Saturday, 18 April 2009

Heuschmann Clinic - Day One - Dr. Sven Kold

Dr. KOLD – How to Approach the minimally lame / multi-limb lame horse

Dr Kolds lectures were designed or vets / therapists dealing with lameness issues on a regular and diagnosing level. Some of it was a little technical for me (DOH!) but it was still very interesting to listen to and he was obviously a very knowledgeable person within his field.

Questions to ask yourself:
Is he lame or cant he do it? OR Is he NOT lame and WONT do it?
Is he lame in so many limbs that lameness becomes invisible (bilateral symmetry)
Is he lame or just not living up to expectations
Is there a real problem – needs a diagnoses

Reasons horses do not perform:
Breathing difficulties
Sore feet
Core Lesions

When carrying out a diagnoses BE COMMITTED! Continue until completed. Investigations take time / money. Good facilities are need to investiage – a variety of different surfaces and different riders. Good professional riders acan mask / correct early symptoms by their riding.

Vets / Therapisits must possess knowledge of different equine sports – this is aquired by observing a large number of ‘normal’ horses and getting a base line or getting ‘your eye in’

Ability to recognise lack of athletiscm / suitable temperament / co-ordination / balance under a rider. Pick the best horse for the job. You will have more problems trying to make a dressage star from an unsuitable mount due to its body not being designed for the job. Be honest about YOUR capabilities as a rider and about whether you horse can physically DO what you are asking it too long term. Give your horse the best chance right from the start by being honest about the partnership.

Balance and power are AQUIRED and NOT available in a young horse.

Flexion tests should NOT be read as a stand alone test – only as part of the whole investigation. Often time, more information is gained by DOING the flexion than from the trot up. Flex lower joints FIRST then move higher. Also watch the horse inwalk – Stringhalt / shivering are easier tosee at the walk.

SYMPTOMS often reflect the OCCUPATION!

Racehorse ‘hanging’ Jumpers ‘hurdling’ Dressage ‘evasions’ etc

Look for changes in lathering / bit acceptance / audible changes in rhythm stride / teeth grinding / grunting / change in outline / rider inability to sit

Lack of lathering indicates a LOCKED BACK

The coffin joint is the most common reason of lameness in performance horses.

XRAYS are only static pictures of dynamic processes in the past. In otherwords, do not relyheavily on x-rays alone. They are only a small piece of information to solve the puzzle.

Can operate by removing fragments / Joint Lavage (washing / flossing joint) / Joint support (farriery) / Joint Rehab (correct training)

Data must be documented for reference points and measuring success and negative reponses.


Restricting effect of back pain.

I principle (!!!) dressage horses ‘shouldn’t’ have back pain as they SHOULD be working over the back in optimum balance!

In reality dressage esp at higher levels often fatigues the back and leads to injury through incorrect OR / AND overtraining.

Many horses believed to have a sore back have primary problems with Multi Limb Lameness. Lunge assessment first and look at the back from overhead and behind to check for asymmetries in muscle development.

T15 – T16 is a high statistical area of impinging spines
T12 – T16 is a high statistical area of Supraspinus Ligament tears

Kissing spines MAY be as a result of soft tissue damage in the spine area. In acute cases there is enlargement of the Supraspinus ligament – in chronic cases the ligament is atrophied.

We were shown some very interesting (and horrific) slides of back wear and tear including kissing spines, which is Dr. Kolds field of work. He also showed us some post op pictures of vertebrae that has been operated on to remove the ‘cap’ of vertebrae and hence release the pressure in the impinging spinal processes.

He also talked us through his rehab routine which he said was very traditional!! And made no apologies for it! He explained that it was a wasted of time operating on a horse if the owners then put it in the field and it either did nothing and got fat and stiff or honed about and did even more damage! So he advocated box rest and regular hand walking to start. He then advocated the use of the pessoa for the next satge of rehab which was for exercising and strengthening the back. He showed some video clips which caused a bit of discussion!! The clips did show a horse in a slightly overbent position – certainly more than what is optimum in MY opinion but I also didn’t think it was ROLKUR as some slightly hysterical comments were made lol!

I think Dr Kold felt a little uncomfortable showing the clips after Gerds lecture – but I am glad he did – and I was also glad that he might review the positioning in future and was also glad he was big enough to say that he is continually learning.
Dr Kold explained that not a lot of people knew how to lunge correctly and he is correct! I do have to say, my opinion that day was the pessoa at that setting, whilst not IDEAL, was better than a horse running around hollow backed on the end of a lunge line after a kissing spines op! But – like I say, just my own opinion.

I very much enjoyed both lectures although I feel Dr Heuschmann’s lecture was probably more suited to the audience in terms of content! I went away feeling stimulated but also a little sad that we seem to cause such a LOT of damage to our horses through ignorance and even worse through our desire to win at all costs.
I think its inevitable that SOME damage will be caused by riding our horses regardless of how conscientious we are, but I do think with good HORSEMANSHIP it is not detrimental to our horses longterm and they are able to function with a high level of life worth

1 comment:

Cindy said...

I have just joined this blog, I found this particular post very interesting, as I am starting a rehab project on an older horse with stringhalt.
I do not ride Dressage, but have so much respect for the skill and training that goes into it. Plus I am quickly learning that Dressage riders have some of the very best blogs!