The chronicles of a Friesian mare who happened upon an owner who lives outside the show ring....

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

*What* was I thinking?!?

It has been since August of 2007 that I have shown with my mare at a USEF dressage show.  When I look her up on the USDF Score Check and see this:

DateCompetitionClassLevelTestOwnerRiderJudge(s)Special DesignationScorePlacingUSEF Check
8/4/07-8/5/07Dressage on the Seacoast at UNHNot RecordedTraining4Sarah IsherwoodSarah IsherwoodB. Ebner62.4
6/29/07-6/30/07University of New Hampshire Dressage ShowNot RecordedTraining4Sarah IsherwoodSarah IsherwoodL. Heyerdahl59.2
6/29/07-6/30/07University of New Hampshire Dressage ShowNot RecordedTraining2Sarah IsherwoodSarah IsherwoodA. Gregoire61.786
5/12/07-5/12/07NEDA Spring DressageNot RecordedTraining2Sarah IsherwoodSarah IsherwoodD. Loveless60.357
6/23/06-6/24/06University of NH Dressage ShowNot RecordedTraining2Sarah IsherwoodSarah IsherwoodJ. Conlon51.923

It makes me sad.  :P  That was a long time ago and we've done alot since.  So this year I think, "I'll join the orgs and go to some rated shows!"  We'll get more scores on our record and it'll be FUN!

So, we entered NEDA Spring on opening day and I wait for the weather to turn so we can start practicing our skills (or lack thereof!)

Well, the weather has continued to be awful, without an indoor and only my grass field (which is too wet to use), I have not had much opportunity practice at all!  Like.  Two rides.  >:(

We're doing one schooling show this Sunday to see where we stand, but man, I'm thinking we're goign to have to majorly wing it at these first two shows and that has me wicked stressed!

I felt silly signing up for Training 2 and First 2 and not First 2 and First 3, but now I'm glad.  No way we could pull off the counter canter loop right now!

Why muthafin' nature, why?!?  Is a nice sunny WARM dry day too much to ask for in April?  :P

Monday, April 21, 2014

Looking good

Took this shot of the girl yesterday afternoon while Mom and I were getting ready to take them out for a trail ride. (Mom walks her mini, Rainbow)  Looking pretty fine there mare!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hoof-it Natural Flex Shoes

Two weeks out from our first show of the season meant that it was time to put some shoes back on Daatje.

It had been six weeks since her last trim so the timing was pretty good. :)  As happy as I was with the Ground Control Shoes we used last year, I really wanted to find a urethane shoe that wasn't borderline too small.  The largest size the GC's come in was *just* large enough at the time of shoeing.  By the time she needed a re-set, her hoof had expanded over the edge of the shoe, which was not ideal at all.  It worked, no harm done, but not great either.  If they came in one size larger, I'd probably still be using them, but in there was an alternative I was going to try it.

A conversation on Facebook with a farrier led me to seek out the Natural Flex shoe made by Hoof-it.  They are slightly different than the GC's in that they are a harder durometer plastic (perhaps they won't "flip-flop"), come with a toe clip (which I nipped off), and instead of a full frog protector they just have the bar across the back of the hoof.  The GC's trapped a lot of dirt under the shoe and often (like twice a day) I had to take a screw driver and remove the wads of turf/mud/dirt that was stacking up between the shoe and the hoof.

The stiffer plastic and lack of full frog coverage should mean less dirt getting trapped *under* the shoe.  We'll see.

I started around 10:30am and worked first on the fronts.  I took several photos from different angles on each foot before trimming, after trimming and after shoeing to document the process.

Left front, pre-trim, lateral view.

Left front pre-trim anterior view

Left front pre-trim, solar view

Left front pre-trim heel view
You can see she grows a pretty even foot.  Not too much to do here but clean up the retained sole, frog and trim the bars a bit.

Left front trimmed, lateral view.

Left front trimmed anterior view

Left front trimmed solar view

Left front trimmed, heel view
I didn't dress the toe back on this trim as that will be done after I apply the shoe.  If I were trimming her to leave barefoot, the toe would have been dressed back to improve break over. 

Left front shod, anterior view.

