Sunday, March 20, 2011

From shoes to boots in 10 days

I rode Moonie for the first time in two weeks on the weekend, and apparently both of us were grinning from ear to ear during that first ride on Saturday. The easycare boots arrived last week, and the new (secondhand) Barefoot London treeless saddle arrived a week earlier, so with equipment in hand, we were ready to go!

The difference in Moonie's movement was immediate and, well, brilliant! He moved like a young Moonie, not the stiff choppy pony-gaited horse he has been in the last few months. I noticed a difference in his movement immediately his shoes came off. Combine that with a saddle that seems to work for him (I am still dealing with it!! see pics) and I could barely sit his walk, and at the moment, his canter is too big for me to sit while I am adjusting to the saddle. His big trot is back, and I am struggling to sit his powerful working trot. All is one with the world again! I had forgotten how much movement the back and hips have to absorb when riding a horse that is truly using itself.

So, to back track. After his trim we did this:

using Keratex Hoof Soaker stuff.

And then, because he was a little sore, stepping short and not wanting to move much, we did this:

We kept the pads on his fronts only for 36 hours, then a day and a half bare, and then another 36 hours padded. This got him through the first week post trim. After that, he seemed fine. The thrush kill process has been kept up, using Keratex disinfectant. As that has really seemed to knock the worst of the thrush off, I'll swap to copper sulphate & apple cider vinegar every second day until the thrush has left town for good.

Here's a tip with the Easycare Epics: play around with the wiring set up to get the boot snug as. Moonie twists his hinds a little, and his offside hooves are a different shape (and size) to his near side hooves. His first trip around the place with the boots, and the offs were twisting. A bit of a tweak and play around, and they are better. I also opted for some pad inserts when ordering the boots. I think these will also be necessary to stabilise the off side boots. Again, it's just a matter of trial and error.

And a comment on the Barefoot London. It's lovely and soft, but sits on the horse "wide" ie there is a lot of leather/saddle under my leg. You can see how far down my legs the flaps come, and combine that with no twist at all (ie my legs stick out sideways to get around Moonie's barrel), and an 18" seat (that was the payback on getting a good buy on a second hander), I am struggling to find my seat, and place my leg correctly under my hip, let alone use my leg lightly with effect. It will come, but something to be mindful when transitioning from a commercial treed saddle (designed for riders, not horses) to a treeless saddle.

Yesterday's day 2 ride:

How wide can my  hips go?

A little bit sideways

Stretching out

Round on round

Looking like a cowpony, swinging out.

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