Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Continued success

First of all, thank you for all the comments on Bobby's feet! I spent most of yesterday afternoon and this morning on the barefoot websites you guys linked me to. I'm not confident that I want to be the one to do his feet in the long run, but for now, I think it's working out well for me to tweak them every week. That way I don't have to worry about a farrier doing any major changes to hold him over for six weeks and he goes lame again.

It helps that I have BM to call on when I've got a question about any funkiness--she's not afraid to plop down beside me and point out where I can do something different and then show me how to do it. I have absolutely no prior "farrier" experience. Before this, I only knew how to pull a shoe and use a rasp without taking off chunks of my knuckles (that was a hard battle to win). I'm definitely learning a ton as I go, and regardless of who does him in the future, I'm going to be a lot more involved.

"durhh, just give me cookies."

To further add to hoof improvements, I walked him down the gravel driveway to the indoor today sans boots and while he was still a little short, he kept right up with me instead of dragging behind and giving me sad faces--something he did even with boots on just a week or two ago. Because of that, I decided to see if he could get turned out with no boots. He cantered up the steep, rocky hill to his paddock like it was no bigs and wandered off to graze. Big win!

We gave him those three weeks in a pen with a foot of shavings and a tiny, private pasture to wander in and out of at free will. Then he was put out with boots on both fronts in one of the smaller pastures before getting moved back to his original pasture. Pretty quickly, we pulled the LF boot, but kept his wonky RF covered until about a week ago. Then we switched to let the RF go naked, dry out, and toughen up while adding some comfort of the boot on the LF. This final step is just to let him grit it out with nothing on. If he gets really sore, a boot will go back on and we'll give him more time. He's also getting a little Bute to help make life easier. For it being less than two months since his shoes came off, I couldn't ask for anything more. He's way ahead of where I though the would be.

"tell me, unicorn. are you happy to be back in work?"
"debatable."

I made the poor beastie do a dressage school today before giving him tomorrow off, and he was surprisingly good for it. Actually, I don't know what's circulating inside Bobby's head right now. He's been pretty fabulous about everything lately. Were his feet really so bad as to make him a miserable bastard sixty percent of the time?


He was lazy to start off, but I think that has more to do with being out of shape than anything. He is a chunker right now. Give him a couple weeks and he'll burn it off, but wowza. Someone stuffed the sausage a little too tight into the casing, if you know what I mean. (And no, I'm not referring to a penis, you fucking perverts.) It does make him look like a big fancy warmblood, but I'd rather have a leaner Thoroughbred-looking....you know, Thoroughbred.

Anyway.

Dressage ride.

All the time off he had packing on pounds was also spent doing stretches, and dang has it helped him reach over his back. This horse had no idea how to carry himself and stretch down at the trot, and barely at the walk. Now he's relaxed and rhythmical while swinging out at the trot on a loose rein with his nose on the ground. His neck looks downright sexual, and the push from behind makes it so much easier to lengthen his stride (when prompted with a tickle of the dressage whip, the fat cow). We did a lot of alternating between a more uphill dressage frame and stretching at the trot before running through a dressage test.

Ugh, his canter was deplorable. Bobby's canter has always been hit and miss for me, and today was definitely a miss. I let him take a breather before sticking him on a circle and being really mean to him asking him to go correctly.

We did a million and one walk-canter transitions (actually easier for Bobby than trot-canter) before he remembered the idea of jumping into the transition without flinging his head and neck into the stratosphere. After that was established, we worked on continuing on in the canter without his head and neck snaking back up to stare at the ceiling. My legs were so. fucking. tired. I didn't want to quit until I got my point across, and he was getting tired and making me work like hell for it. He finally gave me one full circle of his beautiful, balanced, uphill "There's a reason you keep me around" dressage canter and I let him cool out with tons of pats and praise.

barn kitty shows exactly how bobby and i felt.

I have high hopes for dressage tests next season. I keep playing around with warm up to see what suits him best, and where I can cut corners if I need to (aka, when I get to a show late and have ten minutes to be saddled and in the ring for my test--it's happened before!). If he can just stay focused and not throw tantrums, we'll be golden.

8 comments:

  1. Oh man, so jealous of your ability to gently transition him... Luckily Riley has been sound enough on grass, but we're making some decisions on a more long term solution this week! Hooray for progress!

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  2. So happy for you that his feet are doing so awesome barefoot! And I love the meme... may or may not have thought that same thing on my ride yesterday!

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  3. So glad he's doing well. Barefoot is such a tricky transition, especially if your hoof wall isn't exactly perfect to begin with (ahem, CUNA).

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  4. Love that you are tracking this progress! It wasn't that long ago that you were miserable with his feet and look at things now!

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  5. Sounds like things are really working out for you guys. I wish I was brave enough to maintain feet myself. That, and it would help if my horse was barefoot again. SIGH.

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  6. Things are really turning around for you two...thats great!

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  7. I'm doing Hemie's feet weekly too - not to replace the trimmer (who still comes every 6 weeks), but just to try and help maintain the shape and become more knowledgeable and empowered about hoof care. Every week I do it I feel a tad more confident and a few more words of wisdom from my trimmer click into place in my brain.

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