Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Walk This Way: Cool Hot Walkers Turn Barefoot Transitioning Into a Day at the Beach

For the past few months, I have been researching an article for Hoofcare and Lameness Journal about a company in England that is making what are basically conditioning surfaces for horses that are transitioning to shoelessness. I tried to visit the racing yard in Gloucestershire where these deluxe walkers are installed, but it didn't work out. The designers recently did me a favor and posted their DVD on the Google Video site, so I am link-posting it here for the consideration of all who lurk here and never leave comments.

Here's the deal: if you watch the video, leave a comment here! Just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of the post and a window will open up. You can use your real name (preferred) or just call yourself "anonymous."

I think the concept is terrific; it reminds me of Jean-Marie Denoix's work to identify surfaces for rehabbing horses to bolster their proprioception after layup. Denoix built a track of alternating surfaces, hard and soft, granular and solid, for the horses to trot across.

This video also makes me glad I live close enough to the ocean to ride in the real thing; one of the "surfaces" available is cold salt water.

The next question, of course, is: given the new applications of cryotherapy for laminitis prevention and/or recovery, might these spa walkers spawn a new subset of clinical mini-spas? If so, what might the optimum temperatute be? What are your thoughts?

If that screen doesn't work, try this link:

Note: I don't think you can download this video, you have to go to google's video site to do that, and even then you have to download the google video player. It's best just to watch it here, if you can, or there, if you can't.


Anonymous said...

Very cool!

Warstone said...

I loved the concept. Don't know how helpful it is to have this thing uncovered though especially if one lives in an area with a stronger winter.

I think the concept is a very good one, although I am not very sold on the advantages of the open air and the construction looks a little 'light', I would like to see one and make sure that horses are really safe in it especially thoroughbreds. I have seen many horses in serious training that kick and bite at some of these walkers (I know of one who took to the habit of putting his front legs on top of the gate and walking with his hind end, he found that it was helarious), you would relly need something that holds up.

On the water walkers, I think they are a great idea (again except during winter) but they look to me as if they would be an additional walker to a training program rather than a primary one.

Let me know what your research on the issue tells you.

Elizabeth said...


Wish my farms had one of these!

E Decker

Fran Jurga said...

Maybe they will, one day, Elizabeth.

Did anyone but me marvel at the fact that in soggy old England, where the hoof walls are soft and the periople always shiny, they are submerging the feet even more in water? Is what's good for the tendons and muscle development countered by even softer feet on horses conditioned in these water-walkers? That would be interesting to learn.