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.

Trot work

October 15 and wearing a T-shirt.  This picture is so small and crooked because I am a selfie amateur...

October 15 and wearing a T-shirt. This picture is so small and crooked because I am a selfie amateur…

We warmed up with some walk and canter work, which went well. Today’s topic was transitions within the trot. There is a lack of throughness in his topline in trot when he is asked to push, that causes him to break to canter. I just fooled around with it until he figured it out and was doing some nice work at the end.

Arena work

I rode Nellie and Magee rode Dallas in the arena, working on flexibility and fitness. They both did well. We were in Burwell over the weekend. JJ has had treatment every day while we were gone.

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.

Fun with canter departs

I rode him in the indoor and we had some lovely forward walk and trot work. I helped him understand half halts and keeping the base of his neck down. After we had that, we had a fair amount of canter work including changes of lead through the trot at x, which went really quite well!

Some improvement already

It was time for Nelson to have a day off and Dallas said he is fine. When I inserted the rubber syringe to treat JJ’s thrush today, he was less reactive than yesterday, which is a great sign that we are on the right track. We’ll keep after it.

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.



Cantering in groups

Went for a hack with Jay on Elliot and Megan on Dallas. We went across the road in the grass strip. After a nice long, forward walk warm up, we did a long bit of trot and then a walk break and then a long canter. I asked him to stay behind the group about 50 yards, just for training, and after a bit, he let out a big buck, which earned him a quick reversal away from everybody at a smart trot. Then I allowed him to canter again, and catch up to the group which had stopped to wait for us. Then we cantered on for another quarter mile together and he was quite delightful. We had a nice walk home.