…with Sandra and Cassie.
We had a gentle flurry of snow, two barefoot horses and, guess what? My renegade hoof boots no longer fit. Ben’s hooves have spread and they are too tight to put on. We have had a few weeks off due to the long freeze and Christmas holidays so I probably have not ridden Ben for about 5 weeks. So I had to ride him for the six mile road ride genuinely barefoot.
He coped well. At first he was very careful but gradually he became more confident and strode out, passing Cassie out at times.
He did try to choose the verge when he could and he was reluctant to trot. His hooves look great. We trimmed afterwards and he has grown a very nice callous and his soles seem really hard. He does not wince now when I tap them. He was also so relaxed with the trimming that he practically fell asleep, mirrored by Cassie, Minnie and Rosie all in their respective places in Sandra’s yard. It was very peaceful.
I don’t know what to do about the hoof boots. I knew that Ben’s hooves would spread. I just did not expect it to happen so soon. These boots were a size 2w with a cut back to accommodate his rounder shaped hoof. I do not know if I should go for a larger size now and hope that the company will accept a part exchange, or if I should wait a few months as his hooves may very probably spread some more.
After the ride we let them have a roll in Sandra’s arena. Ben of course could roll for Ireland and he did:
Again, and again, and again until finally finished and ready to come in:
A meandering sort of ride to allow for the still-transitioning experience, but a good ride. The only hazards were a little girl on a new Christmas bicycle who wobbled alarmingly towards Cassie’s back legs and a young horse loose on the road, a sad reflection of the times in which we live when horses are left on land without adequate grazing or any other forage. Ben swelled in stallion mode as we passed but I was pleased to note that he came back to me and relaxed on request (or command in this case).