Chazot Thought 41

Special Thanksgiving Thoughts

Chazot and Jean Luc Cornille

"There is no limit to what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit." John Wooden

This morning, November  27 2014. He entered the barn as he does every morning, He told us, “Happy thanksgiving.” For us it was just a normal day, but he added a carrot on the top of our regular breakfast. As usual, he sat on the table reading his e-mails waiting for us to finish our breakfast. The next move will be leading us in our turn outs. He read one e-mail again and I can feel that he was deeply happy. I looked at him and he looked at me. “You remember Victoria and her mare Diva?  He remembers Diva as very intelligent, courageous, hard worker and very gentle mare. I remember Diva as very cute. As a gelding I don’t remember why I like looking at very cut mares, but I do. He read for me what Victoria wrote. “My mare has horrific bilateral ring bone up front. She couldn't walk. She was miserable. Drove her 11 hours up to his farm and she stayed there for a while. She is home. Happy. Comfortable. Walking. Taking my 2 year old son for little rides weekly and they are happy as can be! “

It was an e-mail of encouragement for another woman having severe lameness problem with her mare. Diva’s case was effectively difficult. The ring bones were situated each side of the articulation between the second phalange and the coffin bone. The pain and almost total immobility were due to the fact that the ring bones touched creating pain. Diva was naturally standing with the forelegs backward closing the angle between the coffin bone and the second phalange. I remember the combination of skepticism and hope that was in his mind. He told to Victoria, “Theoretically, if we could open the angle between the coffin bone and the second phalange, we could reduce the pressure between the two ring bones allowing some mobility. I don’t think that we can recreate full soundness, but if the hypothesis works, we could recreate enough mobility to give her a good life in turn out. I don’t know if this is realistically possible, but if we don’t try, she does not have any future.” They succeed, and I say “they” because this is a perfect example of the quote that I have selected as an introduction to my thoughts. "There is no limit to what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit." John Wooden

He showed the X-rays to the farrier saying, “If you could move the shoe back, shave the front wall and balance the hoof in a way that could replace the coffin bone in a more vertical alignment, as it should be normally. I might be able, through education of her back muscles, to correct her backward carriage of the front legs and consequently place the limb and therefore the second phalange into a more vertical alignment. This would open the angle between the coffin bone and the second phalange and the ring bones would not then touch each other causing pain.”   Patrick, who is our farrier told him, “If you can do that, I can do my part, but it will take several shoeing.” He responded don’t worry. What I have to do will demand a few months also.”  They worked together, having long conversations, lifting and dropping Diva front legs many times, looking at her from many angles.

They both were there when, months later, Victoria came from Florida to see her mare. Diva was far away on the end side of her turn out. When she saw Victoria, she started cantering full speed toward the fence bucking her way toward Victoria. Victoria has tears in her eyes when she turned her face toward them repeating, “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it. This mare could not move. If she did 5 steps during her entire time in turn out it was a lot. You told me when I arrived that she was not completely sound and I see my mare cantering full speed and jumping and bucking through the field. I can’t believe it. I could not even dream that this could be possible” They shake each other hand thinking, “ I guess we did OK.” Their next thought was reciprocal; “I could not have done it without you.” Because their focus was Diva’s soundness instead of who would take the credit, they gave back to Diva mobility and “joie de vive.”    


He was very happy about this e-mail. This mare, for which the life was over, is now teaching a young kid how to ride. He thinks that she must be a wonderful teacher, cautious, caring and gentle.  This contrasted completely with the reaction of a few mentally “under-gifted” individuals who reacted to a short video that they recently published about navicular syndrome. I like the independence of his hands. When he rides, his hands rarely move even when I shake his body intensively. When he writes, his hands write, “mentally under-gifted” when his brain thinks “morons.” The video showed one of the kinematics abnormalities causing excessive stress between the deep digital flexor tendon and the distal sesamoid bone. It was a brief segment of a much longer study that has been published in their online course. They often do that as gracious information with a large majority of positive comments. There are always a few professional arguers who argue. This time it was a small group of individuals who were vexed because he stated in that proper shoeing or trimming alone could not correct the kinematics abnormality. Quite often, aberrant kinematics have to be addressed combining proper care of the hoof and correcting simultaneously the source of the limb kinematics abnormality inducing abnormal stress on the distal sesamoid bone. These individuals were vexed because in their mind, they alone, can correct all problems. Obviously their concern was not the horse’s soundness but who would take the credit.

