Saturday, May 30, 2009

Crewing Today

Well, here I am, eating breakfast, getting ready to head down to Clark State Forest to crew for Michelle Detmer (who comments on here pretty often) and her riding buddy Laura at the Top of the Rock. It's about 4:30am. I have packed my lunch, my rain gear, a change of clothes, plenty of water, and a chair. I think crewing will be just the right amount of exertion for this prego!

I hope to be there about 6am, when Michelle plans on arriving, and helping them leave camp for the LD. Then, I will sit and rest! Not sure if the vet check is away or in camp, but I will help during that. And then, I will sit and rest. :-) I'll help them at the finish, then drive home and take a nap! Are you noticing a trend here? Things that normally wouldn't bother me much have been tiring me out big time, but I should have no trouble recovering while the girls are riding. I think it will be just right.

I hope some of the people I met from the Chicken Chase are there today, and if they are, that I actually remember their names! I am soooo bad at remembering names. Pretty fair at remembering faces....just not names.

Hope to take pictures, maybe you all will get a ride report later on (but probably not today!).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hoof Trimming - Front Feet

I actually did this trim a week ago, and am just now getting to posting the pictures. Memorial Weekend was very busy with farming, and I just did not get the time to post them before now!

Left Front "Before" picture, from the side:

Left "After" picture, from the side (Any red you see on this mare's feet is a result of the red paint wearing off from the jack stand I use to rest her feet on!!):
Right Front, Sole View. This was after I rasped the heels down to sole level, and after I rasped the outside hoof wall sole level. The inside hoof wall is untouched, other than the heels. Again, the red marks are worn off paint from the jack stand.

Left Front Solar View, "Before":

Left Front Solar View, after I rasped both heels to sole level:

Left Front Sole View, "After" - This is the finished trim.

I need to work on being more even side to side for each trim. I also have noticed that I need to rasp a bigger breakover on Arabee's hind feet in the toe. Slowly getting better all the time. Comments/Suggestions will be appreciated!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hoof Trimming Pictures - Arabee's Hind Feet

Okay, so I trimmed Arabee's hind feet yesterday.

Took before, after, and during pictures!

This picture is of her left hind - The first thing I did was rasp both of the heels level with the sole from the bottom of the hoof. Then I turned her leg around (instead of out behind her so I can see the bottom, I pulled her leg in front and propped it up on the jack) and rasped from top. I rasped starting where I had stopped at the heel from underneath, then worked my way around to the toe. Here I have only done half of the hoof (except the heels have already been done on both sides). The scrapy lines you see around the frog on the sole are just from the hoof pick...I did not rasp her sole at all.

This is the "before" shot of the right hind sole, after I cleaned it out with the hoof pick.

Here is the after shot of the right hind sole. I followed the same procedure: heels level with sole, trim from the top one side, trim from the top the other side, make sure the mustang roll is smooth. (pardon the tail hairs in the was windy!)

Here's the before shot of her left hind foot resting on the ground from the front. Arabee toes out in the back quite a bit.
And here is the after shot, of both her left hind from the front, and the right hind from the side angle view, makes it easier to see the way her conformation makes her toes point. I'm pretty pleased with the way this trim came out.

I've re-started walking with Arabee up and down the road, which has really helped give her work on hard ground, and has improved the concavity in her hooves. (I had stopped this practice when the pasture was finally dry enough and tall enough to allow turnout for Arabee but am glad to start it again) It's also going to keep me from gaining a bunch of weight!!! I want to measure out exactly how far I am estimate is that Saturday we walked a little under 1.5 miles....but that's just a guess. We started at the barn, headed North to the 90 degree turn, came back, rounded the corner, passed the mailbox, and turned around at the bottom of the hill where the ditch goes under the road, then back down to the end of the barn lot, and back to the pasture for Arabee. I know that the barn lot is 1/10th of a mile one we for sure did at least .2 miles on gravel, which I think will help with Arabee's feet wearing better on their own.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shoo Fly!

So I want to know:
What do you all use for fly spray???
My experience with fly spray has been poor - usually horse flies ignore it, but it does help with the smaller flies that swarm around the face somewhat. I just have not been satisfied with any products I've used - do any of you guys have fly sprays that just always seem to work well??
My horses don't enjoy wearing fly masks. Jack ran through an electric fence wearing one (I guess he just didn't see it!), and Arabee just seems VERY spooky when she's wearing hers out on pasture. Seems as though wearing the mask diminishes the eye sight enough to put her "on edge" and I think she'd prefer shaking her head free of flies than being nervous about the stuff she thinks she can't see.
So I'm curious - does anyone have specific products they use that they swear by??

