Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, March 10, 2013

In the Arena #141 - I'm on the pavement, thinkin' 'bout the government...

Today is the first day in over a month that life has felt remotely normal.

Twenty four straight hours without extreme, catastrophic or just plain crappy weather will do that for you. A full day of sunshine with nearly no wind and a sound horse to ride will put a smile on your face. A sound horse who's been ridden exactly twice since February 10th.

Just wait... in a few minutes she's forcing Panacur down my throat!

We were on a roll until the series of misfortunes arrived, logging three to four rides a week with progress on forward into contact. Then came a turn on the mystery lameness carousel. Round and round between abscess or shoulder. Soak or no, bute or no. Sound or no. Nothing looked conclusive for over three weeks. Three weeks that insisted on raining (hard) and blowing (super hard) most of the time which made foot soaking and duct tape booting even funner than usual.

My farrier W finally made it out a week ago Friday - eight weeks since the last trim. I walked and trotted Val out for him before the trim. When we got to the LF, the situation became clearer. Under the considerable toe callus was a slim but nasty looking moon shaped bruise just along the white line.

Too long between trims left too long toes, white line stretching and flare. Perhaps the major sh*t fit (that occurred just prior to the lameness) resulted in the bad bruise. Persistently wet conditions didn't help anything. This scenario would explain why the soaking + poulticing + booting lessened the gimping but never produced the pu$$y hole I kept expecting to see.


From here on out, I will be touching up Val's feet every week or ten days. That way I can do it with the rasp only, and the adjustments will be so minor I won't be freaking out about upsetting the balance or screwing up too bad. W spent an hour with us going over Val's trim with me, and I made myself a cheat sheet from this great barefoot trimming site that It's Quarter's for Me and Memoir's of a Horse Girl have both recommended.

Friday was my first try and I felt good about the results. Val licked and chewed his approval. I will also be taking him out the the paved road for walks on a hard surface several times weekly. The sand arena is doing his feet no good either I'm afraid. At least now we have a plan.

Now, on to the other ongoing misfortunes.


The accessibility of our little island has been severely compromised. Repeatedly. There have been numerous days every week this past month where the road north has been closed. Until two weeks ago the ferry off the south end hadn't run for months as the channel filled in. In other words, we can't reliably come and go. Neither can the mail, delivery trucks, tourists, the farrier...

I have had plans for a month to get my first lesson in over a year and a half today... There were technically a few windows this weekend where you could drive through ocean tide between waves. We're calling it the Soundside 500. So not funny.

Next post will positively highlight our most recent rides and my discovery of viewing ride videos frame by frame (!)  In the meantime the struggle to maintain a positive attitude continues...

[P.S. - Full disclosure - in the last post, the photos of the out of control horse were not of Val, they were lifted from google images. I was far too busy hanging on to him to whip out the iphone that day]


  1. Hooray for a sound horse, nice weather, and good rides!

    I'm sorry the last month has been so rough for you. Here's to spring and better times ahead!

  2. So glad to hear that things are clarified with Val's hoof. We have definitely found that touching up every other week is easier than doing a full-blown trim every 4-5 weeks!

    I can't imagine being so compromised in terms of ability to get on and off the island. Whew! If you get totally sick of it, the little 3-acre farm, perfect for a horse and a donkey, across the lane from us is for sale by owner. :)

  3. I didn't think those photos looked like Val! LOL

    We're finally getting some dry weather here as well. Hopefully we can have a long stretch of nice weather! Looks like your poor road could really use it!

  4. You found a plan in all that chaos. Good luck with the rasping. Your farrier sounds like a gem.

    I have a theory that the more extreme your bad weather situations are, the more beautiful the good weather is. I know that sounds kooky, but where I live there really isn't too many bad weather events, thankfully. But, our downside is that it isn't too gorgeous here. Our Florida place is the best, but hurricanes are a worry. I think you must live in paradise judging from the storms you get!!!! Take care and find some Val time!

  5. our weather is improving too and I am making plans. :)
    I like your plan with Val.

  6. Glad Val is finally feeling better and you are able to ride again.

    I can't imagine how annoying it must be to be trapped on the island. Hope some beautiful dry weather is in store for you and there are no more weather events. Hang in there.

  7. I'm glad you got some resolution!

  8. Just a thought. Have you ever run across this blog/woman. She offers excellent "self-training" posts AND she will (for what appears to be a reasonable fee) review videos and provided detailed written commentary. And she is willing to look at video taken from an iphone stuck on a post, etc. Good luck, Heather!/blog/

  9. So Excellent To See Your Smiling Face C!!! And Val's Cute(Big) Tongue!

    It's So Gorgeous There, When It's Gorgeous....And The Other Time S Treacherous! With AS Many Times They Have Had To Fix That Main Road...You Think They'd Move It Altogether!

    You're So Right. Last Year,I Let Was Hooves Go Too Far In Between And Her White Line Really Looked Like The Colorado River. This Year,Shannon, At The "Quarters" Blog Looked At Photos For Me. She's A Terrific Help!
    I've Also Resolved To Bi Monthly Trimming(By Me). It's Working Out Well, And Hardly Any Advil Needed...Less Bent Over Time!

    Anticipating With You Your Dressage Lesson!!!! Woo!

  10. Glad you got some sunshine, and sound horses are the best - hooray!

  11. So glad you found the source of Val's lameness and that it's not serious. Let's hope spring and better weather shows up soon!

  12. I'm glad you figured out what was going on with Val's feet and you have a game plan for the future.

  13. Yay! So glad Val is better.
    Sorry about your road. We get seriously snowed in, and knowing we can't get out makes me worry. I'm guessing it's the same for you. I'm hoping for kinder weather for both of us.

  14. Heather - I visit schoolyourhorse often - Lorraine gives very sound advice.

    Regarding video/remote lessons... I do have a few options for that lined up but I'm craving some in the moment, in the saddle feedback these days, specifically about my position.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  15. I haven't ridden since the beginning of February, so I know how you feel. But, my lack of saddle time is due to mud, snow, and ice, not lameness. Unfortunately, now that it has been so long since our last ride, I won't ride Mr. Crazy Pants out on the trails or the road our first time out and the arena is still mostly soup. What's a girl to do?!

    P.S. I knew the photos in the last post weren't Val...the scenery was wrong. :)

  16. And, I think it's a great idea to keep up the trimming between trims...I'm planning to do that this year. Because I do a lot of road riding (when it's not snowy and icy and crap), so Gabe keeps his feet pretty trimmed naturally, but, unevenness does develop.

  17. I have decided that abscesses are like 14 year olds. They love drama. They scream for attention. What they are up to might be nothing or it could be a very worrisome (and annoying) thing indeed. Always challenging, never as predictable as you want them to be. Sigh. And wet conditions help nothing! I feel for ya! And Mother Nature, good grief, don't even get me started!


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