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Progressive Hoofcare Blog 

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Category: General

  1. Question? do your horses Ears play a part in reducing concussion.

    Posted on

    Ok it’s an odd question, but technically they do.

    In a talk I have been giving recently (A Canter Through the Equine Foot) I talk about the digital cushion and its role as a shock absorber. How it dissipates the tremendous forces that the foot must deal with by drawing blood into the foot (I prefer Dr R Bowker theories to the more traditional pushes blood up the leg).

    I also look briefly at Pascal’s law; it states that pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted instantly and equally in all direction. This fluid is blood. The enclosed system is the circulatory system. The horse uses its entire circulatory system to dissipate the concussive forces generated when it runs, jumps, props to a stop. As the ears have a blood supply, they do indeed play a part in reducing concussion, so do the lips, liver, fleshy part of the tail anywhere there is blood. I use the ears to demonstrate how the whole horse is involved.

    “The function of a smart structure is usually intimately and inextricably entwined with the function of all other parts of the body” (J. Thomason).

    I love this quote and it goes some way to explain why I think the above question and answer are worth remembering.

    When I am slipping on that head collar, or bridle, or just giving a good ear rub to my horses, I am thinking of how connected the horse’s ears are to the rest of the horse. If I want a healthy horse I must focus on the whole horse and not just one part. If I have a problem, I must look globally for the answer, whether it is diet or emotional wellbeing, every part is connected.

    So, I know that the original question is daft, but it does remind me when I am looking for answers to look everywhere. That the horses we all love are so highly complex that the answer we seek may just be surprising.

  2. Lets be Positive

    Posted on

    Let’s Celebrate the Positive

    Progressive Hoofcare

    Over the last few weeks I have had lots of lovely comments from my clients. I am happy to say that this is the norm. I have however had a really lovely email from a new client thanking me for spending time with her horse. Allowing the horse time, and working with the horse, who has arthritis and finds things a little awkward.   Perhaps this sounds like I am boasting, blowing my own trumpet, but shouldn’t this be the norm. Shouldn’t we all treat horses in a positive way. Give them time, work with empathy. Shouldn’t we all learn to understand what we must give in order for a horse to give us what we want.

    We should only ever accept positive attitudes towards our horses, whether from a vet, barefoot trimmer, farrier, physio or any other professional. We should not allow aggression, irritability, rudeness (to the horse), belligerence from any professional towards our horses.

    I know my own horse handling skills are a work in progress and will take a lifetime to master. There is always more to learn, but positivity will always be the foundation.

    Negativity to horses doesn’t stop at handling and understanding but finds its way into our culture, the way we think about horses, we often see them as weak/delicate. We have ingrained old wives’ tales about white feet being weaker than black feet. Phrases such as typical T.B – as in has flat feet (even though in won’t have been born with flat feet). We blame the horse.

    We often see the equine foot as weak, when it most definitely is not. We worry about, chips and cracks although the vast majority are easily treated and grow out quickly. Thrush - horses have had thrush in their feet for at least 1.3 million years and in most cases, it just smells bad and is easily treated. Yes, it is natural to worry about our horses, but we should not do this to the point of obsession. We should celebrate them. Be positive about them they are a true wonder.