Lameness: Video Diagnosing and Rehab

Lameness: Video Diagnosing and Rehab

Tuesdays with Tony

This ‘riding of horses’ thing amazes me. First, that they let you humans do it. Second, how much devotion you humans have to it. I wish my minions had that level of devotion to scratching my chin just right all day long. That would make me a happy cat. Where am I going with this ‘level of devotion’ thing? I helped analyze videos this week. You may have an idea about what this means. I thought popcorn and soda, but in reality it’s the analysis of every footfall, every wiggle, every head movement, and even what the human is doing while a horse is doing what it does. In the end, the rider had very concrete exercises to deal with the issues this horse was having.


It started with a “left shift when jumping” problem. The rider came to my Docs because her horse was shifting hard to the left. She wanted to eliminate a pain or physical problem. Always a wise idea. Unlike cats, most of the time horses want to do what you humans are asking. If they aren’t doing it, eliminating a painful cause is a good idea! A very thorough lameness exam ensued. Despite flexions, circles, backing, head up, head down, over the hill, and going through the wood, no lameness could be created. Now, there are lots of lamenesses that can’t be recreated on the ground, so the Docs had the rider get on and ride. You won’t believe what they noticed under saddle!  Ah, I crack myself up. I was on Facebook reading clickbait articles until the wee hours of the morning with Teanie last night.

Anyway, under saddle the Docs saw this horse pushed his right hind to the inside. They called it “tripoding.” I’m pretty sure they made that term up, but you get the idea. Next they had the horse jump over small jumps coming towards them, going away from them, and finally from the side. They recorded all of these angles on video. Then they spent a whole lot of time watching these videos over, and over, and over. I finally went to sleep. A cat can only watch a horse repeatedly take off and land over the same exact jump so many times. The result was a list of things this horse was doing that caused him to shift left. For instance, he always pushed off with his left leg, and he would do just about anything to make that happen. At the same time he pushed off with his left leg, he dove right with his shoulders, and his right stifle bowed out.

FES Tuesdays with TonyRehab

Now we have something to work on! What does that work look like? Incredibly detailed and somewhat tedious. Work a cat would not be good at. For this horse, it started with an FES session. That’s Functional Electrical Stimulation. This therapy is like pilates for horses. It stretches muscles and gets things moving. This guy was very tight in his neck and hip area! He’ll get a session a week for 5 to 6 weeks to help the rehab work go farther, faster. That rehab work is going to be in hand and under saddle work to help him strengthen the stifle so it can stay strong on that right side, and work to help him “lock in” to a straight line. Right now he rides like a wet noodle!

Not getting the performance you want? Talk to my Docs. They’ll have you clocking 1D times, jumping higher, or collecting better in no time! Until next week….


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Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Office Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at, or follow us on Facebook!

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Tuesdays with Tony – A Letter to Santa

Tuesdays with Tony – A Letter to Santa

Dear Santa:

I know exactly what our clients want for Christmas this year. Look no further! From my many adventures this year, I have come to know our customers very well, and I have the perfect gift ideas for you, their husbands, their children, or their friends to give!

#1: A pony.  This one should be obvious. No matter how old a horse-crazy boy or girl gets, and no matter how many horses he or she already owns, this is always the first thing on their Christmas list.  That being said, I understand if a pony is outside of your Christmas gift budget this year. Which brings me to…

#2: A 2017 Wellness Plan. If you can’t buy them another horse, why not at least cover all of their horse’s healthcare needs for the entire year?! Not to mention, with each Wellness Plan comes NO emergency fees for the year. It’s like 2 gifts in one! I promise it will be their favorite gift this Christmas.

#3: A Springhill Equine gift certificate. Did you know that this month you can buy a $50 gift certificate for just $40? That’s like $10 cash in your pocket instantly! Cats don’t have pockets, but if we did I would imagine it would be nice for them to be full of money.

#4: A series of FES treatments for their horse. Every horse can benefit from a few FES treatments to improve their performance at the race or in the ring. Wouldn’t you like a deep tissue massage for Christmas? FES is even better than that- it uses electrical impulses to stimulate deep muscle groups in the back and neck. I’ve seen it work! The horses always walk away feeling loose and lovely afterwards.

Santa, in exchange for my invaluable assistance with your Christmas shopping this year, I do expect a stocking loaded with catnip, and a toy mouse under the tree.



Tuesdays with Tony – See Tony Event

Tuesdays with Tony – See Tony Event

Tuesdays with Tony – The Olympic Edition

Tuesdays with Tony – The Olympic Edition

So with all this athletic horse research I’ve been doing lately, it was inevitable that I would have to check out the Olympic team horses.  I have to say they have a pretty good gig.  If it weren’t for all the fitness stuff, I would try out.  I look good in red, white, and blue and I like to travel so I think I could get  a spot on a team.  I suppose I would need to pick a sport but since it’s too late for this Olympic cycle, I will look to something for 4 years from now.  Plenty of time for that later.

Just a warning, I went hard core social network stalker for this week’s blog.  I started at the USEF and USEF Eventing High Performance Facebook pages, then checked out the Chronicle of the Horse, and finally went to the social media pages for the humans involved in this endeavor.   Apparently getting to the Olympics is a very long process.  It may take more patience than this cat can muster.  It starts with a list of potential horse/rider combinations.  These combinations are watched by a coach so special they need a French name: Chef d’equipe.  Around the beginning of the year this coach narrows the list down to 7-10 possibles (the long list).  And then the real fun begins.

