Sunday, April 17, 2016
My farrier came back on Friday. I have said before that he is my most trusted and valued equine professional. Thankfully his son seems to want to follow his footsteps and is showing a lot of promise in the art because I could outlive him and I worry about what on earth I will do without him!
He has been fantastic with Khaleesi. I try to prepare her as much as possible but there’s only so much re-creation I can do with the experience of hot shoeing and the sizzle of burning hoof and the cloud that forms. Absolutely it’s scary for a minute but it does not hurt and is important to getting the best fit possible and with the rides we are doing, we need the best fit possible.
She is decent at holding still for most of the process now but after a conversation of where we’ve been (Leatherwood and conditioning locally) and where we’re headed (No Frills 30 which is rough and rocky then hopefully Biltmore 50 which recommends hoof protection for all rides and suggests pads for the 75 and 100 milers) he made a few adjustments that required a good seating with the heat in order to ensure the best chance of keeping her feet protected and setting her up in a way to help her push from her hind with power and roll over easily on the front.
She has good feet in general. They are hard, they don’t chip, and we (knock on wood) haven’t seen any white line even in the wet season- and no abscesses or stone bruises. This time all four shoes wore more evenly (great!) He said this visit that her only problem is they don’t grow very fast. That coupled with the fact she has slightly dropped soles which I think contributed to her sensitivity to rocky terrain.
I wonder if that could be connected to the same nutritional issues that inspired Jeannie to suggest the power pack wormer. I wonder if we did have issues with encysted parasites (clean now) that her hooves may start growing better. If not we will try adding biotin to see if that makes a difference – but the slow growth is not a big problem in the scheme of things.
Regardless of her strong hooves- she is still tender footed on rocks. She was like that in the renegade boots and she is like that in metal shoes. If the rocks are bad enough they slow her down. I was considering asking my farrier about padding options but in his questions about our riding he beat me to it.
Is she tripping much?
Does anything seem to slow her down? How is she on rocks?
She has always been finicky about rocks.
How is the no frills ride? Is it rocky?
We have a nickname for one loop that seems like 5 miles descending in a dry riverbed hollow: The 7th ring of hell.
I’d like to try padding her fronts to see if that helps.
Great idea, let’s do it.
She is still under 10 shoeing visits in her life and only the last 2 have we even tried to hot shoe. He introduced it with a pretty brief and quick burn and it sent her three legged hopping back down the barn aisle with my farrier in tow-
Don’t punish her- she’s just got to learn its ok- she’s actually doing really well!
Ok… If that is doing really well I can’t imagine what his job is like…
The second visit the burn was still minimal and we would school her (back her, move her feet) for not standing – but still gave her the benefit of learning curve.
This – the third visit we had to get serious because he needed a more seated burn to make the set up work.
We did the fronts first and true enough she tried to rear. She didn’t carry Brandon across the barn at least and we worked together: when she acted up and he dropped her foot I would back her down the barn aisle hard and fast to communicate that I want her to stand still even though it’s uncomfortable.
She’s a tough cookie. She got a little better and it was in the end the noise more than anything. At the last setting we talked loudly to distract from the sizzle sound and it made a big difference.
After the farrier visit we took a climb up the mountain and the ridge road has a fair amount of embedded rocks – overall she seemed to not mind them as much; her willing speed picked up and we had to slow down her trot to wait for Faygo who Madge was riding for team green. Madge is a nice rider and very experienced but most people not used to gaited horses have a learning curve and she needed to hold Faygo back in order to encourage her to gait and not canter or jig her.
Khaleesi’s heart rate was stable around 120-130 as we trotted gradually uphill around 7mph. Occasionally she’d ask to canter and her heart rate would drop down to 110. This I found interesting. When we stopped cantering it would shoot up for a few seconds to 140 then either settle back to 120-130 as we trotted or if we stopped it would drop to under 100 quickly and if we stopped for more than a minute down to 60. Just data to watch. Her recoveries are still quick and she’s in great shape.
Still on track.