Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunshine Award

Just when the smoke from the Liebster Award has cleared, another round of blog awards is spamming your news feed. I think I'm going to behead the next fucking flower I see.

See what a positive person I am? It is clearly why five bloggers have nominated me. So thank you to My Life on HorsesForging FictionEventing in ColorPrincess Diva Diaries, and My Equine Odyessy.

why there's a picture of a flower instead of a sun is beyond me.

Here is what the sunshine award means: Bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere. Rules below.
  • First, the nominee must thank the blogger that nominated her and link to her blog. 
  • Next she must nominate ten bloggers for the award and let them know. 
  • Then, she must answer a list of ten questions and post to her blog.  
  • Finally, the Sunshine Award button must be posted on the blog. 

1. Do you prefer Mares or Geldings?   
Truthfully, I am such a raging bitch myself that I think if I ever owned a mare we would kill each other.  

2. English or Western?
I actually really enjoy both. I'm probably more comfortable in an English saddle, but I love a lot of the western sports.

3. Do you prefer "younger" or "older" horses?
Mm, as long as they're not babies, younger horses. I've never had an affinity for babies, but it might have something to do with dealing solely with Thoroughbred babies for years in college. Want to take the joy out of hacking? Jump on a 20 month stud colt with minimal manners. Remind me to one day tell the tale of how my roomie ended up hanging from the bar of a stall door when she "parted ways" with a baby.

it was this baby, as a matter of fact. little shit.
(see how well this picture shows how much i love babies?)

4. Have you ever trained a horse from ground zero?
Why do you think Bobby and I have such a special bond? (Time out. Go wipe off your keyboard.) I started a couple of babies from step one in college, and have restarted several fresh off the track TBs into riding horses.

the key to starting babies? a good pony. jackson was the best.

5. Do you prefer riding or ground work?
Riding. I'm too lazy for serious ground work most of the time, though I don't mind longeing every now and then.   

6. Do you board your horse or keep it at home?
I currently board my horse. The last year we lived in NY, I kept my horse at home, and I leased a pasture and barn the first few months we moved down here and did full care on my three horses. Boarding is far superior. 

7. Do you do all natural things or commercial stuff? (In the sense of products.)
I'm proactively anti-organic everything. Bring on the chemicals.

8. All Tacked up or Bareback?
I accomplish more tacked up, but I like riding bareback, too.

9. Equestrian model?
Doug Payne. Because even when he's falling off, he still looks like an amazing equitation rider. If I could ride even remotely like him, I would die happy. He is amazeballs. Someone find me one of his clinics. 


wooooow.

10. What's your one main goal while being in the horse world?
To learn all the things.

I really was going to list ten blogs to pass this on to, but after scrolling through my reading list, I'm not sure there's anyone that I haven't seen already nominated. And if you're reading this, and you haven't seen yourself on anyone's list yet, give it another day. I'm sure you'll pop up eventually. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WW: Bobby Does Dressage

My arrival at the barn:

Bobby:


Warm up:

Me:

Bobby:

Me:


Alternating between working trot, lengthening, and back to working trot:

Bobby:

Attempting First Level, Test 2:

Me:


Paying attention? When there are things going on outside the arena?:

Me: 


Bobby:

Me:


First attempt at haunches-in:

Bobby:

Fine. We'll finish with more lengthenings:

Bobby:

Back at the barn, getting untacked:

Bobby:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Barefoot Transition, pt.2

See Part One here!

Part Two will cover the month of October, where things started to look really good, and then things tried going downhill before I drop kicked that nonsense and got us back on track.

Again, a disclaimer: This is not meant to be some, "Look what I did! You do it, too!" post. I am not a farrier. It's a condensed documentation for myself, and for anyone googling, "I pissed off my shit farrier and now I have to take of my horse's newly bare feet practically by myself. Where do I start?" Did I google that myself? Has anyone read this blog before? Answer that for yourself. I'm not at all against horses with shoes, and I'm probably not going to go around expounding on the joys of going barefoot. It is not a joy. It's a complete fucking bitch. But I'm still glad I did it.

