Sunday, October 12, 2014

A successful weekend.

The farrier came to re-shoe Max on Saturday.  It was a rainy, cold, freeze-your-fingers type of day. Max was cooped up in his stall and going absolutely bonkers. But I didn't dare let him out with an unshod foot.

So you can imagine he was very upset when cross-tied for the farrier. He even did a small rear :( This was very disturbing to see. I was nervous and the farrier knew it so he told me to leave the barn and come back when he was done because I was making Max anxious.

After the ordeal, he told me that Max absolutely could not lose another shoe. He just didn't have enough hoof for it. This meant lots of stall time, and very little turn-out during the wet season. However, his seedy toe is fixed and the front of his hoof has grown back so that's good news!!!!

Another big concern is how Max's behavior at the cross-ties is getting worse and worse. I'm not sure when it started, but  I can safely say it only happens on colder days. Perhaps he is herd-bound and is anxious because his buddies are outside...or maybe the cold is making him sore and fussy...or a combination of both!

My trainer told me I'm getting too worked up over it. No baby-ing, scolding, or fighting. Just put him at the cross ties..groom him like I usually do, tack him up and ride him. Stick to my usual routine,  correct him when needed, don't make it a big deal out of it.

So I did that today. At first he was terrible. No rearing, so I find that a plus. But a lot of stepping, looking behind him, calling. I tried not to let it get to me and went on with things, putting him back in place when he moved too far to the side. When we got to saddling and bridling he started to calm down, so this was a bit of a relief (to say the least...).

Surprisingly, we had a fabulous ride today. No limps or gimps, so hooray! Those new shoes are working great ^.^  After he warmed up he was willing and forward. We finished up what we started on Thursday night before he threw his shoe - a lovely relaxed canter. At some point he was so steady I could start playing with my seat to move him faster, and my half halts to bring him in and collect better. He felt like a rubber band was great!! I noticed that the more forward and steady he is, the easier my position gets. I can now lengthen my legs down and keep them solid around his barrel...I have enough brain space to tell my heels to stay down, my toes turned in, my hands steady. Funny how it is all related...

So despite our shortcomings and drama this weekend, what counts is we have a plan of recovery for his feet, a plan to keep him behaving at the cross-ties, and that we are obviously moving towards better communication and suppleness under saddle.

It's very easy to let the negative stuff cloud over the good stuff, so I'm going to end this post by saying that it was quite the successful weekend!


  1. Hooray! A successful weekend is a good weekend :)

  2. good luck with his feet!! also - i think your trainer has a point about the cross tie training. a non-horseman who did all the stalls at a previous barn unknowingly trained a bunch of horses that "didn't cross tie" by simply clipping them into the ties and leaving them there with the expectation that they'd stand while he did their stalls. and it turns out: they stood. go figure

  3. Haha ohmy..sometimes ignorance is bliss! I will try this "I have no idea you hate being cross-tied" method :) :)