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Today's Ride

Here are some pictures of the ride we had today. I decided that today will be my last ride for this pregnancy. Over the last week my belly has really "popped" out there big time, and I felt pretty off-balance. It's not often you see pictures of pregnant women riding horses, I thought they were funny!

I just wanted to get the pictures up...I'll write more tomorrow about what we actually did....and how Arabee was trotting off...kind of lame, actually. So bottom line is that it's a good thing for Arabee that tonight will be my last right until after Baby is born.

Well, it was really no biggie what we did - I caught her, saddled up, and Matt and I were just going to go for a quiet walk down the road. Right away after I settled into the saddle I was just like, "Whoa! This big belly has got me off-balance!" and I already told Matt that this was going to have to be my last ride...I was just too much "off" to be well-balanced and safe much longer.

Arabee was super-super looky. So I told Matt I needed to trot her a bit to get her "fresh" off before we tried walking down the road again. There were calves now turned out in the pasture I'd used to ride in, so we had to keep to the barn lot driveway (gravel). After about 5 minutes of trotting, I started noticing her feeling "off" and then it was just obvious she was having problems when her head was gently bobbing (or was that just her mane flopping? was pretty discreet, but it was still there) at the trot. Not good. So I asked Matt and his dad to tell me which leg it was. I suspected it was her injured RF, but they were having a REALLY hard time being able to tell me for sure. But that was the leg they settled on. Shoot!

It could've just been the gravel and she may have stepped wrong, since she was fine for the first 5 minutes or so. Since this was going to be our last ride though until probably December or January, I decided we'd go ahead and try the nice quiet walk down the road originally planned. She really wasn't any calmer, and was just really hooking her neck and blowing and looking all around and essentially "forgetting" all about I hopped off and we called it quits.

Riding horses you really just have to forget about the risk of falling off and just RIDE.....but being as I am carrying a precious baby, my mind was pretty in-tune with the idea that falling off was not an option. So rather than ride all wishy-washy on a spooky horse, I felt that the best thing was to just hop off and play it safe. Kind of a disappointing way to "go out" for the year, with a spooky, inattentive mount and a lame horse, but that's the way it was!

I still have all kinds of plans for doing in-hand work with her for the rest of the summer, this won't be the last you hear from me by any means, but I just won't be riding! I'm actually pretty glad it working out this way, I should be able to allow her plenty of rest to allow that coronet band injury to grow out before I try serious riding again, she should become super-familiar with the local area I plan to handwalk her in this summer, and I should be able to perfect her barefoot trim, hopefully.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday's Ride

Okay, so I have to admit I have a great big grin on my face as I just typed the title to today's post. :-) I hadn't ridden since the 18th of April, and it was really good to ride yesterday.

It wasn't a great ride - Arabee was being sort of a turd. "What's that, you want me to pay attention to you?!" She has an independent mind, that's for sure! Walked for a few laps in the barn lot, trotted a few laps there as well, then wandered across the road to walk some calm laps in the pasture. Or, that was MY plan, anyway. It looked vastly different than the last time we'd ridden there - grass was knee-high, and once we stirred up a young rabbit! She kept breaking into a trot, and single-rein-stops weren't really changing her tune any. So I started circling her each time she tried trotting, focusing on keeping my seat deep and at a walking rhythm. I'd circle her until she slowed down, then we'd walk on, circle some more, walk on....finally she gave me one pretty much full lap of walking.

Headed back to the barn lot for some more trotting. I focused on being able to quickly get her to flick an ear to me, which meant we did some "fancy" work, since she was pretty well ignoring me. Trot, halt, back, 180, trot off.....various little exercises to remind her to pay attention to me! It payed off, she was relaxing and paying attention to me instead of looking out for herself, so we went back across the road into the pasture again, and got one nice lap of walking in. At this point we'd been riding for 35 minutes, and I had been aiming for 30, so I quit. If I get to ride again this week, I expect she'll be much more responsive after last night's session, since really I didn't work her hard, except that she made it hard for herself by trying to trot and then having to circle, or ignoring my polite requests for attention and having to do backing and turning.

I was surprised how sweaty she was when I hopped off! I put some water in a bucket and sponged her off, and wiped the tack down - She was wet and lathered! Also I discovered part of why she might have been fussing me in the pasture - the grass had been rubbing the cut on her RF leg, and it had fresh blood on it. I felt pretty awful for asking her to turn so much, since I'm sure that was what caused the fresh bleeding - she walks around all day on her own in the pasture, but not a lot of turning, so next ride I will avoid the grass until she is fully healed. But I'm glad I worked on the respect issues in the pasture, not the road, since if I can't ride in the grass, I'll have to ride on the road a bit more.

