Sunday, June 23, 2013

What happens when you ride, a lot

I will post about the XC school shortly, I promise! In the meantime, check out this interesting comparison of O's LF. Left shot is from early April, not trimmed, second shot is of today, also not trimmed.

Her feet were complete garbage in the first shot, and they're still not great now, but they're improving. She still gets footsore when it rains and her soles soften (my paddock is full of rocks!). Her soles are still thin, but they are thickening, as you can clearly see in the photos. Her bars take the brunt of the weight in the back of the foot, and I just leave them alone - some might be keen to jump in and cut them out, and in some cases I might agree with you, but you can see how weak her wall still is in her quarters, and if I take away that support then she'll be super ouch. There's a fine line between knowing what to take away and what to just leave. In this case, as in the case with a lot of thin-soled horses, it's best to just leave it alone. She put it down for protection, and when she doesn't need it, it will wear away. (Now, if I let her over-grow and her bars got outrageously long, that's quite another thing!) 

Rockley Farm would be proud of this one - this mare was trimmed twice, both times in April, and her feet haven't been touched by tools since. Instead, I ride the crap out of her. 
The more I ride, the more her feet change. Her toes are coming back. Her flares are going away. Her soles are thickening. Her frog is beefing up. She wore in her own breakover, and as it turns out she's a little limb-crooked (look at the wear pattern) - you couldn't tell before because it was all disguised by flares and excess length. It's interesting to see these things manifest themselves. 

She does need her boots. Her feet are hardening now that our rain has gone, but when her feet are soft she can hardly walk on pavement, much less on rocks. As her feet improve this will also improve - you can see in the first shot that her soles were literally paper thin, so she was really starting from ground zero. It's only been 2.5 months after all! Her feet, being not very well shaped still and slightly crooked to boot, mean that your typical high-performance boots (Gloves, Renegades) just don't stay on. She also needs some padding in her boots, and neither the Gloves nor the Renegades work all that well with pads (although it can be done). She goes like absolute gangbusters in her Deltas, but they are bulky and big. I jumped her in them out on XC, and they did just fine, but they're more like the hiking boots of hoof boots, versus something more athletically inclined and streamlined. Over bigger fences and in tighter turns, I think I'd want something lighter and slimmer for sure. That being said, she did lots of tearing around, trotting through water, going up and down hills, etc... and didn't have a foot out of place the whole time. (But, more on that later!) 

I can't wait to see what her feet look like in a few more months!


  1. Nice progress! Her feet are really looking great.

    Will you try the new Easyboot glue-on shoes when they come out?

  2. Awesome! I have recently taken my natural trimmers advice and have been starting to learn more about trimming so this is just awesome!

  3. I'm a Renegade fan through and through, and I would say where her feet are now you could get the Rennies to stick as long as they're adjusted properly. If you can't do strap ons, go with the glue-ons. Also, the Renegade folks have been doing some experiments with pouring sole guard into the boot, letting it dry and voila, pads.

  4. I *might* be able to get the Renegades to work, I tried P's on her and they're too big.... I've had a horrible time trying to keep P's Rennies on, they're as fitted as they'll ever be but she needs pad too and the second you pick up some speed or go through water, they turn. (She has too many bony changes in her feet, they'll always be a little weirdly shaped... nothing I can do about it really.)

    DEF have been thinking about the glue-ons... can't wait to try the new Easyshoe, something with a little more breathability than a glue-on boot... but when things get intense, glue-ons are probably going to be our route. Bonus that they can be studded if I need it!

    Love Sole-guard but it's too hard for this mare in particular... she was casted for a cycle with some softer padding, and when that padding hardened up she was SO ouch in them that I pulled them off. She currently goes in a thin thin gel pad, just enough to give her some cushion. She lets me know how much sole contact is too much!

  5. My question is was she shod previously? I'm interested to see the development of her frog, and wondering if shoes had affected her feet in the past?

  6. I don't think she was shod but I don't know - maybe she was. Her original sales ad from when she was a youngster specifically said "GREAT feet" so I'm not sure what happened in the interim, why her feet were such garbage when I got her. She had supposedly been trimmed 6 weeks prior to me first getting her but I'm not sure I believe that.

    More than anything I think it has to do with her movement - she was standing around in a field hanging out for a long time doing nothing. Like muscles, the hoof is a tissue that strengthens in response to stimulus - if you don't use it, you lose it!