WORKSHOP: Anatomy and Lameness

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Anatomy and Lameness Workshop

Part 1:  Hoof Anatomy and Function

 This session focuses on how hoof conformation and mechanics affect tendon pressure, joint alignment and circulation, and create stress on the laminae.  Discussion covers how trimming and shoeing strategies affect hoof anatomy, blood flow and tendon pressure.  Preserved hooves are used for illustration. 

Part 2:  Laminitis

 Lecture covers the primary causes of laminitis as well as the pathology of the laminitic hoof.  Trimming and shoeing techniques to relieve pressure and provide support are discussed as well as suggestions for preventing laminitis such as weight control, conditioning, lifestyle choices, and safe feed storage. 

Part 3:  Front-end Lameness and Leg Structure

 Anatomy and physiology of leg alignment and structure and their effects on tendon pressure and impact are covered. How body conformation and moement patterns can affect conditions such as navicular syndrome, tendon and suspensory problems. Discussion also covers trimming and shoeing strategues to relive pressure and provide support, as well as exercise programs to strengthen and improve movement patterns.

Part 4: Lameness of the Hind end

 Topics covered in the section include: hoof anatomy and its effect on the hind end; mechanical structure of the hind leg and how it affects tendon pressure and impact; hock and stifle problems; soft tissue damage vs. joint or bone damage; hind suspensory strains; trimming and shoeing strategies to relieve pressure and provide support; and exercise programs to strengthen and improve movement patterns.

Real Life Example from Case Studies – The Slide Presentation

I knew this horse as a 4 or 5 year old. She was a real nice quiet kid’s horse with a level top line and wasn’t downhill at all. Sassy was sold and moved several times and I lost track of her until she was about 18. At that point, one of my customers was thinking about buying her but was concerned because she was so downhill. Sassy was also having lameness issues in the front end which the previous owner and farrier addressed by focusing on the front feet. This was not working. When I started working with this horse, I addressed problems with the hind end. Getting more flexion in the hind end allowed her to develop muscle in that part of her body, and this in turn helped her to unload the weight from her front feet. Front end lameness issues disappeared as she became more balanced and able to shift her weight. This is a good example of how an unbalanced body (front to back) can over time lead to unsoundness. I’m pleased to report that she went on to have a long, useful life working with kids as a lesson horse.

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