Just returned from my most recent Hoof Care Tour in Europe, I want to share some of my observations and learning experiences with you.
In my blog from last month I told you of my travel and clinic schedule in Europe for this fall. How did it all turn out?
The first workshop was held in southern Bavaria, in close proximity to the Alps. In the photo below the summit of the Wendelstein.
With the warm Foen winds prevailing we could still comfortably work and sit outside during this mid October weekend. That is not always a given in these northern latitudes.
On site organization was performed in an outstanding fashion by Mrs. Wiebke Pohl and Bianca Schiffner, president of NHC Practioners in Germany.
Starting out with a PowerPoint presentation about the function and importance of the digital cushion and lateral cartilage, the group discussion then focused on the conformation and movement of horses and how this all relates to hoof growth and development. Nutrition, conditioning, environmental factors, ground conditions and dental health all play a big part in hoof health and hoof care.
This horse is on stage, being evaluated by the group.
After getting a good idea of how this horse's conformation influences the hoof development, I always check the teeth for occlusion and alignment to rule out any teeth problems that might adversely affect hoof health and growth.
Pathology can affect the stance of horses. The horse pictured below was standing under. Not quite sickle hocked, but getting close.
A close up reveals a long toe and no heel to speak of to support the bone column. The heel bulbs are almost touching the ground.
Shortening the toes did help, but was not enough to support the bone column enough.
Because of this camped under stance, the heels are always loaded and pressured to the maximum. Therefore they will not have a chance to grow, especially if the horse is bare footed and the heels are experiencing high abrasion.
I should add that we want to rule out any hock or pelvis pathology, because then our approach outlined below would only function as a Band-Aid. We also assured ourselves that the heels were not underrun and the horn tubules in the heel area were still running in a straight line without any bends.
After setting time of about 10 minutes, we rasp the excess material and fine tune with the Dremel.
Through this procedure we were able to change the stand enough so this horse is now standing much more comfortably and can support his body through his hind legs.
We were able to change the angle by 4 degrees with this method, resulting in a noticeable betterment not only in the stance, but also in the ease of movement.
Moving on after this therapeutical trim and application, the group worked in teams trimming and gluing. After my initial demonstrations, the participants all had ample opportunity to practice Hoof repairs, EasyShoe gluing and Easyboot Gluing using mainly Vettec Adhere, Soleguard and Vettec Equipak for filling. We used mostly the EasyShoes Performance and Sport.
For me, it is always fun working with people who are genuinely interested in their horses welfare and contribute with their experience to the group. This was another outstanding group of professionals, who are a true asset to the community of Hoof Care Practitioners. This kind of positive attitude and dynamics make it all worthwhile for me to travel half around the world.
In next months blog, we are continuing our travel to Zurich, Switzerland. So stay tuned.
From The Bootmeister