Can't wait to get back on and ride again! The end of May I will be 18 weeks pregnant, and the doctor only OK'd me to ride until 18-20 weeks, so I better get some riding in while I can!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hoof Trimming

So this week's task was updating the barefoot trims on Jack and Arabee.

((WARNING: at the very bottom of this post is a picture of Arabee's injured hoof. So, if you don't want to see it, don't scroll down too far! There are 2 pictures of Jack, and 3 pictures of Arabee before the injured hoof shows up.))

Here is Jack's "Before" shot of his fronts from his right side taken on Thursday evening:

And shown here are his "after" shot taken on Sunday afternoon:
I've had Jack since he was 15 years old, he is now 29. He has ALWAYS had front feet that quite resemble a ski slope - long and flared toes. When we still lived with my parents, we went through quite a many farrier. He usually wore shoes during the summer show season, and went barefoot through the winter. He's not been ridden regularly since 2002, not been ridden at all since 2005, and although he always enjoyed going for a ride, just 5 minutes at a walk was all he could handle due to arthritis. Jack has been known to look long right after being trimmed, and was doing okay hoof-wise with the same farrier since 2005, but I've seen great improvement in his hoof shape since I started taking the rasp and doing his trimming last August.

This last time I really worked on backing up the toe, and hope to continue bringing his toes back gradually until he no longer has that "ski slope" look. I am also working on a long-time battle with thrush with him, which I think will improve now that we're able to have the horses on pasture and not in the "dry" (usually muddy all winter) lot. Improving his frog health should probably help his overall hoof shape gradually. I'm currently using a chemical that I bought at the local Tractor Supply Co., green, and I am interested in trying a more "natural" thrush remedy. Any suggestions??

I only have "after" photos of Arabee. I did her fronts on Saturday morning, and her rear feet Saturday afternoon. All pictures were taken on Sunday afternoon, after I hosed off her muddy feet, which is why her legs are wet looking.
This is her front feet taken from her left side:
I need to try to wait a week between trimming Jack and Arabee, since their feet are so different. I feel like I got way too carried away with the left front hoof at the toe, almost like I was still in the mindset of trimming Jack the Ski Slope. I felt awful after the trim with the LF, since I actually rasped so much wall away at the toe that she's almost totally walking on her sole for the front 1/4 to 1/3 of her hoof. But the longer I look at the pictures, the more I start to think that the LF is the more correct trim, perhaps not quite enough of a roll on the RF hoof. Maybe I didn't rasp quite enough on the RF because of over-doing it on the LF. She is sound, I longed her a bit right after the trim and I could not see any "off" movement. Any input on this??

The bottom of her right hind hoof:

Another shot of her front feet, showing the difference between the RF and LF:
The LF is resting on the sole for the front 1/4 to 1/3 of the hoof. The RF has some wall touching all the way around the hoof. Which is more correct? I am thinking perhaps somewhere in the middle.
She's lost some concavity in her hooves since her stall-rest and not being ridden. I hope to get on and ride some this week if the weather cooperates, and I might have found someone who will ride her a little this summer, Matt's cousin who's in high school, but I know she might get busy. Anyway, I hope her concavity returns with some work, either under saddle or in hand.

Okay, last warning! Next picture is of Arabee's injured RF hoof.
It shows me holding it up. At the top of the leg you can see some scabbing, that has nothing to do with the actual injury. I suspect it is scratches, unfortunately. Below the scabbing is the actual cut on her pastern, which went through the coronet band, and into the hoof about an inch. You can see the ring around the top of the hoof where it has started to grow out. At one point, her leg was so swollen and puffy that her hoof started to curl away from the coronet band, so it looks like it's starting to grow back well. I am still concerned about the part of the coronet band that actually got sliced through - I hope that hoof growth returns to normal there.
For now I have been trimming as usual, just restoring the mustang roll around the wall to the level of the sole. While her hoof is healing, is there any sort of trimming I should be doing differently?? Especially as the injured part grows down and out.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

1st Saturday in May

Well, my two horses apparantly know what day it is today.

Usually when I open the gate to the pasture, they gallop out to the middle then give me a few strides of that big floating, tail over the back Arab trot, then stop to quite calmly eat grass after the initial burst of speed.

Not this morning!

They made not one, not two, but Three big, all-out galloping laps around the pasture, plus some of that pretty trotting, and plenty of snorting. Jack somehow managed to get out of the gate before Arabee, and I have never seen her run so fast, but she caught up with him, then lapped him.

I love getting to watch them move at liberty so freely like that! Such natural-born athletes, so talented and graceful!