Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pedicure Scheduled. Now for a coach...

Well, I bit the bullet and decided to go with the only farrier who responded to my inquiries. It's a sad world where working people aren't looking for work : P Fair enough though, as 'Farrier' seems very nice and at least she responds quickly. I like good customer service.

I was originally okay with dragging my feet for Moon's first farrier appointment, but yesterday's visit to the barn reminded me of how necessary it is. His hooves, in this wet snow are showing some chips and cracks, and much to my chagrin, I noticed a place where an abscess blew out on the top of his hoof, probably 3 or 4 months ago. Which immediately (as an overanxious owner) has me worried about him and the cause of said abscess...other then the overgrowth of his feet. Seeing as I wasn't riding him much in that time period, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a stone he picked up on a trail ride or something like that. And I don't recall it being in an area where he could have cause trauma to it on his own.

His hooves are flaring out (you can see in the pic with his polo bandages), and this needs to be cleaned up. It's hard when the horses you're most used to are OTTBs who get shoes every 6 weeks and are painted with conditioner daily, get all the supplements in the world and have those PERFECT cone hooves devoid of a single crack or chip.

Add to the fact, my poor Moon'er has white hooves, which are notorious for being softer and weaker then black hooves. Not that he's ever given me any lameness issues and he's always been reasonably good on gravel (provided it's not toooo large of stones, though I've seen barefoot horses that are much worse).

I'm a little nervous as to what the farrier will say when she comes out on Sunday; I don't know enough about hooves to tell how long he's been without a trim, though I've seen similar cracking and splitting on horses within a couple weeks of trimming when the weather is too damp or too dry. Regardless, he'll get a nice trim-up this weekend and I can stop fretting about it. And from then on, we'll go for our regular 6-8 week re-trim.

I've also started hunting around for an Equine Canada coach to help me work through my rider levels. This has been a lifelong goal of mine, and while I completed my level 1 in the old Canadian Equestrian Foundation (CEF) levels, I was told by an old coach I could likely challenge to level 5 (in the new 10 level system). I'm relatively confident that my Moon'er could test up to level 5, and then after that, well, we both have some learning to do. Which is the whole point of coaching!

Problem now though, is finding someone who will come out to our barn, or that we can trailer out too...I've got three potential leads at the moment, so hopefully one pans out.

On other notes, I tried out the new KY bit yesterday on Moon, and it was wonderful. At least that's what I think (don't have a ton of bit-ing experience), as Moon was dropping his head and seemed to be playing with it a lot more then usual. He normally rides with his head higher, and I'm taking this extension of the neck to be a positive thing. Hopefully, we can start working more on the bit now.

I also tried on his new galloping boots...only to (not surprisingly) discover that they're too small. Just barely too, which sucks. So I've placed an ad on Kijiji to see if anyone is interested in buying them off me...

While I was at it, I tried out my new used polo wraps, and discovered that Moon has likely never had his legs wrapped before. Poor guy kept trying to lift his legs so I could clean his hooves. Which is an issue since legs should always be wrapped with the horse standing on them. We'll work some more on this...oh, and I need to learn how to roll bandages again, since it took me 5 tries to roll them right!

Other things we worked on included:

- Walk-Trot transitions, bareback (did okay)
- Rein-back - (Needs improvement...got a really nice sidestep, but the actual backwards was a bit of a fight)
- Turn on the fore (left and right) - (Not bad for just starting practicing)
- Leg Yielding (both directions) - (Need to work a lot on this; he tries to transition rather then move over)
- Free-Lunging - (Improving, but he doesn't whoa very well)
- Standing to be mounted - (NEEDS a lot of improvement)
- Standing while tied - (Excellent)
- Bringing his head down to pressure - (Improved from the last time. Would drop and KEEP his head dropped. Will continue to work to get his head lower and more consistent)
- Lifting feet - (Not bad...we'll know after the farrier comes out...)

Total Barn Time: 1 hr. 15 min.
Weather: Sunny, light snow, -11 degrees C

Well, that's yesterday's riding journal! I'm still so pleased with him.

Working on my new 'stall plaque' for him, which is awesome since I'm always making them with other's names, and finally, one of my very own. Sadly, likely won't get anything done tonight as we have agility training with our dog Halo...who was VERY bad last class and hopefully makes up for it today by being on perfect behaviour....

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