October

Here's how Bobby's feet started the month, 9/30/13:

LF, five weeks after getting shoes pulled.
RF, five weeks after getting shoes pulled.
LH, five weeks after getting shoes pulled.
RH, five weeks after getting shoes pulled.

At this point, Bobby was back in almost full work. He was jumping in the outdoor booted on the fronts, and doing both flat and over fences work in the indoor completely barefoot. He was able to work in the cross country fiel barefoot (where there are no rocks), and he was finally back in his original 12 acre paddock for seventeen hours a day.

A week into the month, he started getting let out to his paddock with no boots on at all, which meant he was walking up a steep, very gravelly hill barefoot. While not one hundred percent on the gravel, he seemed to be coping well, and once in the paddock, he was comfortable.

I started laying off the Farrier Barrier a bit, knocking down application to every other day at the most. His soles had really toughened up by this point, and the only thing that was still looking suspect was the thrush in his RF where he had had a pour in pad for three months prior to me pulling his shoes.

His feet on 10/8/13, directly after a trim:

LF, six weeks after pulling his shoes.
RF, six weeks after pulling his shoes.
RH, six weeks after pulling his shoes.
LH, six weeks after pulling his shoes.

The RF hoof was also showing a large flare that caused his toe to dish out and split. Having zero farrier experience myself, I did a lot of reading from the websites you guys posted, and I talked to BM about it. We decided, since it actually did seem to be growing out by itself, to keep doing what I was doing and slowly knock it back each week instead of going commando on it and knocking it off in one fell swoop.

RF. yuck.

Mid-month, Bobby turned up footsore under saddle again. The suspected culprit was the reappearance of thrush in the RF, though he was also walking out sore on the LF. I ordered Oxine AH to combat the thrush since the Thrush Buster wasn't doing a good enough job any longer. He got turned out with his front feet in Boa boots again.

RF with thrush.

Today was his sixth soak with the Oxine, and the thrush is definitely clearing up already. I mix 1/2c of the Oxine with 1/8c of white vinegar and add just enough water to cover his hooves. He soaks for twenty minutes once a day. I thoroughly dry his feet afterwards, then alternate between pouring in Thrush Buster or painting on Farrier Barrier.  I relied heavily on this article on how to use the Oxine.

He's one hundred percent sound riding in the indoor (haven't tried the outdoor yet) and he's back to walking over gravel without boots with only minimal discomfort. I would probably still be turning him out in boots right now, but he broke the laces on them and the company I was going to send them out to get repaired by has yet to get back to me. (Two thumbs down, by the way.) However, I think it might be helping keep his feet dryer by not being in boots most of the day, and that's certainly not going to hurt him.

Today is exactly nine weeks since his shoes were pulled. I last touched up his feet on Friday, 10/25. Here's how they look today, 10/29/13:

The LF:

sorry it's blurry.



The RF, trouble foot:

the cracks on the side are superficial--they don't go any deeper than just
the surface where they split.

the upward curve on the outside is where a massive chunk of his hoof came off
with the clip on his shoe. it's obviously still growing out.
however, note no more dish at the toe!

you can see where i dug out the crack in his toe thanks to blogger recommendation!
there was a little funk going on in there, but i'm assuming the oxine is keeping that clean, too.
also note the thrush. it might not look much better here, but the crack isn't nearly as deep.
The LH:


i need to take the flare off on the outside. for some reason doing his back feet
worries me more than his fronts. i need to be more aggressive on them.


The RH:

meh.


just ugh. i think i'm going to ask BM for help with the hinds.

I don't know that he'll ever be one hundred percent on gravel, but if you had asked me nine weeks ago whether he'd be sound at this point period, I would have probably said no. I'm really impressed with how his feet have turned out.

