Back In The Saddle…Sort Of

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.

Still enjoying the view between the orange ears

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….

Also please ignore the grass I’m still fighting in my arena. Its now down to only the far left 1/3rd by the rail that just will not die. While I love all the rain we have been getting it is making getting in there to tear it up difficult. Someday it will all be dirt. 

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.

Always with the side eye to the camera

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.

24 thoughts on “Back In The Saddle…Sort Of”

  1. yay for riding Cruze! and it is so damn hot I think your plan is great. Just hopping on and doing some hill work or a tiny bit of ring work will be all you need to keep him under saddle till his hooves are stronger. Glad they look to be improving! His side eye is epic 🙂 I can see the offness on the right but it is not horrendous. Hopefully it improves. I love his trot. I might still come steal him, he seems just my type 🙂 HA HA HA Thanks Dusty for the media 🙂


  2. I think your plan sounds great. A little bit of work won’t kill him, especially if he’s happily running around like a fool in the pasture. And if he’s moving willingly with you on his back, it’s not hurting him THAT much either. Just saying… He’s shown you what he’s like when his feet really hurt. You know the difference. Some light work will allow you to help him with conditioning (even if it’s just brain conditioning!) though I like the idea of hill work.


      1. And if it’s too much, you walk. Simple enough. But the thing is, if he can act like a fool comfortably in the field, he can do some light trotting on soft ground. No one is forcing him to run around like an idiot, no matter what he says!


  3. First of all he is so very very cute.
    I agree that he seems willing enough and it won’t kill him to work some more. I know that you will know when it’s too much.


  4. Grass in your arena is aesthetic – it doesn’t mess up your ride like rocks do in the Pacific Northwest. Is your horse a buckskin appy? WTH!? So happy for you with Cruze. I’d ride him!


  5. He looks SO good in navy! Great pick.

    And it sounds like you’ve got a great plan. I agree re: movement being good for hooves. I’m sure he’ll be sound in no time. Your arena looks super friendly for new barefeet. =)


    1. Ugh..navy. He does look smashing in it though so I’m stuck. It’s probably my second most hated color. Purple beings number one.

      It’s decent. Every time I drag t more rocks come to the surface. Honestly it needs scraped to the base and new footing put in but it is so ginormous I can’t afford to do it right now so I make do.


    1. He is open about his feelings of pain that for sure. He was not ready until this week and even now I think we need to take it easy, but he can handle some short low intensity rides on forgiving ground.


  6. Aw I’m glad you’re getting on and riding a bit! He’s so freakin cute it kills me! That’s great news too that his hooves are already starting to adapt


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