and some flying changes!
(Since the show is over, we are not stuck in counter canter mode anymore. He was very happy!)
|And more hay for me! *Celebrate*|
Harley's turnout routine has been changed to turnout for the daylight hours only. He will remain stalled during the nighttime, with his buddies in the barn, and will enjoy a half-bale all to himself. The major benefits of keeping him stalled at night are:
-Hopefully better maintenance of weight and condition as he will be out of the elements. The barn is pretty warm with nine horses.
-He will not have to share his hay with his buddy. This should also help him keep warm and maintain condition.
-The barn owners do not have to worry about getting to his paddock in bad winter weather or dark, cold nights. My words, not theirs. They would definitely keep him out at my request.
The major detriments are:
(You guessed it)
-Being confined to one's own bathroom for the night
-Less space to lay down or roam as the body sees fit. I do notice that he tends to stock up behind when stalled at night. I hope that this decreases as his body acclimates to less than 24/7 turnout.
I have left him out all winter for the past two years, except for the worst, snowiest parts of the season, but I was not happy with the amount of condition that he lost. He never showed signs of being cold (no shivering, thick winter coat, often out in the middle of his paddock hanging with his buddy even though he has a shed, cheerful in temperament, etc.), but he also does not have extra poundage to spare. Such are the woes of the owner of a hardkeeper. I have discussed blanketing with my vet, but she did not seem real keen on the idea. Blanketing actually freaks me out. I have been looking on line, but I am just so worried about messing with his own thermoregulation. More hay is the best way to maintain heat and the only way to ensure that he gets his ENTIRE share is if he is not out with his buddy. Being out alone is not a good option either. Did I mention that he has jumped out of his paddock before?
So here are some "Before" shots of his lovely feet. I plan on cataloging the condition of his frogs especially as he endures more than half of his day in a 12' by 12' box. That sounds pretty negative of me. I apologize. It is just that turnout is an important factor in the equation to healthy bare feet and I do not slave away all year long so that his feet can fall too pieces between November and March. Sigh. If he keeps the pounds and the changes in his feet are not too serious, than I guess it will be worth it. I need an effective winter routine before he becomes a senior and really has trouble holding weight. Senior horse. That's like thirty, right?
|Right front: still with grit from our ride (four days after his last trim)|
|Right hind: The inside bars are looking straighter and the outside bars are getting there.|
|Left front: I think these bars are almost where they should be (un-crushed). I just trimmed them a few days ago. These photos are more than a week old. Feet do not stay the same for long!|
|Left hind: The outside bars on the hinds are the wonkiest, but I do see improvement. They were more pulled forward in photos from earlier this year. Again, I am not trying to make them straight. I am keeping them trimmed to the level of the sole to benefit the health of the caudal hoof and letting them change at will. I think that I see a little decontraction, but it is difficult to tell, because he started off with a nice set of feet. Lucky boy.|
As for my feet, I have been regularly riding in my jacket or fleece vest and I just unleashed the Rimfrost!
|Hello Toasty Toes!|
I wanted to buy these boots two falls ago, but decided against them for some reason. Then we had a very, very cold and snowy winter. My toes froze more times than I could count even with thinsulate socks and enough so that I remembered my pain up until the following autumn. I snatched up these Mountain Horse Rimfrost boots last year with a coupon. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I have never experienced winter riding without the bitter sting of cold feet when I dismount my horse. These boots really work! They are warm, waterproof, easy to clean, difficult to damage, have reflectors on the outside of the calf for trail rides, and are cut short so there is no wear-in or "drop" period to survive before they feel comfortable. The first time that I rode in these babies, was on an 8-mile Turkey Trot ride. That was nuts! I was certain that I would come home with massage blisters, but I was so comfortable and warm that I completely forgot that I was wearing new boots. The only flaws that I can find in these boots are that they ARE clunky, so don't expect the elegant look of a tall boot, they are not very comfortable for walking (on two legs), and I am not sure how they would fit a taller rider. The calf height is perfect for me, but a taller rider might find them too short in the calf. Just a speculation, as I am in no position to judge and my height is one thing that WILL NOT be changing anytime soon!