From Endurance to Dressage
I am a Pollyanna, glass half full, make lemonade, and see the silver lining kind of girl. Usually. Right now, Universe, I am OVER. IT.
When I went out to check on Speedy last night, hopeful that he was looking perky and ready to get back to work, I noticed that both front legs were filled and his stride was pretty wonky.
He looked good on the foot that had just abscessed; it was the other one that he didn't want to bear weight on. Even so, I gave the first foot a thorough exam, poking and prodding as I watched for a pain reaction. Nothing. On the other hand, I got a solid Hey! That hurts!!! as I pressed deeply within the creases of the frog on the other hoof.
I packed his hoof with Numotizine as I rolled my eyes. Repeatedly. It is what it is, but really, Universe, I could use a break. What with three abscesses, two horses, and one sad girl, you'd think it was beginning to look a lot like the "Twelve Days of Christmas." I don't need four of anything unless I also get five glorious days (of weather combined with healthy horses).
Happy first day of Christmas vacation (starting at 1:00) to me!!!!!!!
That's no joke. They have Cinderella feet for sure. Good thing I have a good farrier. Both of my boys stand very patiently for the farrier, so he just comes and does them whether anyone is around or not. As someone with a full time job, this makes my life so much easier.
Since I was on vacation last week, I was hoping to catch him in action so I could talk to him. I didn't have any major concerns, but there were a few things I wanted to ask him. He was pulling out as I pulled in, so we had a chat through our windows.
A year ago this past October, Speedy injured his coronary band sufficiently enough to put him out of business for several months. Ultimately, it has healed well except for one little thing. He's had a very narrow crack running from the ground up. That was the first thing about which I wanted to ask my farrier. When I mentioned it, he called it a line and said not to worry.
To address the line (it's a crack, am I right?), my farrier scooped out some of the hoof wall to keep it off the ground to prevent dirt from getting up inside. I am going to be honest here - while I recognize a decent shoe job and know when a foot looks horribly wrong, I leave the finer details to my farrier. That's what I pay him for. If he wants to call it a line instead of a crack and dig some hoof wall out to prevent dirt from getting in, go for it. If he says not to worry, I am worry free. So there was that.
When he finished with that clarification, he threw in a buuuuuttttt ... Well crap. I knew there had to be something. Right away he had noticed that Speedy's front feet had some unusual wear, especially THE RIGHT one. Oh, wait, you mean the one he had recently been lame on from WHIRLING AND PACING? That one? Yeah. Farrier noticed it and did some creative rasping to balance Speedy's hooves. My farrier was relieved to hear that there was an explanation for the wear because it wasn't normal for Speedy. I was just as relieved as he was.
Izzy, also known as Cinderella number two, got a good report for once. Instead of any problems, he got moved into a bigger shoe! This was great news since we put shoes on him this summer because he had worn his feet down to tiny little nubs and had gone lame because of it. Hearing that he had grown enough foot to be able to go to a correctly sized shoe for his body was great news.
Both of my Cinderellas are now good to go for the next month or so. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Speedy settles into the winter routine with no more pacing. My toes are crossed in hopes that Izzy will keep these new, bigger shoes firmly on his feet.
Farriers are certainly worth their weight in gold, and mine is no exception, but I don't want to pay him in gold for repeated visits!
A couple of weeks ago I had to put shoes on Izzy when he finally came up sore footed. Over the summer he'd been wearing his feet off faster than they were growing. I was worried about the way they were looking, almost triangular shaped, but since my farrier didn't express any concern, I kept hoping they'd normalize as we headed into fall. They didn't.
Even though he had been barefoot for nearly two years, my farrier and I decided to put shoes back on. Izzy was sound immediately. But of course, in true Izzy fashion, he pulled the left one a week later. It came off super clean with no damage to the hoof, but it took my farrier a couple of days to come back out and reset it. (What do you mean he can't be at my immediate beck and call?) I didn't want to risk chipping the hoof at all, so Izzy got a week off as we waited for the farrier.
The first couple of times that I rode him with the original new shoes, we had a come meet Jesus ride followed by a see how nice it is when you behave? ride. Then he pulled the shoe.
I am not a barefoot only! nor a shoe them all the time! proponent. I do what seems to work best for the horse. With that said, the next time I rode Izzy (with the reset shoe), he felt far more balanced and straighter than he maybe ever has. I could chalk that up to my brilliant riding, but I won't because I can't. More likely is that the new shoes have him more balanced than when he was barefoot with questionably shaped feet.
I am not sure that Izzy will keep the shoes on. Like I said, he's already pulled one, but I am going to keep my fingers crossed. I am going to leave this set of shoes on as long as possible so that he has a chance to grow out some hoof. It's an eye rolling situation; most riders want to keep their horses' toes shorter. I need Izzy's to grow out!
To help, he's still getting his Platinum Performance every day, but I've added in Platinum Hoof Support, the same thing I used for Speedy when he tried to slice off his hoof last October. I can't say that it helped - his hoof grew back just fine, but was it because of the supplement or just nature?
I don't like creating expensive poop, but I am willing to risk it if it does indeed stimulate hoof growth. Izzy needs all the help he can get.
Thanks a lot, California. Your super hot and dry conditions finally wore Izzy down. His feet that is. Two years ago this month, my farrier pulled the last shoe, and Izzy's been barefoot ever since. The hinds had been pulled the year before.
I am not anti-shoe at all, but Izzy just couldn't keep those front shoes on. He plays hard, and he loves to put his feet on, under, and around anything that will (might) bear his weight. All of that playfulness meant that his shoes were constantly getting ripped off. Eventually, he had hardly any foot left upon which to nail a shoe.
After some initial tenderness, Izzy's soles toughened right up, and he was sound as a dollar, until now. With conditions so dry here in the Golden State, Izzy has been chipping off his hoof wall faster than it can grow. Over the past six months, his feet have gotten so short that my farrier had nothing left to trim. Izzy finally came up sore footed.
After his most recent trim, if you can even call it that, Izzy looked like he had laminitis. He was so sore on his front feet that each step made me wince. I put in a call to my farrier and asked what we could do to get Izzy back in business. My farrier was actually surprised that it had taken Izzy this long to get tender. He'd been expecting a phone call long before this.
While I didn't want to do it, we agreed that Izzy needed front shoes again. My farrier came out late last week and popped on a new set of front shoes. Izzy was instantly sound. I also put him on Platinum Hoof Support, the supplement that I used for Speedy last year. It stimulates hoof growth and hardens the hoof, both are things Izzy needs right now.
Due to an unrelated hind end tweak combined with the sore front feet, Izzy hadn't been ridden in nearly three weeks. I finally got to ride him over the weekend, and while he was sound, he was also a complete jack ass.
Woohoo? Horses ...
If you'll remember back to October, Speedy separated his hoof wall from the coronary band while doing who knows what. He was on vacation for nearly three months but has healed up quite satisfactorily. In fact, he's back to work, obviously, and just as sassy as ever.
Facebook reminded me the other day of this little gem of a post. Check it out real quick - I'll wait ... Did you notice anything? Yep. Speedy did nearly the same thing back in 2011, although not as severely.
Here's what he did in July, 2011:
Here's what he did in October, 2017:
I am not positive, but I think the first one was a front foot, the right, and the second one is a hind foot, also the right. It is growing out well with no issues. As the damaged portion of the hoof gets closer to the ground, we'll see if it remains sturdy enough to ride on. So far, it's been fine.
Quit doing that, Speedy G!
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
(*) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: