With Cruze being sound out in his pasture galloping wildly around I figured it was time to get his butt back in work. Pasture sound doesn’t always equate to riding sound though, so Monday night I tacked up without any big goals for the ride other than assessing his soundness.
Big boy had learned some lessons in his down time and stood like a complete gentleman in the cross ties to be tacked up. He didn’t even move an inch when I took the halter off to bridle. This is a big win as before he would take the opportunity to walk away flinging his head in his best attempt to get out of being bridled.
I used the Cavallo boots up front for some support and we headed to the arena. I have no media from the ride as Dusty was inside cooking dinner but Cruze was sound walking and trotting left. Trotting to the right felt pretty off, so I kept the ride to about 30 minutes total and got off. By that point we were both dripping with sweat from the 9,000% humidity so it was a good time to quit anyway.
Yesterday morning I hopped back on before things heated up too bad and forced Dusty to get some media for me. Please excuse the absolute shit riding on my part. I swear I don’t always ride this poorly but anyway….
Cruze was an angel in the crossties again, let me boot him without fuss and off we went to get some eyes on the ground. I’m habitually thinking my horse is lame anyway so having Dusty watch was helpful.
He was again completely sound and as happy as he gets working at the walk and trotting left.
When we switched to the right he was off and not just by feel. Dust agreed he was off with the front left being the culprit.
I’m not surprised or that worried at this point. His front right has made some major changes in the last three weeks. The sole has shed a bit with a little concavity forming, the frog shed completely and he has baby bars just beginning to form at the heel. It’s a nice looking hoof if it would stop cracking at the old nail holes.
The front left is slower to respond but it was also the worst hoof to begin with. The frog is just now beginning to shed, the grooves are still pretty shallow and his sole remains thick and flat. He toes out pretty significantly on the front left so I’m not sure how quickly that hoof will make the changes. I looked closely at his yearling pics attached to his registration papers and his front left hoof was normally shaped back then. Hopefully that means it can be once again.
I’m in no rush and I figure he won’t be perfect until the spring but there are daily signs of improvement. He used to never want to give the front right hoof as it meant weighting the front left but now he easily and happily does so. Tiny improvements on the way to happy hooves.
This is new territory for me and I’m not really sure how much to ride him. Having some sore hooves won’t kill him but I don’t want him using his leg in such a way as to put the suspenory or other ligaments at risk. Movement is good for hoof growth though. I think I’ll likely keep it to short, 20-30 minutes, and mostly walk with some trot until he is sound trotting and then add in some ground poles and canter work. I’m also going to start walking out in the big pasture that is now resting to get him some hill work on soft ground with the hope that by the time fall rolls in and the weather cools we are back to jumping.