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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Monday, November 24, 2008

Footing Woes (or well, not really.)

Back from Ohio - very sad. I miss Alex very much whenever I'm not around and it really sucks that I'm about to move even FURTHER from Ohio.... sighhhhh.

Gogo is getting this week off (or well, last Friday - this coming Sunday). She's been in hard work for an eternity now, and hasn't had more than a few days off in a row for a year now (WOW, time flies!). She's been showing all year round, and the last time I tried to give her time off, well... didn't go too well. She essentially tore Alex's barn down, so much so that I literally had to move her to a different barn and put her back to work instead of giving her the month off that I wanted last winter. Nope, Gogo gets bored, and when Gogo gets bored she finds ways to entertain herself. See the bottom of this post for details! Anyway, so yeah. I just wanted her to have the benefits of a break without the risk of her going totally nuts, so I figured a week would be good to just let her go out and play and be a dirty smelly horse. She got her health certificate for the move today (I went to go get her from her paddock during a snowstorm, and she came running and screaming - she HATES precipitation! She's a wicked witch, she'll melt in the snow you know!), she's getting body clipped on Wednesday, she's getting a dreaded bath on Thursday (I know, a nice Michigan Thanksgiving present now that it's in the 30's... but she's soooo DIRTY!), and we set off early Friday morning. I might take a little time to touch up her tootsies myself, which I am really really really wanting to do.

Here's another dilemma I face.... footing. Now, Gogo has nice feet. REALLY nice feet. Rock hard, bare feet. She tackles any footing I put her on.

But. Last year and summer it was especially nice... I had nice rocky, gravelly trails to ride on when I was out, and all-weather limestone footing in the turnouts and the outdoor arenas as well as abrasive sand indoors, which I think did very good things, not to mention kept them very dry and hard during the wetter seasons, and almost TOO hard during the dry. This past two months I've had her at a place that has cushy, and now very wet grass turnouts, and a soft sand/dirt/dunno what indoor arena to work on. The trails are sort of rocky, but not really, and in all honesty I've only been out on them once - I've done most of my conditioning work in the hilly, enormous back field (greedily reaping the benefits of having real HILLS to work in for the first time in her life!) Now that it's wet and snowy and yuck, I'm starting to get a bit concerned for her feet, not so much for the wetness as for the fact that she's got nothing hard to work on to stimulate wear and growth on those rock-crunchers. And that isn't about to change.... the barn at my new job has a very nice indoor and outdoor, complete with very soft, very expensive rubber synthetic footing - dust free, full of cushion, and horrible for toughening up feet! The pastures and paddocks aren't much better - packed dirt with a tiny bit of grass that turns into sludgy mud near the gates, where I'm sure she'll be walking when she wants to come in. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll be doing a ton of handwalking on the pavement, just to stimulate some wear and growth. That's not the same as crunching over rocks though. Somebody will have to recommend some rockier Connecticut trails to go ride on when the weather improves.

I wonder if handwalking on pavement will sort of be kind of enough.

Last summer's rock crunching action in the riverbed....

.... which led to THIS!

I know, I know, before you jump on me about the no helmet thing you should know I ALWAYS wear my helmet... except, apparently, for this trail ride. I guess I had a death wish that day. I love how my FEET were in the water and how she's all decked out in western tack.... also, the look in her eyes: "MOM. WTF ARE WE DOING THIS FOR."

Ohhhhhhh, the stresses of wanting the best for my poor lil' horsie's feetsies...


Funder said...

Love your hair in that last pic!

I've always heard that the best footing for turnout is a thick layer of pea gravel. It exfoliates the dead sole nicely, keeps the mustang roll buffed in shape, stimulates the frog, and it's pretty comfortable for the horse too. I don't know how feasible it would be for you to get a dump truck load of gravel dropped in one of her turnout areas, but it's something to consider!

Andrea said...

I've heard that too, and I would totally love to do it, but I feel like it's not gonna work that way. This is a barn full of pampered dressage ponies in bedding up to their eyeballs and shoes and Ulcerguard everytime anyone gets on them, so heaven forbid they ever have to step on a rock of any sort....

Serena said...

I am in LOVE with your blog! I am so glad you came by Roxie's so i could find you. :-)
I am in the same spot, only the other direction. I board at a cowboy barn where no one blankets (except me) or uses leg protection during rides (except me) or deworms more than about 2x a year. I love it, and the horses are all in fabulous health out there, but my hunter-jumper friends from my previous show existence are HORRIFIED that there aren't any bubble wrapped stalls with down bedding for the horses. Heh.
at least my horses can leave the arena!!