More fun for the boys

The bridles came back from the vet student who cleaned them. They are a lot softer. Nellie and Dallas each were ridden in a dressage lesson today and were kind and enjoyed themselves and had a good workout. I watched JJ in the pasture and thought he was lame on his right front, so after the lesson I lunged him and yes, he is lame on the right front. It could very well be from the thrush, and sometimes it does get worse before it gets better. We probably should have a chat tomorrow.

70 degrees

What? Seriously nice out today. I rode Nellie and treated JJ. JJ is actually in decent physical shape, so I am not worried about him in that regard for foxhunting, but now that he finished his treatment today, I would hope to see some improvement in new frog growth in about two weeks. He is still very tender in the sulcus between his heels, and I suspect he would still be at least short-strided, if not lame on the gravel. It might be time to pull Dallas out of moth balls if you are going to hunt this weekend. We’ll have to monitor JJ and see what he needs in the next weeks.

Treatment and Heart of Iowa Trail

IMG_0072In the early afternoon, I brought JJ in and started to treat his thrush. Here is a picture of what his hoof looks like from the back. The entire area between his heels should be filled with frog. This is not an indictment. The only reason I know how to recognize and treat this is because I have had it happen to my horses in the past. Some horses are just more susceptible to this sort of thing and once it gets going, it burns like a wildfire and it doesn’t take forever for it to develop. This not a management issue. For example, Nellie, who lives in the pasture with JJ, doesn’t have a bit of thrush.

At any rate, I cleaned his hooves and then applied the antibiotic into the sulcus (where the heel bulbs connect). This area should be firm, but you will see on the video that a 1.5″ soft tube can be easily inserted to place the antibiotic at the source of the infection.

I treated all four of his hooves since they are all affected. The hind hooves are less severely affected. After each treatment, I wrapped his hooves with hoofwraps (front) or a duct tape protector (back) IMG_0075IMG_0074I’ll do this for the next three days and then we can probably go without the wraps. We should see improved comfort in a week and some new growth in 2 weeks. He can be ridden lightly in the indoor by early next week.


IMG_0076In the later afternoon, Jay and Sammy, Elliot and I and Megan and Nellie trailered to the Heart of Iowa trail in Slater and did 5 miles, mostly in trot and canter. Nellie did well!


Back to it

I taught a clinic on Thursday, and Friday was just too much of a weather shock to ride. If it had been a winter day, it would have been fine, but it was just so much colder than it had been that I decided to make it an office day, for the most part, while the wind howled and the horses munched extra hay. The wind died down nicely overnight, and after a cool morning, today was a great day to ride.


Do these tiny ears make my face look long? Be honest.

I started out with Nellie, who was happy to be caught as usual. He really is a sweet horse and I think he has the cutest foxy ears I have ever seen. He was admiring them in the arena mirrors too.

In the cross ties, he is fidgeting around a great deal and I am spending a good amount of time discussing that with him. When the other horses leave the run in, he is very concerned. He very much relies on other horses for his confidence. When I was riding in the arena with him today, though, he whinnied to the other horses only once. The first times I rode him, there was a lot of whinnying and silliness. I am pleased with the improvement.

He is getting better at coming over his back into contact and we had a good physical workout today as well. In canter, we worked on getting him to stretch over his back, which he started to get the hang of and seemed to enjoy. We also did more lateral work. It is much easier for him to move to the right. Left is coming along.

IMG_0066Then it was on to a solo hack with JJ. He was a little hesitant to leave the others, but didn’t whinny and did go where directed and settled in with a little praise. He was slightly lame on his left front when we trotted on the gravel shoulder, which was still relatively soft from the recent rain. A shod horse wouldn’t usually be expected to be lame on those conditions. So we went back down to walk until we got to the fields. His trot was sound on the soft ground.

IMG_0067We rode in some bluestem, which he really wasn’t all about at first, but he settled just fine. We had some canter work, which was a little silly, but generally fine.

I got to thinking about why he was lame on the gravel in spite of the fact that he had shoes on. When I got home I examined his feet more carefully, and it became clear that his left frog is non-existent. This didn’t really alarm me because sometimes a frog will slough off a bit, but then when I really examined his right as well, it became clear that they were both gone. This is not good, because the frog is a major component of the hoof that is required for cushioning, and also as it touches the ground with each step, it actually helps circulate blood in the horse’s legs. It does more than that, but those are the biggies.

So, here is how JJ’s left front hoof looks. The area between the ends of the shoe is where his frog should be: IMG_0069
For comparison, this is Elliot’s left front hoof. Notice the healthy frog in the center of the ends of the shoe:IMG_0070It is possible that JJ simply has a very bad case of thrush, an infection of the frog. If that is the case, It can be treated with Today, that can be bought at any good farm store. It needs to be put on at least daily for a week and results will take several weeks to show up, as the frog begins to grow back. I can start that tomorrow or Monday. We had thrush in a few of our horses about a year ago. It happens. But gotta get after it.

I had a fun ride, and I am so dang handsome!

I had a fun ride, and I am so dang handsome!

Then we went on a hack with Megan riding Dallas, and Jay on Elliot and me on Luke. Dallas didn’t want to let Megan catch him, so I went out and helped and it took us all of 20 seconds. We tacked up and had a great 3 mile hack of walk, trot and canter. He had a good time and was very well-behaved.




All the ponies survived the 1.8 inches or rain we rec’d just fine. They shared the run in like a Girl Scout troop. I rode Nellie first today in the indoor because I wanted to continue work on the things we had discussed yesterday. He was a bit more flexible today and is coming along nicely. Some good lateral work. The canter went well.

Megan and Nellie

Megan and Nellie

After I was done with Nellie, Megan Righi did a little beauty shop on him. I may have directed her to cut his tail too short. Whoops. It isn’t Rick Hickman and General short, but it is about 4 inches shorter than I meant to say. I take full responsibility. She did exactly what I said. It actually looks kinds cute in a bobtail way.

Out on a hack

Out on a hack

Then Megan rode Dallas and I rode JJ, with Jay on Elliot and Magee on Sammy for about a 4 mile walk hack. Despite the fact that we only walked, they all worked up a light sweat. Everybody had a good workout and a good time.

Meanwhile, their bridles need some attention. As Jeff and I talked about, the bridles need new tags. I suggest the flat type, which I find stay attached better. Let me know if you want me to order them. The look like this:IMG_0005

Arrival and Day One

IMG_0062The boys arrived yesterday and settled in just fine. They are sharing the paddock, and happy as clams. In the afternoon today, I was going to catch Dallas first and ride him and pony another to start the fitness process. However, Dallas thought that trotting circles around me for 20 minutes would be more fun, and I let it go after that time, because he will come around to my way of thinking in the next couple of days anyway.

So I caught Nellie, who was happy to come in to the barn for grooming. I tacked up and went into the arena and started working with him. He has a marked lack of suppleness to the right and we spent a good while gently discussing that. Horses usually are not simply uncooperative. Often their muscles are very tight and they need gentle stretching to let go. We worked a good while on that in walk and trot. When we got to canter, it went reasonably well. I rinsed him and turned him out. We did some lateral work, which seemed to be an introduction for him.

I did a little beauty shop on JJ, as you can see from the pose he struck above. He was surprisingly good in our session. He clearly remembers the things we talked about in the past and had some very good work. Nice start!

The run in is easily big enough for the three of them when the rain comes tonight and tomorrow.