Left front shod lateral view.  Here the shadows make the hoof appear to lip over the toe of the shoe.  This is not the case, as you saw in the trim photos, the hoof is flat and level all the way around.  I set the shoe back to ease breakover.  Daatje seems to move better (and forge less) if the shoe is applied this way.

Left front shod solar view.  Here you can see the difference between the GC shoes and the NF shoes.  I use Delta Combo 5 City Head Slim nails, 3 on each side.

Left front shod, heel view.  You can see here the room for expansion in the heels with these shoes.

Left front shod heel/solar combo view.

Right front pre-trim lateral view

Right front pre-trim anterior view (sorry about the lighting here)

Right front pre-trim solar view. 

Right front pre-trim heel view

Right front trimmed lateral view.  You can see the shod left front in the background for comparison.  Note I did not dress the toe on this trim as I would for barefoot.  Toe is dressed after the shoe is applied.

Right front trimmed, anterior view

Right front trimmed, solar view. 

Right front trimmed heel view

Right front shod, lateral view.  Shoe set back as with the Left front.  Toe is now dressed back to ease breakover.

Right front shod anterior view.

Right front shod, solar view

Right front shod, heel view

Right front shod heel/solar combo view
Well, that took me about 2 hours.  I'm not fast, take lots of breaks and document with photos so I'm s.l.o.w, but thankfully the horse doesn't mind and snoozes through most of it.  After each hoof we went out to the field to graze for 5 minutes and between the fronts and the hinds I turned her out for 30 minutes while I went inside for a rest and a cup of coffee. :)  The freedom of shoeing your own horse while not on a time schedule. :D  After my coffee break (and her sanity break) I returned to the barn to work on her hinds.

Left hind pre trim lateral view

Left hind pre trim anterior view.  Note the lateral flare and very straight medial wall.  This is normal for her and must be addressed at each trim.  Not to change the way her foot grows out, just to keep the flare in check so it doesn't get wonky.  Nailing into that upright medial wall took some getting used too though!

Left hind pre trim solar view.  See the lateral flare and laid over lateral frog and bar?  She also had a bout of thrush in this frog over the winter that we've been addressing.  Note the deep cleft in the central sulcus.  She's sound and comfortable and it's drying up.  Been stuffing the sulcus with Magic Cushion.

Left hind pre trim heel view

Left hind trimmed lateral view.  Toe is not dressed as that will be done after shoeing as with the fronts.

Left hind anterior view.  Note the flare has been reduced.

Left hind trimmed solar view

Left hind trimmed heel view

Left hind shod, lateral view.  I did not set the hinds back as far as the fronts.  I did this to reduce the likelihood that she'll forge at the trot.  Faster breakover for the fronts and a little slower behind seems to work well for her. 

Left hind shod anterior view.  Note the adequate support of the larger size shoe.  I'm very happy with this.

Left hind shod solar view

Left hind shod heel view.

Left hind shod solar/heel combo view

Right hind pre-trim.  She's prone to chip out the quarters, especially on these lateral flares on her hinds.  Keeping her shod really helps keep her feet together.

Right hind pre trim anterior view

Right hind pre trim solar view.  Less flare and consequential lay over of bars and frog on this hind, but there is still some.

Right hind pre trim heel view.

Right hind trimmed lateral view

Right hind trimmed anterior view

Right hind trimmed heel view

Right hind trimmed solar view.
 I couldn't resist this picture!  I'm working on Daatje's last hoof, look out the stall doors and see Rainbow, flat out, soaking up the early spring sun. :)  She's so adorable!  This little mare will turn 21 years old in two weeks!  Hard to believe we've had her for that long. :)
Rainbow the 20 year old mini, snoozing in the sun.

Right hind shod lateral view.  Same as with the left hind, not set back quite as far as the fronts.

Right hind shod anterior view.

Right hind shod heel view

Right hind  shod solar view
Overall these shoes were easier to apply than the GC shoes.  I did not pre-drill any nail holes.  Nailing right through the shoe and into the hoof worked out quite well.  So, after all was done, I brought her out for a quick lunge to make sure she was comfortable and moving well.  She's a bit cautious on the grass footing (she's no dummy and knows it's slick this time of year!) but I'm please with how comfy she seems and she's not forging at the trot, which is great.