Being a Team horse is kind of like being an NFL player.  There are lots of perks, but there are lots of people who want to know all about how fit and healthy you are.  It starts with a VERY complete examination by the Team veterinarian.  They look at everything from tendons, to bone, to muscles, to eyeballs, to fitness.  Next that special coach looks at competition results, how the horse works at home, and the rider’s history in high stress situations.  Finally, there are some “test events.” These are set horse shows or three-day events that Team horses have to go to.  Based on all of these factors the Chef d’equipe gets to pick a team.  The check-ups continue after that.  The coach is constantly checking in to see how training is going, the vet is checking to see how healthy the horses are, and the behind the scenes people are checking to be sure all the organizational stuff is ready.

Now the horses have to get to Brazil.  No matter what discipline (Dressage, Eventing, or Show Jumping) if you made that long list you had to have a complete list of everything you wanted to bring for feed, supplements, and hay ready to go in January.  This Olympics thing is looking a bit too complicated for this cat.  All of the things on that list had to pass through the government of Brazil for approval and were shipped down well ahead of the Olympics.  Next the grooms have to pack everything they could ever want to have in two tack trunks (OK they are big ones, but still).  I mean this is the Olympics and you get a maximum amount of stuff you can pack.  I don’t have a lot of experience at this sort of thing but I think I would want to take everything just in case.  Meanwhile, the horses have to get special blood tests, vaccines at designated times, and make sure their passports are ready because they are getting on a plane.  I think it would be really fun to get on a plane!  Luckily by this point in their careers most of these horses are pros at the international travel thing.

Once the horses arrive at the Olympics they have an entire staff of people making sure their every whim is catered to.  The vets are checking for soreness, stiffness, or any sign of even a slight sniffle.  The physiotherapists are stretching, massaging, and FESing away to keep everyone in tip-top shape.  The grooms are taking care of all the details like fluffing the bedding just the way these superstars like it, providing their favorite snack, and scratching that particularly itchy spot.  Like I said earlier, there are perks to this Olympic horse thing.

And at the end of it, no matter the outcome, every one of those people will be honored to have taken care of these amazing horses.  And with that I’m off to watch Eventing Show Jumping.  I’m rooting for Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery.  Mostly because I have black feet so I’m sure it’s a sign but also because who doesn’t love an off the track Thoroughbred.

  • Tony

Tony Olympic pic


Tuesdays With Tony and FES Awareness December 8th, 2015

Tuesdays With Tony and FES Awareness
The weather outside is perfect. I love nothing more than to lie in the middle of the driveway, soaking up the sun, and watching the humans drive around me. Good times. I have noticed that my favorite weather coincides with more work for the horses we see here. It seems the humans like being outside more when it doesn’t feel like some horrible gym sauna that got the worst Yelp reviews ever. This means it’s time to get those equine athletes fit and ready to go. Best way to get your horse feeling great: FES
Want even more information?  Read this article about an Olympic Event Horse
FES. What the heck is that you ask? This cat says it’s pure amazingness. FES stands for Functional Electrical Stimulation. This magic machine sends electrical pulses into your muscle causing it to contract and relax. But the feeling!! FES feels like one of those massaging chairs turned on inside your muscle. As the power goes up, the feeling goes deeper and the muscles contract harder. When the session is done I am left purring, making biscuits, and maybe, just maybe, drooling a bit on my pillow. Any muscle soreness I had, is gone. That pesky left hip pain is a thing of the past. The best part is the next day: I can leap from the counter to the top of the dryer and on to my favorite spot on the cabinet with ease.
What does all that mean for horses? Well like me, most horses have done something less than smart in their lifetime. I said something mean to Teannie once and she broke my leg. This left me weaker on my left side. I was supposed to do special exercises to strengthen the leg, but I didn’t and it left me a little uneven behind. We all know our horses can do the same thing. Ok maybe not break a leg, but get a small injury or strain and end up a little crooked. This FES thing fixes all of that.
Does your horse regularly put their hip or back or ribs or neck or poll out? You can fix the bones repeatedly but until the muscles will hold them there they won’t stay. The FES retrains the muscles on a cellular level. It tells them they need to stop spasming and go back to normal. Once the muscles are back to pulling evenly on the bones: VOILA!! They stay where they are supposed to.
I have been listening to Dr. Lacher talk about lameness a lot recently. Veterinarians, human doctors, and researchers are shifting their ideas about how injuries work. There has long been a focus on finding the arthritis and treating it. But there’s a better way. Arthritis is the end of the process not the beginning. The problem starts when there is a small injury causing the horse to travel crooked which loads the joints unevenly which strains the supporting structures causing them to lay down extra bone to shore up the connections. That extra bone is arthritis. Injecting the joint treats the final stages but doesn’t address the problem that got it there. FES is one powerful tool Dr. Lacher uses to treat the crookedness that eventually leads to arthritis.
Get rid of sore muscles, get more sit, more power, and more straightness. Sign up for FES sessions today!