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Progressive Hoofcare Blog 

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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.

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