Check up on your horses health and performance with a simple and straightforward Hoof Geek Health Check.
Whenever there’s a problem the body compensates. It’s outstanding at compensating, however, the very nature of compensating for a weakness, means that certain structures or systems have to do a job they’re not designed to do.
While they can cope fairly well in the short term, they’re placed under additional strain and stress creating far more wear and tear, not to mention increasing the risk of injury or even complete breakdown. This in turn asks for many more structures and systems to compensate further.
Identifying potential issues, and noticing what systems are already in a state of compensation is essential for healing and strengthening health as well as preventing further problems developing or at least inhibiting their progress.
It’s harder to see the subtle, early warning signs, but if you can, potential problems can be overcome fairly quickly or even, completely avoided.
These health checks aren’t going to magically turn you into an expert, but they are going to give you a way to monitor what’s going on with your horse. You’ll know what’s improving or what’s deteriorating. You’ll have a structured system of questions that will help you identify where the problem might be.
You know when something ‘isn’t quite right’, but the difficult part is knowing what, and where the problems is. The closer you are to your horse, the harder it can be to see a clear picture. Ironically, that closeness allows you to see all the symptoms very clearly, it just tends to mess up the interpretation.
(I find this with my own horses, and I know many professionals who agree – their own horse is the most difficult one to see clearly and being a professional really doesn’t help).
I wanted to come up with a simple way for you to be able to regularly monitor your horse’s health and well-being. It can be very difficult for any of us to be objective when it comes to our horses. They’re our babies and we tend to see them with special rose tinted glasses.
Not only that but when you see a horse every day it’s more difficult to notice things changing (both good and bad), due to the incremental nature of your observations.
The Hoof Geek series of Health Checks will put you in the driver’s seat giving you a clear picture of your whole horse and the confidence to:
Assess your horse yourself. Take control, with a way of assessing, monitoring and recording your horse’s health.
Understand what the body is trying to tell you. The body reacts to everything, signs, symptoms, call them what you will, the more quickly you identify them more confident you’ll feel. You’ll know sooner when things are improving, just the way you planned, or recognise a problem developing and be proactive about solving it. Prevention is better than cure!
Learn to recognise warning signs early on. The earlier you notice a problem the sooner you can take steps to address it.
Know the difference between ‘normal’ and ‘common’. Just because you see something a lot, it doesn’t always mean it’s supposed to be like that!
Be able to take action or seek further advice before your next appointment. Why wait till your next scheduled appointment with your Bodyworker or Hoof Care Practitioner, if you can recognise changes yourself, you can ask for help when you need it, rather than finding out a few weeks afterwards that there was a problem. You didn’t just imagine it!
By following through the Health Check questions you can get a clear picture of what areas and/or what specific things need addressing to increase your horses health and well-being.
You’ll also get a really good picture of everything that’s going right! And lets not overlook that! In our eagerness to improve our horses lives and performance it’s so easy to focus on the problems, we can sometimes lose sight of just how much is going right.
This system will help you focus on the things you need to and give you a warm fuzzy feeling for all the things that don’t need your attention.
So how does it work…
Each Health Check has 5 simple questions (well ok, there’s 10 for the laminitis one, but that’s super important so I figure a few extra questions are allowed).
Your answers add up to a score out of 10. This gives you an idea of where you are on a scale of ‘problem free’ to ‘this is a problem area’
You can do Health Checks on just 1 or 2 areas or on all of them if you’d like. I’d recommend doing all the checks first time round, otherwise, how will you know which areas you need to concentrate on?
If you do all the Health Checks you can add your scores up for a mark out of 100 which will give you an idea of the whole health of your horse. Whether there’s room for improvement, desperate need for attention, or just a need to take a good look at exactly what you’re doing, because it’s working beautifully and you’ll want to remember it!
Health Checks aren’t exams, there’s no pass or fail, they’re simply a way to put you in control by giving you the information and clarity you need, without overwhelm.
It gives you a way of monitoring improvements when you’re working on something and identifying a problem if it develops, so you can take action early, allowing you to limit the stress to you and your horse.
What Health Checks Can Do For You
With these simple assessments you can look more deeply at your horse than many hoof care professionals ever do.
In fact I know bodywork therapists who don’t do all of these assessments when treating your horse. And yes – there’s only 5 questions in each section!
I know this because I’ve done many courses, and I know how few actually teach these skills.
I’ve boiled the questions down to simple yes or no questions
I’ve kept the questions to a minimum. The most common problems and the most import to have right. The 5 things that get you the biggest bang for your buck. The most performance for your effort. The results you want by covering the basics.
The basics are awesome, we often over look them in favour of flashier more complicated stuff, but really, so much falls in to place just by getting the basics nailed down.
You’re not going to be alone – I’ve set up a facebook group full of like minded individuals where you can get support, guidance and help. Facebook.com/groups/HoofGeekHealthChecks It’s a closed group to ensure you feel comfortable sharing any problems you may be having, but it’s open to everyone (as long as you play nicely of course…)
For more complicated issues you can book a consultation with me where I’ll ask you for further details, and we can really dig down and get to the root of the problem, and discuss in-depth, personalised solutions that will suit both you and your horse.