Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hoof Explorer: Stop Motion Anatomy Video Builds an Equine Foot--But Don't Think About It

The Hoof Explorer anatomy toolbox website is at it again. Be sure to bookmark this little video clip to add to your next PowerPoint presentation. But then sit back and enjoy it.

And stop thinking so hard.

There are many ways to teach science or anatomy or even a step-by-step technique. Teaching involves explaining and breaking down information into chewable, learnable bite-sized pieces. Good teachers do that well, and their students proceed at a predictable, measurable rate.

But we all learn in different ways. When it comes to this blog, many of us speak different languages, view this blog on different devices, and come here from different educational and cultural backgrounds. We're all connected by our interest in the horse's foot and a desire to help horses.

Did they have problems with perspective 100 years ago? Maybe, maybe not. They did have fun hoof models, though. This one, from an old German textbook makes the hoof look like a snap-art Lego set. Professor Dr. Muelling of Leipzig University shows it in his lectures; he is the mastermind of Hoof Explorer, as well. It looks fit for a Wagner operative soundtrack.

Sometimes, taking the predictability of words and concepts and deliberate ordering of information out of the equation is helpful. There's no lecture here. Just watch the video a few times. Stop and start it in a few different places. Listen to the music.

Stop thinking so much, stop worrying about what you know or don't know, what you can or can't name, when it comes to anatomy, or find wrong with a foot, when you see a picture here on the Hoof Blog or on Facebook or look at a horse walking toward you at a racetrack or horse show.

Many times, we are handicapped by our need to be reciting the names of structures or their locations, or putting a label on hoof deformity. But standing back and just watching the whole process and admiring the complete unit has overlooked value.

An individual ligament or artery can be fascinating, but it's the bigger story of the synchronization of the entire distal limb that seems to be getting lost.

When a racehorse trainer announces an equipment change for a runner, there's a flash on the tote board so that bettors are aware that the horse will run under changed circumstances. Sometimes it will say "bar shoes" or "no shoes". More commonly, it will say "blinkers off". Isn't it time for everyone to take the blinkers off when looking at (and thinking about) hooves?
Have you ever used the app "If This Then That" (IFTTT)? It's pretty great. You use it to set up conditional statements for web tasks or...anything, really. The horse's hoof could be one big recipe for IFTTT, because it is all connected. We just forget that what we see as a hoof problem or imperfection in one specific area of the hoof capsule or trimming/shoeing will be felt perhaps in other parts of the foot, in the opposite foot, in the diagonal foot, in the back, in the horse's posture and/or most of all, eventually, in performance.

Sometimes we get hung up on that old can't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees problem. Over the years, I've seen people look at hooves and only be able to see (according to the decade or the teacher) the breakover point, the hoof-pastern alignment, mismatched hoof angles, the depth of the heel bars, the palmar angle of the coffin bone, or the contour of the hairline. On another level, one adaptation to a shoe, one feature of a boot, one built-in characteristic of a trim, is given credit for success, when the entire process was successful. Is one facet really separable from the whole?

It's funny how people single out these isolated characteristics and embrace them. It's also disturbing how much we are influenced by authors, teachers and conference speakers who shape our vision of the hooves in front of us. The end result is that our sincere desire to learn can instead turn into a quest to evaluate (and blame) a single feature, until we have narrowed our view of the interconnected nature of the foot instead of expanding and celebrating it.

More music, please!

Thanks to Hoof Explorer and everyone who realizes we need to take equine hoof education out of the box and give it some air--and even a little music--once in a while.

To learn more:
Meet Hoof Explorer: The Horse's Foot in Three Beautiful Dimensions, Online, For Free

The book of the year for the year of the horse! Click for ordering information.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.  
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