carolThe Upside of Rehab

By Carol Gillis

Tendon and ligament injuries are cumulative, not one time events

80% of tendon and ligament injuries occur over time rather than as a bad step, fall or other acute injury. Why? Tendons and ligaments are under large loads for their size and have little margin of safety. If one part of the system is unbalanced, the load becomes excessive and a few fibers are torn. Over time,when enough fibers are torn, clinical signs of poor performance or outright lameness are seen. What causes imbalance? Pain in another limb or another part of the same limb, incorrect shoeing/foot balance, fatigue, insufficient warm up, inadequate training or riding, poor nutrition or illness such as EPM or Lyme’s Disease are some examples.

If one part of the system is unbalanced, the load becomes excessive and a few fibers are torn.

So your horse or dog has been diagnosed with a tendon/ligament injury and you are facing several months of healing. Not what you had in mind, but a great opportunity to detect and correct causative factors, not only to assist healing but to prevent future injury.
In coming months we will provide tips about warning signs that a tendon/ligament injury may be imminent and what to do about them.

The Upside

Most athletes have “holes” in their performance and these may contribute to injury as well as lower results. Rehab is a great time to teach your horse impeccable ground manners, 3 perfect gears at each gait over time, etc. It is a perfect time for your dog to learn to walk quietly on leash prior to faster exercise, to keep “four on the floor” unless asked to do differently, and to pay attention to the handler, etc. Each stage of rehab. is the right time for different tasks that will improve your relationship and make the two of you, no matter how good, an even better team.

In coming months we will provide tips for maximizing the good in each stage of rehab. for tendon and ligament injury.

Reprinted with permission of Carol Gillis at the Ultrasound & Sports Medicine Newsletter


Know The Difference Between Toe Length And Toe Height

If you don’t, you could be putting the sensitive structures too close to the ground

By Mark Milster cindi2

I see a lot of farriers who don’t seem to understand what they’re dealing with when they approach a horse. When they look at a hoof, they’re not sure whether it’s toe long or toe high. Is its heel long or heel high?

Taking Measure

It seems like some are confused by the difference. If you measure from the coronary band to the ground, straight down the dorsal wall or right down the front of the hoof wall, that’s how you determine how long the toe is. If you have a straight edge and you measure straight down to the ground, that’s how high the toe is.

You can do the same thing with the heels. If a horse is standing and you take a ruler, put it on the ground and you measure to its heel, that’s how high its heel is. If you pick the foot up and you measure from the coronary band along the angle of the heel to the end of the heel, that’s how long the heel is.

The reason that’s so important to know is because when you start trimming, a lot of people who see a toe that’s long will approach it like they’re going to trim it from the bottom and get that toe off there. When they’re trimming the height of the toe more than they are the length of the toe, they start getting a flat foot. When you get a flat foot, you’re putting the sensitive structures closer to the ground and changing the angle of the coffin bone when you still have a long toe.

A foot doesn’t grow straight down like a fence post. It goes out…

If you trim a lot off the bottom, you’re affecting the height of the foot. So, you’re putting all of the sensitive structures close to the ground. As a result, you took away the foot that the horse has to stand on. All you have left is that length. Then, if you put a shoe on that foot, set it back and dress the foot back, you have no foot at all for the horse to stand on. When you look at it from the bottom, some people call it depth. I call it height. Other farriers know it, they just don’t know what it’s called.

If you trim a lot off the bottom, you’re affecting the height of the foot…

A Little Bit Of Both

Some take a lot of foot off the front, a lot of length. Others take a lot of height or depth away. But you can’t do a lot of both. You have to do a little bit of both. It’s just a matter of walking up, looking at that horse, and saying, “OK, is this toe long? Ist his toe high? Is this heel high? Is this heel long?”

A foot doesn’t grow straight down like a fence post — it goes out. When I say you do a little of both, it grows out and grows down. When you’re trimming and shoeing a horse, that foot grows out front. When you get done shoeing a horse, draw a line on the pavement where the toe is and draw a line where its heel is. In 5 or 6 weeks when you come back, those marks on the pavement where you stood the horse are going to change. They’re going to grow out. So, you have to trim a little bit of both. have to bring it back and take some off the bottom.

Mark Milster is the son of a horseshoer and grandson of a blacksmith. In his early teens, Milster started helping his father on weekends and during the summers. His tutelage under the elder Milster continued until he graduated from college. International Horseshoeing Hall Of Famer Jim Keith of Tucumcari, N.M.,took Milster under his wing in 1994.“I went out there and paid him $500to spend 5 days with him,” Milster says. “I went back out there just about every weekend for many years.” With hopes of making the American Farriers Team, Milster approached Keith about coaching him. “He told me it would take about 4 years, and that’s exactly what it took. He’s a huge influence on me.” The hard work and dedication paid off for Milster. The Purcell,Okla., farrier was a team member from 1998-2001.


Reprinted with permission of the American Farrier Journal