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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

One in a million

These two pictures are almost exactly four months apart. In the second picture the Grey is somewhat cleaner and a bit more muscled. But apart from that I think they look pretty similar. This is what I aim for in keeping her and it isn't always easy. This horse can drop weight almost overnight and while she can end up looking like a hat rack in a couple of weeks, it can take months to put the weight back on. That said in the summer she can get fairly porky.
She has taught me to feed by eye. Weighing rations is a good idea and I always know roughly how much she is eating by weight, but I don't stick rigidly to the scales when feeding her, it just wouldn't work. There are so many variables including what she has managed to forage in the field, the weather, the cows (they stress her out sometimes) and how many snacks she has managed to weedle out of passers by.
She is currently having just enough breakfast to sneak her supplements into. Breakfast is boiled linseed and about 200g of no sugar or mollasses alfalfa.
She is a long way from a top show or competition horse, but she is one in a million to me.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Bulking up their butts

This is one of the hills at Firle that we will use to bulk up the girls butts. The dots in the middle ground are a group of walkers. Horizontally they are probably less than 100 ft away. But what I haven't captured so well is that it is quite a long way down.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

High performance barefoot

This is at Firle. I last rode here well over 10 years ago. Its great riding country, however there is an abundance of flint which can test the tenderfooted. But these cows seem to be having a great time!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Feet can grow really fast

The side on shots show the same foot in January, March and April. Our trimmer was out of action during February and March and you can see how despite lots of road work the foot just 'ran away'.

The heel shots show March and April. The heels had got too long and the Grey was moving like a drunken camel. With her heels a more comfy length (for her) she goes like an express train on greased rails.

These shots show the solar domes on the front feet. Despite less than perfect heels/frogs and living mostly on a rather soggy grass track she is still rock crunching.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Spot the difference - take two

These are all pictures of the same foot (you can see the pigment in the sole is the same). The first one was taken on the 24th January 2009 and the last was taken this morning, 22 April 2009. The main change in management has been washing, drying and then spraying the frog with a variety of potions (testing for efficacy and ease/safety of use.) This foot is not picture perfect, but the horse (the Grey in this blog) seems happy, rock crunching and apparently tireless.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Everything has gone blue

I have a new camera phone and it seems to make everything blue, so apologies for this picture. The out of focus is my fault though! But I thought even though its not perfect, this picture does show how well Madam is muscling up. We have just got back from scooting about the common and many gossip sessions made us rather late back. Its amazing how many people want to stop and talk. Fortunately the girls are good natured about it.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Target practice

Madam is quick to comment on just about everything. If she were a person she would be the nosey neighbour twitching their curtains and writing to the newspapers to complain.
I doubt she is trying to make her stable easier to muck out. I have a suspicion she thinks my breakfast making is not up to scratch....

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Ooops I did it again

Normally I spend hours plotting routes, sometimes I just follow my nose. This usually means I either get very lost, go much further than I had allowed for or both. Today I didn't get lost, but we did go much further than expected. The girls felt so well, we just kept adding in extra little bits. We ended up doing nearly 16 miles, mostly on the road.

The big news is the Grey managed a) to be ridden down hill b) coped with the whole distance (ridden) c) the girls are learning each others bad habits, Madam had a go at spooking at drains and the Grey tried her hoof at napping.

On the way back we ran parallel to the steam railway - and ended up practically on top of the engine as we nearly crossed a bridge as it went under. The girls were brilliant, me rather less so.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Rufus Ride

Sorry no pictures. Madam has successfully completed her first endurance ride. Just a baby one of 23km, but psychologically huge. I was worried about her 'Mum'. Her 'Mum' was worried about her feet. I don't think Madam worried about anything, except could she catch up with whichever horse happened to be in front of her.

She did surprise us - we had always thought her too laid back to be very competitive, but not any more!

We had a bit of drama, one competitor came off 200 yards from the finish and was knocked out. Took the ambulance over an hour to arrive.

Madam's pulse on starting was 46 and at the finish it was 48. She floated during the trot up, we were so proud of her and the stewards were kind enough to be encouraging of our barefoot efforts.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Tall feet and flares

Trimmer came today, lovely guy, but declared the girls were 'perfect'. But Madam has flares, with a little bruising in the wall at the heel and the Grey has very tall feet. Her attachment is good, so rather than flaring she ends up walking on 'cans'.

This presents something of a dilemma. I may end up doing the training so I can trim them myself. For now I rasp a bit off the walls for the Grey and roll Madam. Then I ride them out. They both go much better, so I breathe a sigh of relief. For now.

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Southern England, United Kingdom