, that was great!!
I was hoping the forum might end up restoring the post I lost about our horse ride on Monday, but it didn't. It's hard to tell the story again because thoughts move on.
The highlights were:
-We ended up crossing some mud flats as in the above picture, which Hero did not believe he could cross at all. Nala was prancing all over them, but he thought he'd sink until I got off and led him through.
-Our reroute took us through a posh neighborhood, so Nala of course pooped on the road.
-I left my crop at home and discovered I don't need it anymore.
-I experimented with various ways of riding Hero's canter and had some very comfortable moments. He definitely prefers that I move the reins actively with his movement rather than bridging over his shoulders and having his own movement pull the reins forward.
-Both horses did massive spooks when we passed a bonfire we thought they were tolerating fine, until something crackled or moved in the fire. Both Nala's rider and I rode it fine, and on the way home it was entertaining to see the deep plants the horses' front hooves had made in the sand, and just how far we'd veered off our path.
-Just like I originally realized Hero had a stifle issue when I could predict his bucking and kicking with going down hills and in deep sand, now I can definitely say that any behaviors he does now have no correlation to any particular activity. Meaning, I can predict that he will be able to go through deep sand, and down hills, with no problem. Every issue he has now with squealing, rearing, hopping etc have quite obvious triggers by emotionally distressing moments (passing something scary, Nala running out of sight).
This is great, since his physical issues are not in play and all he needs is more practice and experience with controlling his emotions.
Nala's rider still hears me yelling, "Stinker!" quite often.
Hero's hooves are looking better and healthier each trim. All four have gained more concavity, and he now walks over gravel without gimping. They look very small, but are functional. It is a problem that people look at TB hooves and think they should be bigger, but making them bigger by letting them flare out does not make them healthier.
Tiny hooves, big body. In contrast, Amore is tiny and has great big hooves.
I believe a crooked hoof makes a crooked body makes a crooked hoof. When you get a horse with hoof and body issues, there's almost no way to tell what will correct and what will not. They always say you don't trim a straight hoof onto a crooked leg. But it's also so tricky knowing which is compensating for what. What I do is try to get the body functioning better, and trim the hoof according to how the sole appears to want to grow in. Eventually, over months, things change. I just manage the flaring and see if it grows down better, and try to get the hoof capsule to grow on tighter.
The hoof improvements slowly change the body function, and the body function slowly changes the hoof growth. So you need both to improve or nothing will change. Most of Hero's body and hoof issues are slowly going away...but I'm not sure if we could have managed any of this without the stifle injections he had and the Equioxx he's still getting. I am hoping that if his body strength gets to a certain level, and his hoof health gets to a certain level, he may function so normally he won't need the medication. But I want to wait until I feel quite sure everything is balanced so we don't go backwards.