Barefoot rehab exercise regimes

Morgan123

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Hello all

If you've 'rehabbed' or brought a barefoot horse back into work - can you give me an example of how you managed the workload - how many weeks walking, how far did you start with, how did you know when to increase it and how much did you increase it by? When did you start trotting?? Etc etc. Just interested in other's experiences really.

A track is sadly not a possibility but plenty of walk work with mixed ground is ongoing.
 

ycbm

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I walk in hand on tarmac on at least two days in every three, for as long as the horse is happy to do it, up to one hour. Once the horse is landing flat or heel first, I ride in walk for about a month, then start short trots, and stay on straight lines until the horse has been sound in trot for a couple of weeks. If it gets less sound, I go back a step. When the horse is hacking on hard surfaces two days out of three for a hour with some trotting and is sound, I will do some arena work but never very much on circles for a couple of months. Then I will do as much a the horse is happy and sound to do. I've done several and advised on several more and at four months they have all popped a small fence, though one was still in front boots at that stage, but he was IR, so had very weak feet at the start.

In my experience, if you have no track then as much turnout as possible is essential, and provided the horse is comfortable there's no such thing as walking too much (in hand or ridden).

Good luck with yours.
 

NellRosk

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This is what worked for me and my gelding:

-Walked out in hand every night on smooth tarmac for about 2-3 weeks unbooted. I started at about 10 minutes and just increased it gradually until he was doing about 20 minutes.
-After about 3 weeks I'd walk him inhand on a stony track letting him pick his way or started hacking booted for about 30-40 mins.
-He then came on to hard standing for winter and it was dark in evenings so I could only hack at weekends. He'd meander about in the day on the hardstanding.
-I took his shoes off in September and now we're at the point of hacking unbooted for a few hours at the weekend and now it's sunlight I'm starting to get out and about in the week too. These are only short hacks though of about half an hour.

And with regards to trotting you'll know when your horse is ready! Mine felt a bit reluctant at first so we just walked until he felt ready. I took him out for a hack a few months after taking his shoes on and he bucked his way out the yard and then literally powered the whole hack in trot/ trying to canter. It was at that point I knew he was happy to trot :D

Hope this helps!
 

Morgan123

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ok great thank you. He lives out 24/7.
He is walking on mixed surface, either in hand or ridden, for up to an hour and landing heel first or flat (gets flatter as he gets tireder). I've added in the occasional rein back to trot if the ground has been very nice just to spice things up and because I want to get him working form behind - just haven't been sure really how much to do.

He's been barefoot for 9 years already but after 2 years of on/off mystery hoof lameness I'm pretty cautious. I reckon I'll double what everyone does for a normal rehab and hope for the best! Thank you.
 

NellRosk

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That's strange!! But sounds as if things are going in the right direction :) Did his hooves change shape when he went lame or did everything stay the same? Did you have scans and xrays etc? I hate mystery lameness, would rather know what I'm dealing with :(
 

Morgan123

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Yes multiple sets of x rays, MRIs, multiple different remedial hoof people, maxed out the insurance, tried remedial shoes as well as remedial barefoot, hoof boots, etc. They didn't change shape particularly but he was wearing them oddly (getting pointy toes), and had multiple abscesses in one specific place. He was bilaterally lame to start with then just the one hoof where the abscesses occurred. It's only fractional lameness (on a circle on concrete) but he is quite brave about pain so I figure this is pretty bad for him. It's a long story. Anyway, seems to be sound now (fingers crossed!!!) so hearing people's rehab barefoot exercise regimes is useful, I'm re-starting again....!!
 

ycbm

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Have recently read a very interesting article that states that heel first landings are not what we should be looking for! Link is below if you would like a read

http://enlightenedequine.com/2013/11/27/the-myth-of-the-heel-first-landing-part-1/

This article is absolute rubbish, I have read it in detail previously.

The fact is that every lame horse that goes into a barefoot rehab is toe first landing except for a very few landing flat. And every horse I've ever heard of that comes out of a barefoot rehab sound lands heel first.

It has also been shown in experiments on cadaver legs (Rooney) that a toe first landing damages the deep digital flexor tendon inside the foot

If you read the article, also read the comments, there are many, many comments disagreeing (if they haven't been deleted).
 
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Morgan123

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Thank you, yes I've seen this article too. Basically I'm not sure what to think (biomechanist friend says similar argument is ongoing with humans too!) so I'm just going on what looks right for him when he is comfy.
 
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