sense, some of it I already knew but those topics were always expanded on.

We covered the feral horse studies he had done, how they compared to current domestic horses and the things we put them through. The most interesting thing was that the lameness's that we are seeing now are completely different than what was going on even 50 years ago. Horses mainly travelled at slow to medium speeds in a straight line. Now horses are turning more and more circles. They aren't really built for turning in circles which is why there are so many new things cropping up. The coolest picture I saw was they put black ink on a board and rubbed the feral horses hooves on the board. What they found was that the frog took up the most ink. Some sole around the outside of the foot but barely any wall did. Fascinating.

We did a lot of basic anatomy which was really cool. I was fascinated at how important the check ligament at the back of the leg is and how much of a role it plays in a horses movement and the shape of their foot. If you have a short check ligament, you have a club foot, if you have a long check ligament you have a long low foot. Another interesting point was that the pairs of feet do not need to be the same. If your horse has a club foot, let it be a club foot. If you try and fix it by taking the heels down all you are doing is putting added strain on the internal structures of the foot. Same as trying to build heels in a low slung foot.

We did a lot of stuff on the breakover and the importance of the sole callous. Having a long toe means that the internal structures of the foot are put under a lot of additional strain just lifting the hoof off the ground. The sole callous is so important as that is where the point of the coffin bone is, if you weaken that, you put the coffin bone at risk of descending.

We learned about how a large deviation at the top of the foot by the coronary band indicates a thin sole. We learned about hoof mapping to find the centre of articulation and where the coffin bone sits in the hoof.

The section on mediolateral hoof balance was really interesting especially since I had just done some work on it for an assignment. Basically the traditional may of finding the M/L balance is fraught with error as it all depends on where you stand to look at the hoof. His way of finding the M/L balance is to look at how much wall there is around the sole. If there is the same amount of wall over the top of the sole all the way around, the hoof is in M/L balance. If one side is higher or lower then the hoof is not in balance. I'm so trying that with Fox today. He also emphasised how bad it is for a horse's M/L balance to be out. It compacts the coffin joint on one side and causes joint pain and difficulty moving and the horse eventually changes the position of his leg to make it more comfortable.

He then showed some remedial work done on pigeon toed horses. Amazing. The traditional way of trimming a pigeon toed horse doesn't see where the proper imbalance is and therefore trims it the wrong way. His way looks at all these different points and measurements and finds out that it is actually the lateral side of the hoof the is longer and trims accordingly. And you have a happy horse who stands straight.

He also talked a lot about how the balance of the feet affects the body. Out of balance feet often mean an out of balance body. So all this stuff got me thinking about how Fox's crazy feet have contributed to his overall going and body issues. What came first I guess is a kind of chicken or the egg kind of thing but it is definitely something I'm going to talk over with my trimmer and see if we can get Fox's feet straightened out really well. There is a workshop for farriers and trimmers today that I really hope he is going to. At the end, someone asked a question about body work that I didn't hear properly but Gene said if the feet aren't balanced you can do all the body work you like but unless you sort the feet out not much is going to change. So that's what I'm going to do.

By the way, you know it's cold when the fridges seems warm and your olive oil has solidified.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Fox and I doing the Beginners level ODE before everything went pear shaped. By the way, I didn't know how little the jumps were going to be LOL.

I have been mulling over this problem since I saw those photos of Fox's feet. The thing that bothers me the most is I can't tell when it all started. Has he always been like that or is there something that has happened with me that I haven't noticed? I think it was there before his accident in October as the physio mentioned that the mediolateral balance of those two feet were out in particular that back one. But she blamed it on the farrier which now I don't think is the case. Poor guy I feel a bit bad now. Not that he minded me not calling anymore cause Fox was a bit of a pain to do.

Another thing that makes me think it is a long term thing is that he's always been a pain with his back feet. Ever since I got him he's been giving farriers and trimmers and me grief. It was one of the things I attributed him to being a crazy horse. Now I'm not so sure and am more inclined to think that it is uncomfortable for him to lift his back legs like that.

