The "Shoeless Wonder" Strikes Again
Despite all my efforts at limited turnout, Tucker managed to pull his shoe again.
I turned him out for the night after the ground was frozen, but somehow, somewhere, he lost his shoe. I had put him out in the ring and pasture--both nice and dry with good footing during the day, so I suppose I should have left him in for the night, but I always worry that his water will freeze and the outside tub has a heater in it.
So, he may have lost the shoe during the day....but who knows. I spent over and hour scouring the property for it to no avail.
Thus, Sunday was spent on the hunt for some kind of boot he could wear. There is a new brand called the Simple Boot in my tack store, so I bought a pair in what I thought was the right size. I took them home, tried them on Tucker and found them to be too big. Off I went, back to the closer store (Rick's Saddle Shop has 2 NJ locations) to trade them in. Fortunately the next size seemed to fit so I turned Tucker out for a frolic.
He was bounding about like a kid, romping in the still dry pasture and ring for most of the afternoon.
It was getting late so I saddled up Chance, schooled him in the ring for about 10-15 minutes, just working on improving his steering, and then we headed out for a short hack in the woods. He was a happy kid at that.
I took Toby on a short hack next and then saddled up Tucker for some trotting in the ring.
To the right, with his booted hoof on the outside, he felt wonderful. He was really forward in his trot and seemed quite happy to move out. Then, I swapped to the left rein, with the boot on the inside. Oops....he was super uneven with a decided limp.
Now I am kicking myself for being too sore after building the shed to ride him when he still had his shoe. He certainly didn't look lame when he was running around by himself, with the boot on, so I am wondering if just having a boot on one foot and not the other would throw his balance off that much. OR, was something bothering him in the hind end related to the last acupuncture.
Considering that without a shoe on one foot he shows slight lameness, I am supicious that the boot just throws his stride off. But why just going to the side with the boot and not the other? While I am not sure the boot is a perfect fit, I did not see any evidence of rubs from it when I took it off to put him in the stall for the night.
Does the boot slip a little when the inside hoof takes more weight? Was his foot sore? (Although, if so, why did he feel so super going in the other direction.) Needless to say, I am full of questions. Worse, I cannot even experiment by putting the other boot on his right foot to try him with two boots to see how he feels because today's weather has taken a drastic turn for the worse and it is pouring rain.
So, unless my hero Scott shows up to replace the shoe, I will be off to my lesson with Gabriel on Tuesday night with no shoe. The ring at Pat's is a good, soft surface, so I might just opt to have him go without the boot. We had planned on longlining anyhow, so the stress will be minimized.
I do need to ride Tucker as much as I can so we can get his stifle muscles toned up. Once more the foot fairy has intervened to cause problems. My ground is dirt and the only places I can ride him are dirt footing or the sand of my ring so Caroline's suggestions about his going barefoot would be a problem. As well, when he was barefoot as a yearling/two year old, he had problems with bruising and cracks, all of which disappeared with the shoeing. My super excellent farrier does not believe he is a good candidate for barefoot either--he's had lots of experience with people going barefoot, so he is a fairly good judge. Although, at this point, he might get so fed up with the lost shoes......*sigh*
Since it is raining, Tucker is in his stall for the day with the run-in shed pen to walk around in.
Turnout is an essential for horses, I feel. Keeping them stall bound is bad for health, soundness, and attitude.
Somehow, I have to figure out how to keep Tucker in regular work through the wet winter.
Of course, if I had a few million spare dollars, I could buy a big farm, build and indoor ring and a roofed turnout area with perfect footing and keep a farrier on staff....."dream a little dream with me."