And finally? Holy cow. Thank you guys for all the advice, reading material, and product recommendations over the past two months. I'd never even heard of Farrier Barrier or Oxine before, and they've both been like hoof crack for Bobby. Keep it coming! I'm learning so much from the blogging community! You bitches are the best.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Barefoot Transition, pt. 1

Having a horse with bad feet sucks, dudes. I think I made a pretty ballsy move when I decided to yank Robert's steel all by my lonesome, and things could have gone a lot worse than they have so far. It's been nine weeks since Bobby officially went barefoot, and to commemorate, I'm bringing you two epic fucking posts on Sir Robert's barefoot transition thus far--mostly for my own chronicling, but if anyone else wants to rip their horse's shoes off against their farrier's wishes (probably not recommended, by the way), here is my road to "success".

Part One is going to cover all the bad hoof news, with lots of bad hoof pictures to accompany it.

August

All summer long, Bobby was having trouble keeping his shoes on. There wasn't on foot in particular that was worse than the others, but the fronts did seem to have more of a propensity for getting ripped off. I was having huge confidence issues with my jumping, and just feeling down about my riding in general so I called off the rest of the show season to focus on trail riding. That backfired when I trailered out to a local state park and Bobby pulled a hind shoe and I ended up breaking my foot while leading him down a mountainside.

I told my farrier (NF) that because I was now out for 4-6 weeks myself, and my show season was over anyway, I wanted to pull Bobby's shoes to let his feet grow out and heal from months of getting chunks torn off. NF told me no, and tacked Bobby's shoe back on his half-missing RH.

the RH four days after pulling the shoe,
and immediately after getting the shoe put back on.

After a circuitous conversation between myself, NF, and BM, it seemed like NF might be willing to pull Bobby's shoes if he wasn't allowed on turnout any longer. BM and I compromised and moved Bobby to the large pen off the back of the indoor that has its own small, private paddock. We did this under the assumption that this would appease NF and he would pull Bobby's shoes the following day.

bobby's transitioning pen, looking in from the gate to the paddock.

On the 22nd, I pulled all four of his shoes myself when NF wouldn't agree to do it himself. Here's what we started with:

the fronts.
LF, three days after pulling shoes pulled.
RF, three days after pulling shoes pulled.
you can see the thrush crack that's still causing problems.
LH, three days after getting shoes pulled.
RH, three days after getting shoes pulled.

I began treating him daily with Farrier Barrier to try to combat the thrush while simultaneously hardening his feet. He also got started on two packets of Knox gelatin once a day. 

A week later, Bobby was sound for riding in the indoor in Boa boots and I started doing very light work with him since my own foot was still broken. 

the fronts, one week after pulling shoes.
September

The first week of September, I moved Bobby back into his stall and we tried to turn him out in lower front paddock with the old, retired horse he was going out with for a little while before I decided to pull his shoes. He only had to walk across the driveway to get to the field instead of up a big, gravelly hill, but after a few days it was apparent that he wasn't comfortable enough for that yet so he went back to his pen. 

9/4/13 pictures:

RF
LF
RH
LH
Mid-month, I gave Bobby his first trim. I waited so long so that he would chip off the biggest chunks of foot himself. My thinking behind this was that a) I had no idea what I was doing trimming-wise. I'd used a rasp before to knock off rough edges, but never to actually shape a horse's foot. And b) I figured that if the parts that were getting knocked off naturally were coming off so easily, he didn't need them anyway, right? Self trimming and all that. 

Let me reiterate that I was pretty fucking clueless at the beginning of this adventure, but I don't think I ever made a decision that put my horse in danger. In fact, my whole reason for pulling his shoes in the first place was that I felt like having them on was doing him more harm than good.

The first trim, 9/12/13:

the fronts.
the hinds, which only got touched up.
you can see how much the toes needed to come back.

Bobby was beginning to get really sore on his RF where the thrush was getting worse and without a boot on, he was lame even in the indoor. However, the rest of his feet were starting to toughen up, and by the middle of the month, four weeks after initially pulling his shoes, he moved back into his stall for good and went out in the lower front paddock with a boot on the RF.

By the end of the month, the thrush seem to be getting better with copious amounts of Thrush Buster applied on top of the Farrier Barrier and Bobby was able to get ridden in the indoor completely barefoot, and in the outdoor booted on both fronts. 

Part Two will cover Bobby being super sound...and then Bobby being not so sound...and then Bobby being pretty sound again! 

Stay tuned!