I think both boys appreciated my efforts. They were happy to see me (mostly), but since my BFF had been to see them at least every other day while I was gone, they looked fabulous and none the worse for wear. Even so, it was nice to get them back on my routine.
Speedy was a teensy bit cold backed when I hopped on, but after a minute or two of walking on the buckle, he relaxed and got right to work. I kept his first day under saddle short and sweet with mostly long and low work. Since then, I've asked for more each day, so we're pretty much back to the regular program.
Izzy took a bit longer. When I saddled him on Sunday, he humped up his back and acted as though he'd never felt a saddle before. He looked so tight through his back and hind end that I opted to just lunge him rather than ride. I also called the chiropractor.
The next day, I lunged him and then rode for less than ten minutes. His back was tight, tight, tight. After riding, I turned him out where he bucked and galloped and ran around like a crazy man. The chiropractor came out later that afternoon.
The day off was good timing as the farrier came out on Tuesday. I may have mentioned this some time ago, but I have a new farrier who I really, really like. He's local which means that he can be at my barn within just a day or two, which is what happened for this visit. He knew I'd be on vacation, so he told me to call when I got back home. He came out two days later.
I also love his crew. He has a regular apprentice (?), but for this visit there was a second guy doing a ride along. Between the three of them, they had both of my horses done within an hour. They were somehow ultra efficient without acting rushed. The horses were relaxed and seemed to enjoy all of the attention.
If you'll remember, while being barefoot, his feet had pancaked quite a bit and needed to be brought back in and up. Paul had saved an earlier set of shoes that Izzy had worn and compared them to where he is right now. It took three or four months, but Izzy's feet are now nice and round without the pancake-like ovals he had been sporting.
My regular vet felt that it was a shoeing issue and sent me to the vet hospital's preferred farrier for some corrective work. That shoe job kept Speedy sound for the next six weeks, but after being re-shod, he came up lame yet again. I had Paul pull the front shoes with the plan that we would leave him barefoot until I came back from Portugal.
After being barefoot for only a few days, Speedy was completely sound. I started to ride again and even took him to a show. When Paul looked at his feet on Tuesday, he was thrilled with how well they held up to being barefoot. He pulled the hind shoes, gave Speedy a nice trim, and pronounced him good to go.
I am not a barefoot-only proponent, I love the convenience and durability of a shod hoof, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep my horses sound and comfortable. For now, Speedy is going to stay barefoot. We'll see if he can make it through our hot and dry summer with enough foot to be able to work. Paul felt like there was a good amount of growth over the past four weeks, so this should work out.
It feels great to be back on schedule. I love traveling, but I love being at home too.