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January 2020 - Anglesey - Assessment, Imaging & Gait Analysis - Day1

And here we are again, I feel that this is the year everything is truly going to start to drop into place and I will be more astounded, more unsure of what I thought I knew and yet more knowledgeable on areas I perhaps hadnt even considered, all rolled into one.

It's a long old drive up to North Wales from home but the trip didnt feel half as bad, as I was travelling up with Jenni and Charlene and knew we would find plenty to chat about - homework, christmas, life and once in Wales "how the heck do you pronounce that?!?" and having many laughs trying.
The fog that descended when we pulled into Wales sadly didn't lift at all and so we missed the beauty of the surrounding areas the whole way in and couldn't even see Conwy Castle when we passed by.

We have a lovely little upside down house, complete with games room, so Jenni and I got on with the important task of finding out who's worst at pool (was never going to be who's best) and not surprisingly- Me :)

In the morning we headed to Richard's place and the warmth of a log fire for a day of assessment methods and gait analysis.
We discussed the importance of focusing on the back and ribs section but still taking into account the whole horse when condition scoring and how and where to take the digital pulse, and how you can narrow down the area of pain depending on where you can feel it.
We also discussed footfall analysis and understanding the gaits of the horse, complete with practical demonstration by Richard on how a horse moves in each pace across the floor.
- I had never considered that the order of hoof placement in each gait, falling out of order could possibly signify lameness problems or discomfort further up (although poor training can also account for it). For example in trot, one of the diagonal pair hitting fractionally later could indicate pain as can the front foot landing before the hind in the diagonal canter stride (although the hind landing ahead of the front is normal as the horse moves up a gear towards gallop).

Following a discussion on how to identify lameness when the horse is in motion, specifically being trotted up, we moved onto watching video clips to see what we could identify.
This was one of those revelations I mentioned earlier for hind limb lameness I had always looked for the hip on the lame side hitching up higher than the sound side but today I realised that doesn't work and in fact, poor muscle tone can completely throw that visual marker out. When I started to look correctly across both hips, and then correlating the moment the hip rose with the foot landing, I got it and on the videos we watched on simple hind limb lameness it began to make sense.
Unfortunately it's not all so simple as that sounds and when the horse is lame on more than one leg it is not so clear cut, however it helped me enormously to start to understand and the more horses I see move, the more I should start to get my eye in for identifying more subtle problems.

Tomorrow we are heading to Freshfields rescue sanctuary for getting hands on with condition scoring, taking digital pulses and gait analysis.

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