A good day: sunny, wind dropped, rain gone. Thanks to fresh shavings, Ben and Rosie seemed to have spent all last night in the stables so Ben was dry this morning. I was tight for time, but turned down an invitation from a neighbour for lunch as I felt I would spontaneously combust if I did not ride.
Yes, ride, out the roads, for the first time in over two months, since Ben went barefoot. I purchased a pair of boots for his front hooves which arrived a couple of weeks ago, but what with the storms, and being away, I have not had a chance to even try them on Ben.
The boots I went for are Renegade boots; I read good reports of them and I liked that the boot could be cut back to accommodate a rounder hoof. Ben’s front hooves measured 130mm long and wide – not a very big hoof for a cob I think, but certainly round.
Here they are: Arizona Copper, size 2W with a 6mm cut back option:
As you can see, Ben is growing a generous amount of hair to see him through this winter.
The boots are easy to put on, seem to fit very well, although they come further up onto the coronary band than I thought they would. Ben made nothing of them as I walked him in hand and took him up to the arena to practise some t team exercises. I lead him down the track again, and turned, and he strode up the track towards the back gate, turning away with reluctance.
That decided me. “Let’s ride then.”
I have to admit that I felt apprehensive hacking Ben for the first time in over two months. I tacked him up in the yard and we headed up the track. He put in two small bucks, but was forward, springy even underneath me and once we arrived at the gate, chewed it impatiently as I leaned forward to open it. We trotted away from home, and, as if I needed reminding, I remembered just why I love riding. That sense of energy, rising up and becoming part of me, from an eager horse with a spring in his step is very hard to beat.
We walked, trotted and cantered. taking advantage of the quiet day. Ben was eager to look around and as I was alert to any possible stallion-like behaviours, he passed horses with just a glance.
How did the boots fare? Once away from the grassy lane, Ben chose to use the grass verge, just as he had done when I was walking him in hand without boots.
When we reached a stretch of the road with no verge, he slowed down and walked very carefully, although he did not feel lame or “footy” in any way. Could he be feeling his back hooves on the road surface more than I thought he would? The photo shows just how rough that surface is. I really do not want to have to purchase a pair of boots for his back hooves. I will continue to ride him out and see how he feels. He certainly enjoyed it. When we reached our back gate, I let him take the lead and he walked straight past.