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WHAT CAUSES NAVICULAR?

It will be interesting to see the results of this study (about the causes of navicular syndrome) and under what conditions it was run, how many horses were involved etc. There is a big issue running through the scientific community at the moment concerning reproducibility, that is, the ability to reliably reproduce results other scientists claim to have achieved and this is in areas such as psychology and cancer treatments with far more funding than the odd horse trial. Still, let's wait and see. Humans are very good at seeing what they want to see hence the development of rigorous, scientific procedures and even then many false results are produced. Navicular Syndrome (note the word: it means they have NO IDEA what causes it) was the Kissing Spines SYNDROME (interesting that isn't it?) of the nineties and early noughties. They came up with a wonderful scale for evaluating the seriousness of it. This was great, finally a way of measuring how lame my horse is, except that they found horses with a score of 4 (the most severe) who were perfectly sound and horses with a score of 1 showing all the signs of severe navicular syndrome. THE problem with horses is that we cannot ask them where the pain is, what the root is. Yes, they speak with their bodies and experienced horse people can interpret this (note the word 'interpret') but it is simply not the same as a human being able to say and point to pain, unequivocally. This remains the single most difficult issue when it comes to lameness. We have no direct means of evaluating the root cause.

 
What anyone doing scientific studies has to remember is that correlation is not causation. It is a very easy trap to fall into. Let me put a hypothesis to you... '90% of horses have some form of soft tissue damage which impacts their performance and this is more severe than most people think because of the horse's natural need to hide symptoms of pain.' It is like saying 30 years ago that going to the pub caused cancer. Well, it was likely you were a smoker if you went to the pub and we know now that it is smoking that causes cancer so the initial statement is patently not true: there was a CORRELATION and clearly no CAUSATION. So, it is my contention that most horses have far deeper soft tissue damage than we realise and that this is the first thing to sort out. In fact I have my own circumstantial 'evidence' that horses I have treated for soft tissue damage are no longer lame even though the veterinary diagnosis was navicular and nothing was done to 'treat' the navicular symptoms. BTW, I would me more than happy by the way to have my theory tested if someone wants to put up the huge amounts of money it would take to test mine or any other person's hypothesis.
 
So, in conclusion, this is all good stuff but there are enough myths in the horse world and I for one don't want to introduce any more. happy hunting as they say!
Samsara Equitation Equine Rehab Centre - nr. Whitney-on-Wye, HerefordSamsara Equitation Equine Rehab Centre - nr. Whitney-on-Wye, Hereford