Sunday, February 17, 2013

Finally, a Ride

Last Tuesday, sometime during the day, I tweaked my back.  I had three very good rides, and did all my regular chores, but noticed that as the day was going on I was getting stiffer.  By the evening, I was pretty sore and tight through my back.  I used to have, regular, terrible back trouble, but it's been much less of a problem since I've been riding more, with proper posture - I think my core is stronger now.  By Wednesday evening, I was still stiff, but the stretching I was doing constantly seemed to be improving things.  So no riding Wednesday or Thursday morning.  Thursday afternoon all three horses got trims.  My farrier/trimmer is a good guy, but I have to supervise him closely to be sure he doesn't mess too much with the feet or take too much off.  He's pretty good now about not messing with the soles - our ground and arena are very abrasive, and my horses pretty much self-maintain their soles, and frogs rarely need much.  Dawn usually hardly needs trims - just a touch up, and Red only needs a bit as well. Pie grows an enormous amount of foot, even in the winter - he's got very hard, thick hoof walls and they don't wear much, and they grow a lot.

My farrier's usually been pretty good lately about not over-trimming, but this time he was a little too aggressive.  Pie was fine - he's always fine - but Red was slightly sore behind and Dawn was very, very sore behind and couldn't hardly walk on the concrete barn aisle.  I was pretty unhappy - the problem with both Dawn and Red wasn't so much the trim as the bevelling he put on the hind toes.  Dawn has thin soles, and her toes really don't tolerate much if any bevelling.

All three horses got Friday off, although I could have ridden Pie, and both Dawn and Red got some bute.  Saturday, Dawn wasn't much better although Red was improving.  More bute for both of them.  Again, I could have ridden Pie, but our neighborhood chili party was that night, so no time for that.  Sunday, today, Dawn was still sore although somewhat better on the hard surfaces, so I went out and bought some Venice turpentine and painted it on her soles (not frogs or heels), and she got one more gram of bute - I don't like giving bute that many days in a row, but she really needed it.  She also came in early so she could be on the softer shavings in her stall - the ground outside is frozen hard.   She seemed happier by the time I left this afternoon.

Red was still slightly sore, although improved.  I could have ridden him at the walk in the soft arena footing, but decided to give him a Venice turpentine treatment and one more day off.  No bute, he didn't need it.  He wasn't happy about having to go back in his stall and did a lot of looking at me and nickering.  Pie got ridden - he'd had four days off but was as good as gold.  We had a very nice ride at all three gaits, and he was very forward and responsive.  His canter work was particularly nice - I worked on "thinking us light" - this helped my back too - and he responded in kind.  My back seems to have tolerated the ride very well so far - keeping fingers crossed.

Tomorrow, I expect Red will be rideable.  Dawn will probably take more time - I'm extremely annoyed with my farrier/trimmer and will have to watch him even more closely next time.


  1. Betty sends her sympathies and you know why.


  2. Why do you keep this farrier at all?

    1. Good question - there are a lot of farriers/trimmers in our area, and most of them aren't very good, frankly. All three of my horses are barefoot, and most of the farriers are farriers, not trimmers, and not very good at doing barefoot trims and really don't believe in horses being barefoot. Most of the barefoot trimmers are too aggressive to my mind. My guy has been working with me for over 10 years and is able to do a conservative, minimal trim if I pay attention - but he's mostly a shod farrier and is inclined if not supervised to do a shod trim - doesn't work too well for my barefoot horses. Not ideal, but the best I've been able to figure out so far.

    2. But a good reminder to keep asking around and see if I can find someone better (who'll actually answer phone calls, show up, etc.).

  3. Hope they are feeling less sore soon. Reading about your troubles with your farrier makes me appreciate my guy all the more. He can shoe for any problem and works with our vet on problems we might have. That said he also does perfect barefoot trims too. I don't really understand why a farrier would be so aggressive on trims, he should know how to do both.

    Hope your back is fine. Back pain is miserable.

  4. I'm glad your back is better. I'd keep my eyes open for a new farrier. Winston is barefoot and with all the work we do on sand, he pretty much wears down his feet on his own. Our farrier does a quicky shaping and takes hardly anything off. Usually none. TBs do have thin soles often -- poor Dawn. I imagine she is sore. I hope everyone is feeling better (including your back) this next week.

  5. My veterinarian approved my shoer (his dad sold me the horse, I lived just across the aqueduct from his grandfather, so it was "all in the family"). When my next-door neighbor bought a cutting horse and her trainer and (at the time) "our" shoer did not agree on how to maintain the hoof (her trainer recommended daily applications of fish oil; my shoer hated the stuff because it gunked up the hoof) or how to shoe the horse, she changed to another shoer the trainer recommended.
    Ask YOUR vet who s/he recommends. You shouldn't have to monitor your shoer. Just sayin'.


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