When we first started talking about "the Trek" I was concerned about Gigi's inability to go down hill at a decent pace. She really minds herself, and still has the odd slip and slide. Whereas Flurry marches happily off, albeit doing enormous slips and slides, but how were Gigi and I going to keep up with Martine and Flurry. Then I read "Riding the Milky Way", the story of a trek from the centre of France to Santiago de Compestela in Spain. Their reasons for going barefoot seemed so logical, and they found that the horses had much better grip without the shoes, obvious when you think about it. They used "hoof boots" some of the time, and managed the journey without resorting to shoes, although they did have problems with loosing boots.
So Anja Koch, Equine Podiatrist, arrived into the yard at mid-morning on November 10th.
She started on Aero, Tansy's horse. First thing to note was his very flaky, brittle feet, which my farrier had also pointed out recently. Once his shoes were off, I could see much more clearly what she was talking about. His front feet were ok, and should grow into a good barefoot shape quite easily.
|Left one done, right one to do|
His back feet, though, were extremely long - years of wearing shoes and being trimmed into a shape suitable for shoes has forced the hoof capsule to grow forward, giving him a breakover point which is too far forward and causing him to flick his toes off the ground as he trots.
|Very long - in fairness it's just over six weeks since his last shoeing|
|Much better - the deviation is even improved|
|That bulge at the front shouldn't be there|
|Same foot post trim|
|Anja pointing to where the toe should be|
|Pointing at the same spot post trim - toes are MUCH shorter|
|More brittle feet - pre trim|
|Post trim - shorter and more rounded toe|
|Flurry's big round front foot|
|Flurry' front post trim|
|Flurry's hind foot - just looks a bit long in the toe from this angle|
|But take a shot from the side and you can see how high the frog is|
The heels will come down and the frog will recede
She left a rasp with us, with instructions to even off any chips or rough edges that appear over the next few weeks and she’ll come back to us just before the horses leave to do another trim and tidy-up job.
|Gigi and Mick|
Gigi had the added pleasure of a visit from the equine dentist, as horses no longer live naturally, grazing the prairies all day long, they tend to grow spurs and sharp edges on their teeth, that need to be rasped off from time to time. Gigi seems to really enjoy the visits from Mick Dillon, who has endless patience with her, doing all the necessary work without the use of sedatives.
|Gigi giving Mick a good look at her teeth|
Paddock management for barefoot horses.
|The first load spread|
|The end result - they seem quite happy to stand on it!|