Thursday, December 22, 2016
Today, we pulled Heyday Black Hawk's shoes for the winter and we studied where he had progressed to in the past year. "Luke" is an 11 yr. old Morgan gelding. Before arriving at our farm, he had 2+ years off from regular work. He had had good care, just no serious regular working exercise.
He arrived here in mid summer of 2015 so he only worked a few months before being laid off for the winter. He started up again in April of 2016 and worked 4-6 days a week until early November. He is being trained and used as a carriage driving horse. He competed lightly and gave many lessons.
So....you see in this photo the 'fever rings" on both front feet? (red arrows) Generally, it is thought that these rings become evident after elevated temperature, infection, or inflammation that disrupted a horse's circulation and affected hoof growth. The position, mid hoof wall, is such that experience tells me and my farrier that these rings began around 6 months ago. So what happened to Luke 6 months ago that might be the cause ?
He has no record of any health issues, no episodes of elevated temperature. No illness. No injury. No significant change in diet or routine, except more exercise.
Well, go back to this statement: "these rings become evident after elevated temperature, infection, or inflammation that disrupted his circulation". The key here is "circulation". What disrupted his circulation about 6 months ago? The records show that he was treated by Dr. Ann Christopherson with acupuncture in mid May and again in July of 2016. . Dr Anne treats the whole horse. That means mainly blood circulation, energy. Her goal is to restore the horse to it's optimal physical and mental condition within the limitations of its genetics and previous permanent damage to the horse whether thru historical poor physical and psychological care and misguided training, and/or traumatic injury.
If you look carefully at the left front foot, you will see that the hoof is actually growing out slightly more narrow than it was a year ago, particularly the lateral wall. In other words, the top half above the ring is growing down narrower than the older half below the ring. In this horse's case, this is what we were after. His feet were too spread out and too flat. Sometime early next summer when the fever ring has grown out, he should have grown the foot we are after.
It is my belief that the primary cause of these fever rings are the result of Dr. Anne's acupuncture. She has improved the systemic circulation of this horse, improved the flow of energy through and around his body and also restored a balance of relaxation and tension in his musculature.
A couple of additional factors have gone into his changes over the last year. He has recived two chiropratcic traetmenrs by Scott Hie, in conjunction with the acupuncture. His farrier, Kevin Wade, has been careful to trim him and shoe him to provide proper support. Luke has had correct dental work to ensure his dentition is not adversely affecting his proprioception* . And all of this has supported by good care and proper training aimed at correctly developing him as an athlete.
* For more on the relationship of dentition and proproception: https://tab.bz/proprioception