He was initially appalled by their ignorance. Would it be possible that they don’t even know that under the term “navicular changes,” a large diversity of issues are included, some causing lameness for only a small percentage of horses, other causing greater and longer term lameness, others such as adhesion between the deep digital flexor tendon and distal sesamoid bone being irreversible.  Rarely, vets reports go beyond “navicular changes or navicular syndrome.” Between 1984 and 1989, I. M. Wright investigated 118 cases of horse diagnosed with navicular syndrome. Wright observed for instance that only 8,3% of the horse diagnosed with “Synovial invaginations in the distal sloping borders” were lame. By contrast, 23,9% of the horses diagnosed with “Sclerosis adjacent to synovial invagination” were lame. 28,8% of the horses diagnosed with “Fragmentation of the distal border”, were lame. Only 5,1% of the horse diagnosed with “Remodeling of the medial and lateral margins”, were lame. All these different conditions are usually diagnosed by the generic term, “navicular changes.”  If one receive or take care of a horse exhibiting “navicular changes” usually associated with very small percentage of lameness, one will do “wonder” no matter the shoeing, the trimming or the therapy. Instead if one receives a horse with adherence between the deep digital flexor tendon and the distal sesamoid bone, there is no treatment or shoeing or kinematics work which, at the level of actual knowledge, can resolve the problem.

The horses that came here at the Science of Motion, were in the 28% and more which did not became sound with appropriated hoof work and/or simple manipulations. It was necessary, on the top of proper hoof work, to identify and correct the source of the kinematics abnormality causing aberrant stresses between the deep digital flexor tendon and the distal sesamoid bone. When a horse arrives, he shows the X rays to specialists telling me, “A specialist who sees 100 or more pictures per day will see details that somebody like me who see at the most one or two X-rays per week, could ever notice.” A specialists who believes that he or she can fix all, believes in Santa Claus or even worse, believe that he or she is Santa Claus.  Our soundness and performances rely on a network of specialists, nutritionists, dentists, therapists. They are all part of our successes but when for instance, a nutritionist pretends that nutrition alone will resolve hoof grow or laminitis, one omits that the influence of mechanical stress can directly alter many cellular processes. “Mechanoresponsiveness is actually a fundamental feature of all living tissues. Experiments with cultured cells confirm that mechanical stresses can directly alter many cellular processes, including signal transduction, gene expression, growth, differentiation, and survival.” (Christopher S. Chen and Donald E. Ingber. Tensegrity and mechanoregulation: from skeleton to cytoskeleton, 1999)

Unfortunately, there are great limits of what can be done for us because everyone care who gets the credit. Veterinarians from Canada, New Mexico and even Germany come at the center to understand how to focus on the source of the gait abnormality causing the lesion instead of the lesion, and yet others totally dismiss their approach. I was frustrated one day listening to someone teaching him something that he knew for years. He picked my frustration thinking, “I need his equipment. It does not matter if he steals the credit. The aim is your soundness.” I understand his philosophy. He cannot change the equestrian world the way it is today but he can teach to horse’s owners and riders ho to distinguish competence from baloney. This is what Helyn, he and the many specialists who are now working with them do through their online course. I recall Victoria saying, “Everybody was against my decision to bring Diva here. I remember earlier on you telling me, believe in your intuition. The system kills your intuition for the benefit of rules and regulations. I am Glad I did. “