From Endurance to Dressage
I don't get to see my farrier very often because he typically comes in the middle of the day, and I am usually at work. For this month's visit, I of course was able to be there. It was great to see him, and even better to pick his brain.
Both of my horses grow a fair of amount of foot which means my farrier comes every five to six weeks. Longer than that and we start to have problems, and not just with pulled shoes.
My farrier is an integral part of Team Speedy (and Team Izzy, too), so when he talks, I listen. The truth is he never has anything critical to say. Either I am doing things right, or I am just blessed to have horses with good feet. It's probably a combination of the two, and having a great farrier hasn't hurt either. My farrier is well aware of Speedy's PPID diagnosis, so he understands why I have a lot of questions regarding the health of those feet.
A week or so ago, I tried to use EasyBoots on Speedy, but I just couldn't get them on. These are the same boots that I've used on him for years. I hadn't tried to put one on him since ... well I can't remember when, but it's been at least four years, maybe more. No matter how hard I pried and wedged and twisted, that boot just wouldn't go on. I eventually flipped the boot over and measured it against the bottom of his hoof. To my surprise, his hoof was wider than the boot by at least a quarter inch - all the way around. I gave up, and Edyta rode him barefoot.
I asked my farrier about it, and he explained it like this. Without a shoe holding Speedy's hoof wall in place, the wall has been able to expand and spread out. Not in a pancake way, mind you, but in a more supportive way. My farrier is really happy with how Speedy's feet have changed over the five years that he's been taking care of my horses' hooves. It was this farrier who suggested Speedy's earlier lameness issues were a result of him whacking himself with shod feet which was causing bruising. Once we pulled Speedy's shoes and his feet adapted to being barefoot, those random lameness bouts never returned.
Barefoot is not for every horse, of course, but it sure is convenient when it works. I got so tired of Izzy pulling shoes that I eventually rode him barefoot for a while. Sadly, his front feet just couldn't handle it. He wore them off to a diamond shape month after month which left him unbalanced in his movement. We compromised by putting shoes on the front feet only. He still pulls one every now and then, but leaving him barefoot in the back has worked out really well.
While my farrier's assistant was trimming Izzy's hind feet, he leaned around and asked if I've been doing much riding. Every day, I responded. He laughed and said that he could tell. Izzy didn't have anything to trim in the back, so he just ran the rasp around to smooth things up a bit.
Last month I wrote a post showing how the mystery hole in Speedy's foot was growing out. Just as I'd hoped, the last bit of the hole was long gone before my farrier even had a chance to trim it this week. The red circle shows where the hole was just five and a half weeks ago.
A good farrier is really worth his weight in gold. I am lucky to have found one that's both knowledgeable and reliable. He's also a really nice guy. If you're local and you read this post on Facebook, leave a comment about your own farrier. Even if you're not local, tell us how great your farrier is no matter where you live. I think we need to toot their horns a bit.
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%: