Tuesday, June 17, 2008

About Club Feet & Beautiful Meets Her Mentor



Cat Loesch, a wonderful Mustang Mentor from Spokane WA, came to see us yesterday and today to help us get Beautiful haltered and ready for the trimmer. She also brought me the video "From Wild to Willing", which I'll be watching tonight.

Cat has a heart for Mustangs--and a vast knowledge of the gentling process.

She brought a long, cotton rope with leather tassels at each end to work around Beautiful much the way you do the bamboo pole. Beautiful Girl, however, made it difficult work to get and keep the rope in place. Her defensive mechanism is to put her head in the corner and her butt out, and turn the other direction, effectively flipping the rope off her back. Also, something about the incline of her withers kept slipping the rope back off onto the thicker part of the neck which is tougher to control.

There was a lot of work done on facing up and turning toward Cat rather than away.

I think we spent three hours with Beautiful that session--Cat working the rope around Beautiful Girls neck, legs, and torso, approaching her with the halter and rubbing her as far as up as she could get with the goal of slipping the halter over her face.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time since I had family coming to town, and had to quit for the day. But we had accomplished desensitizing her to much more of her body, with Cat getting her hands on the opposite sides of her body and up near her head--new territory.

Today I went out in the morning and did more of the same. I was able to get up near her ears. Cat arrived later in the afternoon and took over until I had to leave to take the kids to the dentist. I know she was rubbing both sides of her face, under her jaw, and all over her body. She stayed longer, so I'll hear more later.

All in all, it's slow going. Maybe because of Beautiful's age, she's more insecure. Cat says it has been easier to work with two year olds who are more forward. Beautiful is taking things slow. I still haven't scheduled the farrier since I don't know when she'll be ready. In fact, at this point, we're considering our options for making a chute.

There is a great site on club feet: http://www.client.teagasc.ie/docs/advisory/ruraldev/progs/equine/farriery.pdf

I can paste a bit of their conversation here--the part about grading degrees of club foot and what treatment is recommended:

Grading Club Feet

Grade 1:
• foot just perceptively at greater angle than the normal 45 degrees;
• very slightly broken forward HPA (hoof pastern axis);
• gait slightly stilted and heels not fully coming to the ground

Some heel trimming every 2 weeks
Reduced exercise
Consider stable confinement

Grade 2:
• dorsal wall very upright, may be concave
• broken forward HPA and fullness at coronary band

Immediate box restriction
Reduce heels gradually
Consider toe extension
Unless rapid improvement, consult vet

Grade 3:
• dorsal wall very upright
• may be concave with broken forward HPA
• may be excessive wear and tear at the toe
• fullness at coronary band
• sole in front of frog is flat or convex due to internal pressure from pedal bone
• heels are not on the ground

Immediate box restriction
Reduce heels gradually
Consider a toe extension
Vet advice regarding check ligament desmotomy

Grade 4:
• dorsal wall vertical or knuckled forward
• leg camped out in front
• remodelling of bone and ligaments is chronic
• unlikely can be salvaged

Ballerina Syndrome:
• walks on tips of toes
• may have appeared overnight
• initially the foot shape is good

Immediate complete box restriction
Toe extensions
Facilities for the Farrier

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