MC rang me the other day to see if I thought it would be a good idea to take the horses off to the nearby Ecuries de Mane to practise a few things there. Specifically, a passerelle, or footbridge.
Great idea! Practising off-site is always a good thing to do. We arranged to leave at 9am on Friday. Quieto needed some preventative maintenance first, though.
One of the issues I’ve witnessed firsthand with barefoot horses is that if something becomes lodged in the white line, it can very quickly work its way up inside the hoof wall. Aero has a little hole on his left front hoof which I am watching closely. I clean it out every day and I’m keeping the hoof wall rasped very low just there so that there is nothing to trap and hold a foreign body. Quieto has had a problem with his front left for a couple of months now, although he hasn’t had a moment’s lameness. MC has diligently kept it neat and rasped back, but the last time the farrier came, he shook his head and excavated further up the foot until he found a single juniper needle, lodged waaaaaay up there. And I do mean waaaaaaay up there :
MC was really worried about him. He hasn’t got the best feet in the world anyway – he came to her with laminitis. She’s been using his hoof boots all the time recently, because of the crack (crack just doesn’t seem like a big enough word, does it?!). So when Eric the farrier suggested that she ask Mr Endurance (he’s a farrier as well as being a serious endurance rider) to have a look at it, she was relieved to get a second opinion.
Mr Endurance said it was no problem and it hadn’t penetrated the sensitive structures of the hoof, but he would fill it with resin, which will hold it together and gradually grow out with the hoof.
Filling the crack/hole/crevasse/chasm/gorge with resin :
and set the hoof on the ground while it hardened.
We popped all the horses over a variety of obstacles – logs, barrels, a bridge shaped filler – and then we played with the water tray. They all walked onto it and practised standing still, as Spirit is demonstrating here :
Then they all had a go at jumping over it. Although in Flurry’s case, it was more like stomping over it than jumping it. It’s a good job it’s made of durable rubber, not plastic, or there would be hoof-sized holes all over it!
A good morning’s work, and well worth doing. Passerelles will worry no one next weekend.