Sunday, November 2, 2014

Transitioning to barefoot

Clair seems to have really good feet. I'd like to have her barefoot if possible. Eight weeks ago I had the farrier pull all four of her shoes. Since then her hind feet have been doing great. Her fronts, however, really got beat up in the hoof wall, especially in the front of the hoof. It all chipped away -- the crazy wet weather over the last eight weeks didn't help. Her soles stayed hard has a rock, and she showed no lameness at all, so I talked to the farrier before her latest trim last week and told him if she needed shoes on her fronts, that was fine with me. He said he'd really like to keep giving barefoot a try. He trimmed her while I was on the road, and her feet looked really good when I returned, but I could tell that Clair was footsore in front. Yesterday she minced her way across the gravel driveway, and she looked hesitant when I lunged her, even though the arena footing is lovely and soft. Today she seemed at least 50% better -- striding out better over the gravel and more willing to move out on the lunge. I think in a day or two more she'll be back to normal and I'll be able to get back on her.

I haven't ridden her since the saddle slipped (except I quickly hopped on after the accident for W-T-C. which went fine), but the more I think about it, the more I think the whole thing was entirely my fault. Clair has gotten quite fuzzy in the past couple weeks, and it's really slick fuzz. I think I was just too blase about getting the girth tight enough with her slicker coat. I'm also using a short-billeted dressage saddle for the first time ever, and I read that because more of the "grip" comes from the girth rather than the saddle, it's extra important to get the girth tight. You just have less surface area to provide friction.

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