I thought I knew about horses when I got Fox but never having owned my own, I always put the difficult stuff in other people's laps. Not intentionally but it was like they told me what to feed, what gear to use, the farrier looked after the feet etc. So in a lot of ways I was totally ignorant. Which is not excusing myself for not noticing it earlier, I just genuinely wouldn't have known what to look for.

From my research I kind of know what is wrong and the general outcome of these types of problems which isn't particularly good depending on where in the back/pelvis the problem actually is but I have no idea how to fix it. I am very reluctant to use the physio again as after the all this research, some of the things she says just seem like rubbish. But she is a qualified physiotherapist so I could be the one that is wrong. The only other local is the above farrier that the physio thought was doing a bad job. He does some chiro stuff with the local standardbred racing horses. But I have no idea what his knowledge is like. I used him at the start of the year when he said Fox's hip was out and put it back in. So he may be worth a try. The other person isn't a therapist as such but she has a heat gun thing that detects where inflammation is. But since I kind of already know where it is it might be pointless. I could be wrong though.

The really frustrating thing is I can do all the rehab I like, poles and hills and ponying him but none of it will change the fact that there is something actually wrong that this stuff just won't fix. And I guess it all boils down to money. If I had unlimited funds, I would be trying all these things just in case one of them would work. I would get his whole body x-rayed as long as it didn't require sedative LOL. But I don't. I run two horses on $80 a week which in the winter with the extra hay, doesn't stretch that far. When Smurf goes, which there is a good chance of as the lady decided the other horse was a bit green she just has to sell her current horse, it will free up a bit extra. Even if it was purely my own money, I would be making myself broke trying to sort his out but it isn't. And because the situation is no longer an emergency like it was in October, I don't get allocated anything extra. And if I could physically work extra hours I would but even the extra four I do really stretches things. I have six assignments due before the 6th of September plus all the required reading. According to my course notes I should be doing 40-50 hours study a week plus I work 20 hours a week, have a house to keep, horses and dogs to look after.

But pity party over, I chose all these things so basically I just have to suck it up and deal.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It' a Miracle!!!

We've had sunshine for nearly two weeks!! It's awesome. Cold but awesome. This morning at 10 when I went to take covers off the ground was still frozen solid.

Still no buyer for Smurf but I've had a good time getting out and about with the couple of people who have come to look at him. The lady who I think would be perfect from a previous post has decided to sell her boy, so it interested again but is going to see another horse this weekend. I've got a feeling that she will prefer this other one but we will see.

It's been very interesting to see how Smurf reacts to different people. He really is one smart cookie despite not getting clicker training at all LOL. I gave up, not that I really needed to do it with him just wanted to see what I could get him to do. With the lady I would like him to go to he is a perfect snuggly angel. She even got him looking absolutely wonderful in the arena despite him not liking schooling very much. She has exactly the right mix of firmness and softness to keep him in line without being harsh.

One of the other women who came to see him was lovely but I really think he just didn't take to her at all. He just shut down right from the beginning. And when he figured out that all she would do when he put his head down to eat was tap him on the bum with her hand it was all over LOL. He just walked all over her after that even when she tried to do ground work it was just a mess. I felt really sorry for her.

I've been riding Fox when I've taken the people out and he has been great. I don't think he is sore a the moment as he is more than happy to run and kick in the paddock. It's always a sign that he is sore when he doesn't want to do that. He doesn't seem to have any twinges along his back either. We still have the persistent funny walking. For one of my assignments I had to do a conformation study on two horses which involved filming them moving and analysing how they stand and their feet and everything. Was very interesting. When he trots his near hind swings inwards but his off hind swings more the outside. His near hind foot and off front foot are all funky. The mediolateral balance is a lot better than is used to be but the solar view is quite distorted. To my limited knowledge that is indicating a compensation for something further up.

Off Front

Near Hind

Compared to the other diagonal pair.

Off Hind

Near Front

Thoughts anyone?