Monday, 17 January 2011

Finding Own Feet - Kingsley in January

I've been trying to find a moment to write an update on Kingsley all day today and finally here we go.
Here is a link to the post made by Nic which includes photos of his feet.


And here is the footage Nic and Pauline managed to take in between downpours. I've watched it many times but have a look yourself before reading the rest of this post. Feel free to comment on what you think about his movement. I think his soundness issues are rather unique and complex so in a strange way make for an interesting analysis. Remember that before being sent to Rockley Farm he had had 4 different vets giving 4 different opinions and even more treatment suggestions. Including PTS. 


Kingsley - walking comparison from Nic Barker on Vimeo.


Kingsley - trotting comparison from Nic Barker on Vimeo.

I think that in the grand scheme of things he is improving non-stop. As with any on-going process there will be slower periods and faster ones and moments when discomfort increases for one reason or another.
The January lunge footage is after he went for a hack so I am guessing he was tired. He looks much more confident in trot on the circle in both directions and despite the fact he rushes the sequence remains correct (which it didn't in October when he was unable to trot on a circle at all).
He is loading his forehand a lot which is either due to tiredness or perhaps he somehow figured out stretching down is comfortable for his back.
He moves freer through the shoulders and his stride is longer in both walk and trot.

There is also something I can't quite put my finger on but the only way I can describe it is that there seem to be more propulsion going from his hindquarters onto the forehand. When you see him in December video he trots calmer without rushing but whatever push he creates behind doesn't seem to travel through his body forwards. On latest January footage he looks like there is some beginnings of impulsion and his body is being pushed into each step rather than pulled into it by the shoulders/front legs. What do you think?

The main problem is of course the way he uses his body. He is built downhill but so are many other horses and this isn't the reason not to move in a better balance. His hindlegs show a lot of weakness and if you watch him on the right rein you will notice he doesn't really have much pushing power in the left hindleg at all.
The added issue of lunging is that, contrary to popular belief, it doesn't help with bending/lateral stretching of the horse. In fact, the horse can happily move his body at an angle to the circle line even with all the gadgets in the world.
We briefly chatted about it with Nic and she suggested going back to long lining which I agree would be a good idea.

In November I felt a little impatient and really wanted to see the changes in him quickly but the more I watch him now I feel that he is doing some grand work there and he needs time to adjust. His feet are still growing and as you will read from Nic's blog, the medial lateral balance of his hooves isn't good.

I had a little play with one of Nic's photos, not sure if I did it right but look at the difference in the hight/shape of the inside and outside hoof walls:


If you take into consideration how much this hoof still has to grow to allow him to balance better then I think the improvements so far are more than we could ask for.

He continues to carry his tail in line with the spine which is great as he used to crook it to the side. His hocks remain straight and he doesn't move his right hind leg sideways in walk as he used to.
I guess all we can do is to remain patient and let him find his own feet.
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