'By reading and interpreting the
muscles in the horse's body,
the relationship of the hoof to the upper body can be ascertained.
Interpretation is the key to treatment.'
This one statement represents the conerstone of Ashley
Davis' methodology. There exists a direct relationship between muscle
soreness and the foot and consequently makes the muscles the only
barometer with which to determine the cause of the soreness in the
horse. Ashley looks at the horse as a whole and not at just which
muscles are sore or at just the leg where he is lame. Anything that
affects a muscle or a group of muscles can cause changes in the
movement of the horse. If a foot is out of balance it makes the
muscles sore, and then movement is restricted. Balancing the foot
will relieve the sore muscles. Soreness is detected by paplpating
"Muscles control all movements
of the horse."
In conjunction with palpating a horse's muscles, Ashley
uses infrared (IR) imaging to aid in his assesment. Ashley uses
an IR camera that is highly sensitive and extremely accurate and
produces high-quality images. The camera has FDA approval and is
used by medical doctors. The IR images demonstrate temperature differentials,
and heat is generally indicative of soreness. When dealing with
muscle soreness, cold areas may actually be more significant than
hot areas. The cold spots can indicate a lack of adequate blood
flow in the muscles since the muscles are in a state of contraction.
These are the muscles that show soreness when palpated. Hot areas
show that there is inflammation present and are usually caused by
Ashley believes that for all horses in competition
a proper shoeing schedule should not be over 6 weeks, although there
may some slight variation depending on the climate. If there is
too long an interval between shoeings, the hoof capsule grows out
from under the bony column and the support is lost.
Ashley has worked with farriers from all over the
US and occassionally he goes to Canada and Mexico. Together, they
have definitely proven that the back and muscle soreness in horses
can be directly related to the foot. If the problem is related to
the foot, then the farrier is the only one who can relieve the pain.
(He was asked, and went, to work on the Canadian Equestrian Team
Horses before they went to the'92 Olympics in Spain)
The farrier is the 'Cornerstone'
of the horse industry. Farriers are the only ones that can correct
these problems, but first, they have to be aware of the issues.
Ashley is available for consultation to help your farrier address
these training issues and muscle soreness problems for your horses.
Ashley Davis - Equine Sports
Trainer and Performance Consultant
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