Finally, a horse post for my horse readers.
About six weeks ago, the horses were moved into a different paddock with two new buddies, MuMu and Mali.
This paddock is BIG – three or four acres. The water is at one end and the shelter and hay feeders are at the other, so the horses have to walk to and fro, which is ideal for barefoot hooves.
There is a variety of terrain – flat alpine meadows…
and rocky outcrops…
all ideal for exposing barefoot hooves to a variety of surfaces.
The rain has finally stopped and the ground has dried out, and I’ve seen a big change in Flurry and Aero’s hooves as a result of the new pasture and the weather.
Eric the farrier was out last week. What with visitors and my trip to Ireland, it was at least three weeks since I had touched either horses’ hooves, so I said “yes please” when I was asked if I wanted him to do The Boys.
He was really pleased with Flurry. He trimmed him alright, but he said his feet were great and gave them a big thumbs up.
Then it was Aero’s turn. Aero was mostly good too, but I think I need to keep on top of them better than I have been. There’s a little white line stretching going on, and at the toe of one of his hind feet, there is grit starting to work its way in, making it stretch even more. Even worse, though, is that bloody abscess that plagued us last summer. It had almost grown out, but because there was a great big hole inside his hoof, it’s now collecting grit as well, keeping the white line open and stretched at that point and giving cause for concern.
There’s a risk it will get infected once again from the foreign material working its way into the hoof. Eric pared it right back, but I have to keep it clean and spray it with a tarry substance which I don’t have. I’m thinking of packing it with Antiphlogistine (a medicated Kaolin paste) instead – I think that will help it stay clean, while allowing it to breathe, move and grow. Anyone got any thoughts as to whether that would work or not?
The LSH and I rode out a couple of days after Eric’s visit and decided to try them both without hind boots.
Flurry strode out like a champion, oblivious to the rocky trail, and Aero was excellent, too, although he wasn’t keen on trotting on very rocky ground. We were both so impressed with Flurry that the LSH stopped half way and removed his front boots.
It made no difference at all – he continued to stride out boldly.
Two days later, we did a circuit that has a particularly long, rocky stretch. Flurry was barefoot throughout, although his front boots were hanging from the pommel just in case he needed them.
I have a theory, rightly or wrongly, that a barefoot horse should be allowed to make his own decisions. Pick his own way over rocky ground. Go at his own pace. This is something that is taking Aero a while to figure out. All his life, he has pretty much been told where to put his feet and how fast to get them there. Now he has to figure it out for himself. He’s learning, but he still makes mistakes and goes “OUCH!,” especially if he gets excited or distracted.
Flurry has the idea, though. The LSH didn’t rush or nag him, and he made his way carefully through the worst of the rocky ground with not the slightest hint of an “ouch.”
The rest of the ride was the usual mix of “not too stony…”
…and fairly stony.
He marched out confidently the whole way.
Is he finally becoming independent of his boots?