Monday, November 17, 2008

Hoof Beats

Saturdays ride was bittersweet for me. I knew it would be my last time for a while that I would be able to take a jaunt up the gravel road with JB.

As a result, his conditioning will be limited going forward, atleast for a few months. Today , his EDSS shoes and pads finally do come off for the winter. I made Tom hold off until the very last possible minute, not wanting my riding to be limited to soft footing.

His EDSS shoes and pads have been on since September 15th. It is highly likely that once they are off, his sole has likely softened and he will be tender once again but only for a few days until he adjusts.I am keeping my fingers crossed that the pads did their job and gave him the time needed for the sole bruise to heal once and for all.

Over the next several months, Tom will trim JB using natural balance hoof care methods taught by Gene Ovnicek. Tom learned these methods years ago (Gene is from this very part of the contry in fact) and has followed these trimming methods for his own horses all this time. With JB, atleast initially the focus will be on getting his sole callus re-developed after his stint with pads.

In addition, we hope to help JB to develop thicker sole depth using these methods. This will be one piece of the hoof anatomy that will help keep him from becoming sore. JB has a bit of deformity in his front right hoof and it tends to to want to shape out like platters with under slung heels. With frequent trimming, getting the callus back, increasing his sole depth, and working to keep his hoof proportions correct, we hope to get JB's feet backto the point where he no longer has to be so sensitive. It will be a bit of an uphill battle since the footing he lives in is soft. We have very few rocks , if any, and when it rains, we get instant mud. We typically have a fairly wet weather pattern. If only for the desert!!

No hoof , no horse as they say. If I obsess over JB's feet for the next several months, just ignore me. We have to get his feet in top condition.

This endurance career I have embarked upon with him depends on it.

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