Thursday 8 September 2011

Same horse? And how to use celery [RRR -1 day]

Amazing what the start of the hunting season can achieve. Look at the change in Charlie...
...from bored donkey... happy hunter an on a mission 'cos hounds have GONE!
[Yes, it really is the same horse in all these photos, although the last one is from Nov 2010.]
Can anyone deny that Charlie just LOVES his job?!
Briefly back onto the subject of celery, I am in the throes of putting together a much longer post about when its useful and what to do when horses are kept in a way that they can't self-trim, but I won't be able to get that up till next week as the RRR is currently sweeping all before it, rather like a tidal wave...

I have however had the most wonderful email from a lady in the US who hunts barefoot (Jen, I know you do too!) which I wanted to share with you - I had the biggest smile on my face as I read it and she included a fabulous photo of her horse out hunting, which she's generously let me post below; there are also some lovely jumping pics at her blog:  

Its an incredibly kind email, but what really made my day was hearing about her horse now being able to gallop over granite - isn't it amazing what can happen when you step back and let your horse have the hooves she wants?! :-)

"Hi Nic,

I just wanted to write and tell you what an inspiration your blog has been to me!  I thoroughly enjoy reading your updates, seeing the progress of your rehab horses, and most recently, considering your take on “celery” in the trimming process.

You see, I have a foxhunter that I now hunt barefoot here in the US.  (I am so jealous of your hunt territory!  We have nothing so grand….)  This season is shaping up to be one of our best thus far, and I really believe it’s all because of the influence your blog has had on me as her trimmer (and primary caretaker).

The past two seasons, despite a robust hoof, I have had to put front shoes on her due to tenderness on rocks at speed.  I hated to do this, but it was not fair to ask her to keep up with the field on “ouchy” footing.  I was a nervous wreck letting someone else go near her hooves, but I had no other choice at the time than to shoe if I wanted to continue hunting her as she was not handling the footing well barefoot.

Last year, she gave me a scare when shortly after being shod for the season, her front tendon grooves filled in (after the first few hunts).  There was no lameness (yet), but she was not moving normally (as her rider, I could tell the difference from bare to shod!) and the swelling in her legs was alarming, so I pulled her shoes straight away.  No joke, the day after I pulled the shoes, the tendon grooves were cold and tight and her movement was back to normal under saddle. 

About that time, I discovered your blog.  I must have spent hours pouring over it, studying and learning what it is you do differently to be able to hunt your horses barefoot.  I thought, if you can do it with your horses, why can’t I?

My mare is not on grass, has 24/7 turnout, access to varied terrain, hacks regularly on paved roads……..and was trimmed at religious 4 week intervals.  Huh.  Here’s where you take on “celery” really hit home….. J 

I have barely touched her hooves with my trimming tools this season (save for a quick run of the rasp over any rough chips for appearance sake) and she has never been sounder or moved better over all manner of rough terrain.  Go figure! 

We’ve been hunting out on the rockiest terrain our territories have to offer and she steps out over the rocks like they weren’t even there.  I am amazed, thrilled, ecstatic that my horse CAN hunt barefoot!  Yay! 

So, I raise my flask to “celery” and to Rockley Farm for showing me that less can definitely be more when managing a barefoot performance horse!"


Lucie said...

Here here!! :)
Okay... so Soli and I arent exactly hunting yet BUT the blog really is such a massive inspiration and if it wasnt for all your support and all the information and motivation you provide on the blog, I would have given up by now.

amandap said...

Lovely email and I hope the lady has a fantastic season and many happy years to come.

Must be so heartening to read this Nic. Keep blogging, so many of us are reading, learning and having flashing light bulb moments.

Lainey said...

That's brilliant :-) my boy Bailey an x-rehab hunts barefoot,but, i am paranoid about where we go as he isn't totally rock crunching as yet, not far off though.x

Nic Barker said...

Thanks all, and Amanda, I think ironically if I wasn't doing the blog I just wouldn't think about these things as much as I do now, so its really thanks to all of you for making me ask why all the time :-)

Here's to many more lightbulb moments for all of us!

cptrayes said...

We hunted Saturday! Four big hedges on our opening meet, Yeah!!!

It's great that a horse in the US can hunt barefoot because of your blog. I thought Friesians were all blacks? If so, then maybe it would be worth the writer looking at copper supplementation as she seems to be going a bit reddish???


Andrea said...

Hey I capped in with her hunt a few times! I met her and the mare. The terrain in New Hampshire is ALL ROCK. And soaking wet too!

The best my mare's feet ever looked was when she was self-trimming in 2009... all I ever did was tidy up the rough edges before shows for the sake of looking fancy... it was great. Of course, at the end of that season is when she blew both hind legs out at the same time :/