Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Missing Shoe

Because she knew I wanted to ride today, Lilly decided to get rid of one of her shoes. Of course it was the shoe off the bad hoof from the good leg. Luckily she isn't lame, other than being sore walking across the stones. I'm still paranoid, though, so I wonder if her bad leg looks a little swollen to anyone else?

It was slightly warm, but so was her other leg, and I just couldn't make up my mind. It's possible I'm seeing things because I'm constantly obsessing over the size of that ligament.

When I told Lilly that her plan failed and I was going to work her anyway, she seemed unimpressed.

"What?  But mom, I'z missing a shoe!"
She was a pretty good girl considering we had gale force winds again today. What's with the wind anyway? Can't it be sunny and 55 without the wind?

We mostly worked on things relating to backing. I put some ground poles down to practice what I consider to be the "rein-back up a hill" exercise. They say if you don't have a hill, having them step over poles backwards works similar muscles, so that's what we did. I had to put the poles along the fence to keep her from backing every which way but over the poles, but once we got past that, she did a pretty good job. Then I used one of the cavalettis and tipped it on its side so it wasn't completely flat but gave her a bit more to step over. It was a bit more difficult for her, but she eventually got the hang of it.

I debated setting the cavaletti upright, and after a short discussion with Lilly decided to give it a try. She did so well the first time that I decided to do it one more time before calling it a day.

Bad idea. I should have quit while I was ahead, but she made it seem so easy the first time!

She planted her feet and threatened to rear, so we did a few circles around the arena to focus our little pea brains elsewhere, but when we got back to the cavaletti, she decided she was done going backwards. By now I've decided we HAVE to do it, so I had to get after her a little bit.

I invoked the "you better back up right now or you'll get it" technique, which is great in a pinch and always works. She put it into reverse and backed until I told her to stop, then she rested her back leg and licked her lips.

That's right, mommy's got the power!

We went back to the cavaletti and she backed over it without issue. I praised her like crazy and I took her back to the barn for some cookies.

I think she's a horse that lacks confidence and when she struggles with something she loses confidence in herself and gets frustrated. Being determined to finish the exercise was just as much for her as it was for me. I'm hoping that by doing some of these kinds of exercises with her, not only will she get stronger physically, but she'll get stronger mentally and gain more confidence.

I'm also hoping that once she gets stronger, she'll pick her feet up higher and actually step instead of sliding her feet over objects. Then I can start teaching her the word "step". I think it will come in handy with the other issue we have: backing out of the trailer. We'll be able to take things one step at a time and she'll be more confident going backwards.

My wonderful farrier is coming out at 8am tomorrow to put her shoe back on, so I'll work with her again on something not related to backing. Maybe a nice trail ride is in order. :)


  1. Insecure horses are the hardest to work with. They rely so heavily on their riders for guidance. She is lucky to have you.

  2. I can't really tell any difference in the photo.

    You are very smart to teach Lilly "step". Years ago, my beloved show horse lost his sight in his old age, and I was ever so glad he knew "step", which to him meant "go carefully here".

  3. Ahh I taught Milo to "back...back...step" out of the trailer. Taught him off of a trail bridge! Its great to learn, especially for instances like this one.

    Poor Lilly. Good thing Mom is there to show her (make her) how its done! Fortunetly, my barn as a sloped driveway right outside the arena so I can rein back up an actual hill, lol

  4. Not sure about the tendons. I'm not good at that.

    I did notice that the wall of her front hooves looks different. One looks convex and the other looks concave. Is it just the angle of the photo or are the two hooves shaped that differently? Is there any reason for that?

  5. Pulling a shoe was such a good plan. Curses, foiled again! /s/, Lilly.

  6. Thanks, Dom... she's definitely been a challenge, but I always make sure to praise, praise, praise to try and make her feel super special when she really pushes through. She also looks a lot to other horses when she's struggling, so I'm hoping I can help her look more to me even when other horses are around.

    Thanks, Terry. I think I'm just paranoid... the shoe was missing and I was freaking out. The vet will be out on Monday for vaccinations, but I'm not sure if it's my ligament vet or one of the others from the practice. Hopefully it's the ligament vet.

    That's very sad about your old guy... :( I can definitely see the "step" thing coming in handy in many ways. It's been on my list of things to teach her, and maybe now we can get back to it.

    Great idea, Milo! We don't have a bridge, but I'm sure I could easily make one. That way she actually has to step down instead of just step.

    We have a bit of a hill at the barn, but where it's really steep is close to the road and I didn't figure that was a good place to practice.

    SillyPony, that's all from her abscess. It really jacked up her hoof. If you look closely you can kind of see a pretty decent angle on the bad hoof coming down about half way-ish, and then it kind of jets forward... I'm hoping once the bottom ugly part grows out and we get the icky part cut off, that it will look nice like the other one. Both hooves are acting funny, but growing in pretty nice. I can't believe the line she has on both of them. I wish I knew what the magic ingredient was for that...

    Funder, she was probably hoping to take another chunk of hoof with it, but didn't quite get it right! BAD PONY! :)

    By the way, does everyone like my clip job? I'm embarrassed that it's right there for all to see. LOL

  7. I totally know your pain about freaking out of the difference in legs. I can't tell you how many photos I've taken, and then cut and paste using the computer over the other leg to try and figure out if there is change. It looks okay to me!

  8. I think Lilly and Lucas are comparing notes :)