From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy's feet have been adjusted, and I have to say, they look, sound, and feel better.
The appointment went even better than I could have hoped for. When I arrived at Brad Allen's facility, Rosedale Farrier Supply, both Dr. Tolley and Dr. Gonzalez were already there to supervise the corrective shoeing of an older mare. It was a relief to see Dr. Tolley because I didn't want to try and explain to Brad what needed to be done. I shouldn't have worried.
Dr. Tolley explained to Brad that he thought the horse was high on the outsides of both feet. He also very succinctly summed up Speedy's lameness history, including our trip to Alamo Pintado the year before. Brad had me walk Speedy out and back a number of times while he and Dr. Tolley consulted. After much discussion, Brad felt that while Speedy was a bit high on the right side he was only a little high on the front quarter of the left side. But overall, he felt that Speedy was fairly well-balanced.
He thought that the main problem was in Speedy's conformation. While Speedy is vey well put together, he is no Secretariat (as Dr. Tolley likes to say). He's narrow at the chest and the bony structures in his front legs don't line up exactly straight and level. This all has the effect of making him a little "toe out." As a result, the angle of his foot flight is such that he wants to land outside to inside.
Another discussion ensued. Changing the way a horse lands rather than shoeing the horse the way he wants to land is a polarizing topic. For every vet and farrier who says don't do it, there are just as many who say it needs to be done. Both Brad and Dr. Tolley felt that in Speedy's case, there was enough wiggle room that they felt getting him to land flatter was the best course of action.
Since Speedy only had three and a half weeks of growth on this shoeing cycle, there wasn't a lot that Brad could do to level him off. He did take off a fair amount of toe, which surprised me as I've never thought Speedy looked long in the toe. He also snipped away the high edges on both feet so that Speedy will land with a level foot.
Once he goes through another six weeks of growth, the goal will be to actually take off even more from the outsides which will in effect leave the insides high. What this will accomplish, we all hope, is that Speedy's flight angle will still be outside high, but with nothing to land on, he will actually land flat inside of falling onto the inside heels. My husband called it a "track bar adjustment." Only the NASCAR fans will find that funny.
I took pictures of both finished front feet, but they simply look like freshly shod hooves. There's nothing remarkable in how they appear. When I rode Speedy the next day (at a walk on grass and dirt) his footfalls had much more of a clip-clop sound, and he was definitely breaking over more quickly. Even better was that he was very sound.
Besides trimming him more level, Brad also put on a much lighter weight shoe that is also slightly curved on the bottom to encourage quicker break-over. It's fairly typical to use heavier shoes for dressage horses (according to the farrier) as it encourages more action in the knees. Lighter weight shoes, on the other hand, encourage a more forward motion.
Both Dr. Tolley and Brad remarked on the long stride length that Speedy naturally has in his hind legs. With the heavier shoes however, Speedy was having a harder time getting his front feet out of the way of that long stride. That was one reason for the constant forging. The lighter shoe should allow him to pick up his front feet more quickly and stride forward.
Brad also did some adjusting to the hind feet. They were balanced laterally, but to give those front heels a break, Brad squared off the toes of the hind feet to reduce the forging. I didn't get a photo, but they look really good. During our twenty minute ride the next day, I listened very closely for the ever-present clack, clack, clack, and was delighted that the constant thwacking was gone.
Unfortunately, the WGF decided to let me go as a client. I am sure the long drive played a part, but it could also be that I am harder to work for than I think. I am sad to see him go, but I certainly wish him well as he practices his craft on other ponies. The news isn't all sad however. Dr. Tolley recommended a very fine replacement.
In fact, he spoke so highly of the new farrier that he offered to give a reference for me as a client just so the farrier would take me. I called the new farrier the day before our appointment with Brad Allen and left a message. The new farrier called me back the next morning and agreed to stop by Brad Allen's facility if he could squeeze it in. While he wasn't able to do that, we did discover that he was shoeing one of the horses next door to the barn.
We quickly made a plan for me to walk Speedy over when I got back from Brad's place. It was the perfect arrangement, and one that my previous out-of-town-farrier could never have done. The new farrier listened to the long string of adjustments that Brad and Dr. Tolley had made, and then he chimed in with a few other ideas for next time.
He was knowledgeable, intelligent, articulate, and clearly experienced in the craft of shoeing horses. He's coming back to shoe Izzy in a couple of weeks. He'll also look Speedy over for changes, and when Speedy is due again, he'll re-shoe both horses so that they're on the same schedule. Izzy will be a week or two early, but he'll have enough hoof growth to re-shoe.
So for now, we are all hoping that this addresses Speedy's recent lameness. And if not, we go back to Dr.Tolley and dig some more, but Speedy sure looks like he is moving great.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read