Tag Archives: horseshoes

Spa Treatment

Hmmm… when is the last time I had a massage? I don’t remember.  I don’t remember the last time I had a pedicure either, but Rosey got both this weekend. 

I find massage for horses to be a pretty useful tool- I’m not sure if it helps them over the long term, but I think it does help them feel better, and it’s also a very useful diagnostic process for riders.  You can find out about specific areas of soreness, uneven muscle development, or how muscles are building.  Having an objective person around who can track these things over time can be very instructive.  This was only Rosey’s first visit from the masseuse, but she brought up several things that will probably change how I ride her.

Probably most important is some soreness in her back just by the wither and in the area above the end of the scapula.  My immediate best guess for the cause of that is probably my saddle.  It didn’t seem to fit her too badly- just sits a little low, but that’s probably enough to cause the problem.  So I’m going to experiment with padding a little, or use another saddle on her from here on out.  In addition to that soreness, the masseuse found some more through her neck- but this, she said, was more the “good kind” of soreness, the type that comes from developing new muscle and exercising.   In her back legs, it was found that she was a little uneven in terms of her muscle tension and reaction to the massage.  Her left leg was more “tight” than her right, staying tense even through the massage.  We’re guessing that is likely due to the giant scrape she got in turnout on her right hind leg, as it had gotten a little swollen so she was probably transferring more weight to the left hind leg.  If that’s not the problem, then she’s definitely using herself unevenly, so we have to just continue to work on that.

After the massage, we had a lovely little walk with a friend, where we scared up a couple deer and otherwise had a lovely time.  Recent storms had left a lot of trees down, so in addition to the usual trail stuff, we had our first encounter with four-wheelers and dirtbikes, as some of our neighbors were out clearing the trail (thanks guy! we owe you a beer!).  One of the trees they cleared had fallen very high- so they cleared out underneath the main part of the trunk, and we had to go underneath it.   For the first time ever, I think we’ve found something that worried Miss Rosey.  She’s been under trees and branches before, but this one was pretty big and pretty low, the kind where you have to flatten yourself against the horse’s neck so you don’t hurt yourself on it, so it was right in her line of vision.  She hesitated, so Sugar led the way and Rosey followed, walking under the trunk but also trying to flatten herself down a little.  Once her head was on the other side she scooted out from underneath the tree and then shook her head a little, like, “I can’t believe we survived that!”  (she repeated this exercise the following day, but was a little braver about it)

Sunday was pedicure day.  This is probably one of the few things Rosey really does need more work on.  We think that prior to coming off the track, she very likely was just given sedatives for having her feet done, so she never really learned that it’s not a big deal.  So she’s developed a little habit of trying to force her foot down when she’s tired of holding it up (and when the farrier starts driving nails, she really doesn’t like that sensation apparently).  She was MUCH better than the last time, and stood very well for having the shoes pulled, and feet trimmed and rasped.  But when it came time for new shoes- she reverted a little.  It’s hard to explain to a horse that they are making the situation worse for themselves (they’re sort of like five year old kids that way, I guess).  Fortunately by the time we finally got to the last nail, she more or less gave in and stood there like a lady.  I will be working on this more on a day to day basis, so hopefully next time will go even more smoothly.

Cecil also got his feet done yesterday, which was a bit more of a project.  His shoes were left on for a little while as the bow in his left tendon was fresh and he had some trouble picking up the other feet for any length of time.  But they really needed to come off as soon as possible. 

Not textbook farriery.

Not textbook farriery.

This ended up being quite a project for our farrier, though Cecil behaved himself impeccably.  The toe is stretched quite far forward, heels left very long, and underneath all the dead, flaky sole, the actual sole is quite flat.  It’s not hard to see how he might have gotten his bowed tendon.  He is now without shoes, and the farrier “fixed” the feet as much as she dared.  But there’s a lot of work to be done (and to boot, some thrush treatment is necessary as well).

Magical New Shoes

You know, if someone was getting me pedicures and buying me a pair of fancy new shoes every several weeks, that made me walk like a supermodel, I’d love it.  Rose, on the other hand, is not quite so appreciative. 

Rose was pretty sound when she arrived, but over the course of her first couple days in group turnout, where she had to convince her new herd of her superiority, she got a little footsore.  Probably the biggest cause of the problem was an old abscess site on her right front.  It had blown out near her heel, and as her hoof grew down, it left a little crack there.  The pressure of playing hard on hard ground finally caused it to give way along that crack, which left her feeling a little gimpy when she was on gravel or uneven footing.  It also left her foot quite asymmetrical, throwing off her balance a little bit.

So last night was pedicure-and-designer-hoofwear night for little Rosey.  You would think she would luxuriate in this kind of attention, but Rosey may not have had the best history with shoeing.  The last time she had shoes put on, they were too small, and tacked to too-long feet.  They probably didn’t make her feel too good.  In all likelihood, she was given tranquilizers in the past to have her feet done, so she likely never was even asked to stand for the farrier.

Our farrier has experienced the joy that is Rosey already- when her track shoes were pulled and she needed a trim.  That day did not go well, so we went into new-shoes night with a little bit of caution.  So, knowing all that background, I have to say for the most part, Rose was actually pretty good.  She tried to snatch her foot away from the farrier a few times, but had both fronts on before she lost patience and started to get very upset.

She did end up receiving a little bit of chemical help to get the finish work done and hinds trimmed, but all in all she is learning the rules, and will likely be better next time.  I’m sure Allie will expand on the “learning the rules” issues, as she has a ton of interesting stuff to say on the subject.

I’ll probably have a riding report tomorrow night, it will be my second time on her so I’m excited about it.  All I can say so far is that she’s very smooth, very responsive to weight/seat/balance aids for “whoa,” and seems pretty awesomely smart.  She responds much better to leg (the kind meaning “move over”) than Klondike did when he arrived, so I’m thinking she’ll be going very well very quickly.  More photos and video coming soon!