Saturday, December 28, 2013

Easy Boot Trails

So I am taking a break from my "not horse shopping" to get back to real life matters at hand.

I had mentioned the other day that I had tried out the boots on Trax, so I thought I'd do a post on that.  

I measured Trax's feet right after his trim as per the instructions on their website.  I know they are supposed to be very very snug so I went with the low end of the measurements.  I purchased the 4's and one 5.  He one front foot that is longer actually fell in the 5 size range.

So came the time to try them on, preferable with out ruining them in case I needed to return them.  The left front went on perfectly. I had to hit it pretty hard with the palm of my hand to get it on, which I will not do again.  Next time I will use the rubber mallet in TC's shop.  I left a nice bruise on the palm of my hand.

On the RF I tried the 5 but it was actually too large. I could easily spin it on his hoof and when I walked him around a few steps I could see it slipping. So I went back to the 4 and it was clearly too small.  So I busted out my handy rasp, previously un-used except to make hamburger out of my hands.  I was careful this time to keep my hands off the rasp parts, and went to work on that hoof.

I admit to a certain amount of trepidation over this, having never actually done this before, but if you take into consideration that I had nothing to use as a stand and Trax was being less than cooperative (I suspect he was quite tired of having an amateur mess with his feet) I did manage to bring his toe back a little bit.

This is not the best picture at a perfect angle, but you can at least get an idea.

Once I did that I was able to get the 4 sized boot on without hassle.  I took him in the round pen, moved him around both directions. The boots seem to be staying in place and he was able to get used to them quite quickly.

Here is his with both boots.

I opted to skip the rears for now, mostly because I would have needed two 4's to complete the back feet, and I only had one. As it turned out he really didn't need them anyway.  I was able to move him aross the rock with out issue in just the fronts.

I saddled him up, and we rode in the arena for a bit, doing serpentine's and figure eights.  We walked, trot, cantered, around and then I checked again, they seemed to be staying in place quite nicely.

So we headed down the road with Simon and Killian.

When we got the to location where we wanted to grab the firewood I got off and held the ponies whilst the boy did his best monkey boy impression.  Actually come to think of it, when he was a youngster his nick name was Monkey Boy, because he was always climbing on stuff, over stuff, through stuff. It was impossible to keep him in a crib if he wanted out.  Of course he was just as good at climbing back in if he wanted a nap.
Anyway, as we stood there I noticed that Trax was fidgity on his feet.  So I took the boots off for a minute to see if that changed.  It didn't. But I did notice that the bulbs of his heals were shiny where the boots were rubbing.  I think that they are not quite fitting all the way in.  They did twist just a tiny bit also, but not terribly so.  I put them back on for a bit, and rode a little more, but after a while it seemed as though he was short stepping just a bit on that RF so I went ahead and pulled them off. Truthfully he did just fine with out them too. Yes there were rocky areas which had him walking a little gingerly, but the rest of the time he was fine.

So my final assessment is that I need to bring the size of his feet down just about 1/8 of an inch and I think that they will both fit better.  I think that if I can do that his hooves will fit down inside perfectly.   But he also showed me that his feet are getting stronger so I really don't need the boots unless I know I am going in seriously rocky terrain.  Since I know that there are some places I want to go ride that are very rocky, I will keep the boots for those times and keep his feet at a size where he can wear them comfortable.

I think this whole endeavor is going to be a really good thing because it is forcing me to learn how to maintain these hooves on my own.  This is something I have wanted to be able to do for a long time now, but my lack of confidence has held me back.  TC is going to build me a hoof stand so my horses can feel more stable while I am working on them.  (ok so that I don't have to try to hold up a 1000 lb animal)

Today is Saturday, I have the entire day to myself so I am going to do something things to get my head back to where it is supposed to be.  I am referring to the horses I have in the yard and not the horse I wish I had in the yard.  

I think part of my horse shopping is related to watching video's of friends of mine, who are able to ride these soft and easy horses and enjoy their competing.  I know they have worked hard to get to where they are, and I have not put in the years that they have.  But I find myself wishing I knew what it felt like to ride a horse like that.

It was so slow at work last night, so I took some time and watched some of my own video's of Trax and I.  I went from the beginning and watched our progression, and I could see where progress was made. Actually all things considered, it was quite a bit of progress in a very short time.  After all it isn't like I have any clue what I am doing.  Of course I also know that since we moved here, all progress has been pretty much lost due to the lack of actual "work" we have done.  Mostly we just fart around.

There are a lot of clinics and AZRVA events coming up in the next few months and I want to go to at least a couple of them so it is time to get "back in the game" as it were.  I had been hoping to get some lessons in with Charlie before hand, but I don't think it is going to happen. Our schedules totally clash and he is also going to be having some medical procedures done soon. So that has me back to working on my own.  I may start looking into some other trainers, so to see if there is anyone locally who can work with me.

For now I will just go back to working on the things that Mark taught me, and see if I can't find what I am looking for in Trax.

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