From Endurance to Dressage
That's Jaime Osbrink, World's Greatest Farrier ...
This visit was a bit special because we had all sorts of issues to address. Jaime's been doing my horses for a long time. I don't need to be there as they are always very well behaved. Jaime knows what to do, and he certainly doesn't need me telling him how to shoe my horses. That's his area of expertise, not mine.
The last time he was out however, Speedy had an absolute meltdown. We think we know why (not having Sydney there combined with a very noisy gardener), but the end result was that Jaime got hurt and Speedy was a few nails shy of a complete shoe job. I've spent the last six weeks working with Speedy by hammering his feet daily and plying him with treats for being such a good boy; he'll do anything for treats.
Fortunately, Speedy feels that his world has been righted, and to show us his appreciation, he was a very good boy. To make things go easier for a return to good-boy-land, Jaime did Speedy's front feet, put him away, did Izzy's feet, and then finished up with Speedy's hinds. We both took a sigh of relief when Speedy dozed through the application of his hind shoes.
When I told Jaime that Speedy was again lame on the right front, and I felt it was from the twisting and twirling that he does in his paddock, Jaime decided to shelve the shoes he had already prepared and opted to make new ones. Instead of shoes with a groove down the middle, he thought it might help Speedy to have a flat shoe which offers less traction and friction. So as he paces and spins, his feet should slide a little and not "grab" at the dirt which causes torque on the collateral ligament (we hope).
It took Jaime about fifteen minutes to make the shoes. Since there is no groove down the center, they should slide a bit more as he spins and paces which might be easier on the collateral ligament. If it doesn't help, it won't hurt, so it's a good experiment.
Izzy's feet also needed a custom shoe. Since he's lived barefoot on irrigated pasture his whole life, he had some pretty good flares going. As the foot got wider and wider, a crack developed down the center. Izzy had one set of shoes when he was first started as a four year old, and his second set came while he was with "the trainer" up north.
I don't know all of the details, but I was told that Izzy proved to be quite a handful for the farrier and ended up needing to be tranquilized. I've spent the last six weeks working on Izzy's shoeing behavior. When he first arrived, he didn't pick up his feet when asked, and when he did, he was quite heavy and prone to jerking them back whenever he felt like it. All of that is pretty standard for colts who haven't had their feet messed with regularly.
Izzy isn't a baby anymore, and I expect my horses to stand quietly for the farrier, so I spent a lot of time teaching him to hold up his own feet. I also placed them on a mounting block to simulate the farrier's stand, and each day I used my hammer to whack Izzy's feet and then held them between my knees like the farrier does.
My vet prescribed a tube of Dormosedan Gel in case we needed it, but Izzy was nearly perfect. By the time Jaime got to the second foot, Izzy was definitely getting bored, but he expressed his boredom by flinging his cross ties and trying to nibble anything within six feet.
While "the trainer's" farrier did get shoes on him, he did not address the pancakes that were Izzy's feet. I suppose that was better than cramming them into shoes that were too small, but still. Jaime's plan is to "squish" (poor word choice, but I can't think of another) Izzy's feet back together which will take the pressure off the crack down the center. He has plenty of heel, he just has way too much width which is putting pressure on the toe, acting as a wedge.
The new shoes, a respectable size three, will support the outer wall which will prevent the sides from splaying out. This will stop the wedge-like effect that was forcing the crack to widen down the front of the hoof. The pressure will come off, which will allow the crack to stop forming. I could be wrong about this, but I believe the cut-out at the toe allows the sole to sink towards the ground which the has the effect of closing the crack at the top.
Notice how wide the bar stock is for these shoes; it's nearly twice as wide as the store bought shoes from above. I also really appreciate how Jaime sculpted the ends of the shoes to avoid the heel bulbs which gives them room to expand.
I've pointed this out many times, but it's nice to give myself a reminder: I have an awesome team supporting my riding goals. My farrier, along with my chiropractor, works hard to keep my horses sound and moving well; my vet provides treatment protocols that are effective and based on current knowledge; my trainers believe in my horses and support my goals; and even my saddle fitter keeps us all comfortable and able to work hard. And I definitely couldn't make this crazy equestrian life work without a supportive husband and a slew of good riding friends (you know who you are!).
Thanks to all of you for keeping Speedy, Izzy, and me on the right track!
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 the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: