Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And then suddenly...

... I started blogging again.

You know how sometimes there's plenty going on, but you're just not inspired to blog? Yeah, that's been me. I've been riding - although with highs last week of 105, I admit not as much as I'd like, especially given that we've got a show this Saturday. I've made it through the entire four seasons of White Collar (yes, in two weeks. Don't ask.), and am now bummed that I will only get to see Matt Bomer (swooooon) weekly, or on re-runs. The husband is out of town, but nothing has broken (yet) - still waiting for that axe to fall. And the current scorpion body count stands somewhere north of 15 (UPDATE: Make that 16. I just squished another one on the wall. Ugh). I have no idea why there are so many all at once when I haven't seen any for months, but at least the little bastards are showing up dead or nearly so.

Let's see, what to catch up on. Oh, Saga's got a new farrier. This one also works for a (different) vet, but actually calls back and responds to text messages. He makes house calls too, so I might not have to haul any more to get Saga shod. That would be super-awesome-nice. The first shoeing job was a little scary, but Saga is sound and comfortable, so... I guess it's all good.

 LF. That damn bulge is STILL there, after two years of trying so many ways to let it grow out. The new farrier is trying to rasp down the hoof wall, which makes me cringe. HOWEVER, when I pointed out that what really needs to happen is that the wall needs to be at the same angle all the way down WITHOUT rasping, he said, "You're right, and that's where we're going to be in six months or so." At least we both have the same end goal in mind!

 When he pulled the previous set of shoes, a huge chunk of toe came off. Awesome. Saga was at 5 weeks exactly... he looked more like 9 weeks.

 LF. Better, although the hairline is still pushed up at the quarters.

At least he's sound.

I've been doing regular jumping lessons, and seem to be mostly improving. I'll work on one thing and then something else (that I thought I'd already fixed) will break. Also, after seeing me school some of the Training XC fences (3'3 ish), Paige has jacked the fences up. We're jumping mostly 2'6-3'. It's going pretty well - my big challenges continue to be keeping the elbows in, and not letting him get rolling up to the fence. Saga is naturally downhill and has a big chest and shoulder, so it's hard for him to balance back. We're getting better, but we've got a long ways to go before I'll really feel like the power is coming from behind.

Paige also snuck up a nice 3'3-ish oxer on a line we were doing. I came around and said something like "HOLY CARP THAT'S HUGE". She reminded me not to look at it, and Saga jumped through like a pro. Is he awesome or what?!?! (Please ignore my 'flying chicken' elbows).

This coming Saturday is the LOPE benefit horse show. I'm riding Saga and Oberon in two dressage classes each (Intro B and C), a hunter over fences class each (Saga at 2'6 and Oberon is jumping Xs and will likely spook at the flowers), and a trail versatility class each (Saga ridden and Oberon in-hand). One of the likely obstacles on the trail versatility course will be walking over a tarp on the ground. Oberon will walk over one, but every time I move it to a new place, it's a whole new game. Most recently, he licked the tarp and then picked it up in his teeth, managing to scare the crap out of himself when the whole thing moved. Yep, he's speshul. I just hope he doesn't do something that classy at the show. I'm also on to him about eating fake flowers (he tried that at our jumping lesson last week). With his penchant for sampling anything and everything, I'm starting to wonder if perhaps he's part goat.

Intro B I'm not worried about. Intro C, with the canter, is going to be ... bad. Oberon has a canter departure that sort of resembles a Lazy Boy sofa trying to throw itself across the room, or maybe a hippo trying to heave itself to its feet. You can almost hear him go "UH!" on the departure. It's not exactly the most graceful thing ever, and I can't wait to hear what the judge has to say about it. Saga's canter departs, especially to the right, usually involve falling in on his shoulder, pinning his ears, and running. They're awesome and make me feel like SUCH a good rider (NOT). I decided to take him out and longe him the other night to see how he did on the longe line, and the answer is... he can't do a canter depart to save his life. He's so unbalanced he just can't do one cleanly, even on his own. It was really eye-opening watching him struggle so much - it's not just me, although I am obviously not helping any. We're not going to fix anything in time for Saturday, but I'll be longing him more regularly to help him figure it out on his own. In the meantime, we'll just muddle through the test and hope for a miracle.

Did I mention that MC, Cash's beloved Auntie (and Chief Bringer of Carrots) is taking him to the show as well? And that Cash's canter departs are nothing short of perfect? I'm going to get my ass kicked by my friend riding my "retired" schoolmaster. But hey, the ribbon she's going to come home with will look great just the same! ;)


  1. Oh my Goodness... those SHOES. They look medieval.... but I guess if he's sound? I'm having that same 'pushing up at the quarters' problem with Maest- what exactly is that from? Too much pressure on the quarter walls?

    Glad to have you back writing posts!

  2. LL, I know, they look horrible don't they? I try not to think about it too much, because when he was barefoot and his feet looked great, he was dead lame. And they're just regular shoes with quarter clips on them, nothing special at all.

    The 'pushing up the quarters' problem is indeed from too much pressure on the quarters at the shoe. BF horses generally don't make contact with the ground on the quarters - you can usually slide a credit card under the quarters if they are standing on concrete. Shod horses' walls make contact all the way around the shoe. I have seen what's called "three point shoeing" with the toe and heels touching the shoe - the idea is to take pressure off the quarters. Not sure if it's any better/worse than any other shoeing style?

    1. So, do quarter clips add or remove pressure from the quarters?

    2. Clips are supposed to help hold the shoe on, but in doing so put pressure on wherever they are located (toe, quarters). In Saga's case, the farrier used clips because he wanted to provide more heel support and use fewer nails (6 instead of 8). I really don't know what's "better" for the horse.

      I should also point out that quarter clips are kind of a misnomer. If you're looking at the hoof and the toe is 12 noon, the quarters are at 3 and 9, not where the clips are in the picture. So quarter clips actually put more pressure on the toe area than the quarter area, I think.

      Clear as mud? ;)

  3. I know nothing about shoeing, trimming. But I am learning, and yes, those shoes do look medieval. But sound is good! I took a bit of a blog break, but am back with our "daily routine.." Not as exciting as most blogs, but we are slowly learning. :)

  4. The shoes look ok, the hoof looks wretched. Any idea where/what the bump even comes from? Yikes.

    Glad he's sound. My guy has less than beautiful feet and is sound, so I guess it works.

    1. SB, that bump is where the laminae start to pull away from the hoof wall. It's been there pretty much since I got him, despite ongoing attempts to allow it to grow out all the way down. Here's what his foot looked like about a year ago, when we first went back to shoes. I have pics from further back, but his feet have been that way, like, forever.

      There's a really good pic of what Saga's feet would look like if they weren't in shoes on the Rockley Farm blog. Fortunately for that horse, the hoof capsule grew out all the way to the ground at the new angle. Saga's just seems to stick right about 1/3 of the way down, no matter what I do. SO FRUSTRATING.

  5. Don't fear the rasped hoof wall! :) I know this is a point of contention where horse people are concerned, but sometimes it's just what needs to happen to get things fixed. Since you didn't rasp it for over 2 years and he still has that bulge, it sounds like rasping is what it'll take to get rid of it. When the new growth comes in, it's just going to follow the old path, but by slowing rasping the hoof wall into a healthy shape, the new growth can come in that same way. At least that's what my trimmer taught me and it has worked WONDERS on Lilly's hooves. If you have a healthy hoof, you don't need to rasp the wall, but in Saga's case, it sounds like the best option.

    I'm just glad to hear he's sound!

    1. I hear what you're saying about rasping the walls, but I truly don't understand it. The laminae are still weak and stretched on the inside, regardless of what the outside of the wall looks like. And the wall follows the laminae, so rasping the wall shouldn't affect how the laminae attache, especially that high up.

      The only way I can see rasping the wall would make a difference is to rasp the edge of the hoof way back to the sole, to take all the pressure off hoof wall (and therefore the laminae) and stop having them pulled out away from the rest of the hoof.

      Of course, Nic at Rockley Farm rasps neither the wall NOR the toe, and those rehab horse's feet grow out perfectly every time. I wish I could get her magic formula at my house, really I do!

      I am truly glad that your method has worked for Lilly. I am just hoping that the new farrier can help Saga grow the hoof that's right for him, since nothing else I've done seems to have made a difference one way or the other.

  6. "When the new growth comes in, it's just going to follow the old path, but by slowing rasping the hoof wall into a healthy shape, the new growth can come in that same way."

    This is not necessarily true. A horse that is metabolically compromised or on a crap diet may still put out weak, flared growth no matter what you do to the hoof wall. If the laminae are weak internally, and it isn't corrected, rasping the outer hoof wall will only thin the outer hoof wall and create an increasingly unstable hoof. Removing the mechanical issue at hand doesn't necessarily mean removing hoof wall - a properly applied roll or bevel will do exactly the same thing without the risk of overly thinning the wall. That being said, there is a time and a place for wall thinning, and there are many roads to the top of the mountain. Whatever works for the individual.

    Just because a hoof wall is currently rasped straight (or is straight by itself) doesn't mean that it won't flare if something happens. All hooves are born straight, but they hardly ever stay that way. If they did, our jobs would be SO dang easy!!

  7. Stupid Blogger won't let me reply to any current posts, so I'm going to start a new one. It seems (as usual) that it depends on what the horse's issue is, and I can see your point and Andrea's as well.

    In my extremely non-professional opinion, rasping the hoof wall will remove any growth rings which could be jamming the hairline, potentially slowing down the growth of the hoof, and making it far too easy for the new growth to deviate from the ideal path of growth.

    Relieving stress from the hairline is important because that's one of the main arteries, and if the hairline is jammed, the artery is constricted and the supply of blood flow is restricted. I try to relieve that when and where it's necessary and in turn the jammed hoof wall will relax and help re-establish that good blood flow.

    Since that the lamina grows from the hairline and the hoof wall grows from the lamina (from the inside out), I don't think that rasping the hoof wall is a dangerous thing to do. If for some reason the hoof wall is thinned too much, the lamina will replace the wall from the inside out.

    Again, just my experience with my one horse and the before and after pictures make me a believer (for Lilly's specific issues). Saga isn't Lilly, but perhaps a little bit of rasping is just what he needs to get his hoof on the right track. :)

  8. Some more info on rings in the foot and what is happening internally can be found here:

    Specifically, this:
    "The normally straight papillae become kinked, but the basal cells of the coronary epidermis usually continue to elaborate hoof wall, albeit more slowly and in a distorted direction. The kink imposed on the papillae is reflected in the hoof wall tubules: they are kinked too. After the acute episode the
    coronet usually recovers to some extent and produces hoof tubules with a more correct
    orientation. However, the kinked tubules; remain in the hoof wall until they grow out at the
    ground surface. Kinked hoof wall tubules can be seen in sections of chronically foundered
    feet post mortem (Figure 7.10). A groove in the hoof wall, corresponding to the zone of
    kinked tubules, is visible on the surface of the hoof wall. The depth of the groove gives some indication of the severity of the acute episode."

    Any growth rings or grooves are a sign that for a moment in time, those laminae were weakened. We can do what we want externally, but internally, that groove is still there until it grows out. Those laminae are still stretched and those horn tubules are still bent inside, even if the outside looks flat.

  9. I hope the new farrier is just what Saga needs to have happy hooves.