Hoof Stuff follow-up

Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday.  It’s interesting that not one person said “Put a set of shoes on him” which would have been my reaction a few years ago!

Just to let you all know, Aero is 100% sound – actually better than he was before I went away.  He tends to become longer on the inside wall on both front feet – you can see this in the heel photos – and my intention is to leave this as ‘he wants’ but to keep rounding it off, so it doesn’t chip.  Kate, I’m a big fan of Rockley Farm already, but to be honest I haven’t the nerve to just leave the feet self-trim.  Maybe if I had my own place, with a Paddock Paradise type track… Speaking of which – Máire, he has a clear heel-first landing, again I think this is even better than it was before my trip to Ireland.  Also, Leah, don’t get me started on willy-washing again!

I will confess to a moment of panic.  Both horses are in a grass paddock overnight at the moment and in their normal, bare paddock by day.  Yesterday evening, as I was moving them, I felt Aero was ‘off’.  I picked out his feet, and they were jammed with mud and pebbles, but no obvious pain-causing stones.  They were ‘normal’ warm (a barefoot hoof is almost always warmer to touch than a shod hoof, I presume because it has better circulation).  Even so, all sorts of scenarios were running through my head – I’d lamed him, he’d sprained a fetlock running around during the day, he was starting laminitis…  It was practically dark and nothing to be done but wait and see how he was in the morning.  And, thankfully, he was prefect.

Anyway, here are the ‘after’ photos.

Right fore :

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Left fore :

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I have two Notes to Self :

  1. Do not adopt self trimming as a strategy.  Re-do the mustang roll every couple of weeks or more often if the feet start to flare.
  2. Having a sharp rasp makes life a lot easier.

I have an interesting clinic coming up in a week’s time, with a lady called Pauline Beulze, hopefully having a session with each horse.  Check out one of her videos here :

Bareback and bridleless is not on my agenda, but if I could do half of what she does in this video with a halter and a saddle I’ll be delighted!

So today I took both boys to the arena for a work and play session.

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Aero waiting patiently

We had fun, half-playing, half-working in the arena.  First thing was that they both wanted to roll, so I whipped their saddles off as fast as I could and started digging at the ground with my foot while saying ‘Couchez’ – that’s my lie-down signal.  It worked – kind of.  They both lay down, Flurry first and then Aero, and I managed to reward them while they were still down.  Flurry spoiled things by taking advantage of Aero while he was on the ground and giving his back a sharp nip – he’s such an opportunist!  Aero ignored that one but gave Flurry a major telling-off when he tried it again a few minutes later.  Cheeky Flurry… but at least it’s not just me that he tries to nibble on.

They both wanted to ‘play’ – they lined themselves up in front of me and waited for me to ask them something.  Their best trick is reverse/return,  so I got them to do that, side by side, more or less simultaneously.  Because it’s literally months since I did any ground work with Flurry, I kept things short and simple thereafter.  We did a bit of follow, forwards and backwards, stopping and starting, with Aero on my right and Flurry on my left.  Then I tried something new, asking Aero to stand still while Flurry and I circled around him.  Having one horse wait while the other one does something would be a good thing, I think.

All of that was at liberty, but I then put Flurry on the lunge for a few minutes and refreshed his stop/start signals, after which it was time to ride.  First Aero, while Flurry went into the paddock next door.  Aero was soooo sweet, trying his best with everything I asked, and super-fluid and super-bouncy to ride (see? I didn’t mess up his feet!).  We worked on bendy stuff, with an eye towards the Interdressage Championships this month as well as the Pauline Beulze clinic.  Then it was Flurry’s turn, but Aero didn’t want to stay in the paddock next door.  I let him come back into the arena and he just mooched around sniffing at pooh initially.  It’s ages since I rode Flurry in the halter, so we did some refresher work on turning and lateral flexion after our warm-up.  The lateral flexion work involves standing in one spot, and Aero came over to join us while we were doing that.  Once I’d got a nice response from Flurry on each side, I started playing with Aero as well, from Flurry’s back.  Would he reverse?  I positioned Flurry in front of Aero, gave Aero the reverse cue and off he went!  But much to my surprise, Flurry, on hearing ‘Back’, started to reverse at the same time.   It must have looked pretty cool –  the two boys facing each other, backing up and then moving forwards towards each other again!  Very cute – I’m sure they heard me laughing and praising the boys in Reillanne!  So we reversed and returned a couple of times, then did a few circuits in walk with Aero following at liberty. The flies were starting to get bad at this stage, but we’d all had fun 😀
The last thing I did was set up both horses at the mounting block, one on each side, so I could ride one & lead the other back to their field. As I was getting Flurry into place, Aero literally bumped me with his shoulder : “Hey, get up on me!”
So lucky to have these boys in my life

 

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