Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Can't Stop Bragging!

For all of you discriminating against my pudgy pony, I'm happy to report that she is officially off alfalfa pellets. It's funny, though, because the day I asked the BO to stop the alfalfa pellets, they started the beet pulp. According to my research, beet pulp is higher in calories (by about 300 calories per pound) than alfalfa pellets, so we had to stop that too. Now she just eats coastal hay, pasture, and vitamins. There's not enough grass in the pasture to justify a muzzle, so that's where this diet stops... plus, we do have a history of on and off issues with diarrhea, so I'm not trying to cut that much food from her diet. She needs it to keep her digestive tract happy, and so far things in that department are looking good.

Speaking of looking good... I am head over heels in love with my horse's heels! (Heh... get it?) I took a bunch of pictures in preparation for tomorrow's visit from my trimmer. I'm a 'before and after' freak, so I wanted to have some from right before her trim. I decided not to post them because the trim itself is what I'm most excited about (I'll post those tomorrow), but check this out:

Butt crack free!
You'll notice that the deep "butt crack" is missing! She also seems to be shedding some of her frog... that's a first for us, but everything looks really healthy!  For anyone needing a reminder, just look back at this post from when the shoes first came off. I am absolutely amazed at how much her hooves have changed in the past 10 weeks. And it isn't just the physical changes in her hooves that are obvious... the changes in her attitude under saddle are nothing short of spectacular.

It's as if I have a new horse. It's the horse I always wanted, and the horse I knew I had, but I just couldn't figure out how to get her past certain issues that were always a problem for us. It absolutely must have been hoof pain/heel pain/back pain... the shoes are off and now she is SO happy and SO relaxed. I wish I had started with the hooves instead of seeing them as a last resort when all else failed. :(

I've been sticking to my riding routine and we've been working every other day. I modify things as necessary, but I really enjoy the routine because it gives me a plan and goals to work toward during our ride. This picture is from a few weeks ago, but I wanted to include a picture of my happy girl.

I rode her yesterday and she was amazing. I had to use a lot of leg to keep her going at the trot (unheard of) and we did all of our cantering on a loose rein (unheard of). No bit chomping, no tail wringing, no snarly faces or ear pinning... just a willing, responsive, relaxed, happy girl.  I was so happy and so excited that I broke down in tears.  This is an amazing time for me and my horse.

At the risk of sounding like someone from the barefoot nazi club, HOLY CRAP! In 2 short months, I have completely changed my way of thinking about shoes and how they can impact a horse. Sometimes what we think is best for our horses is not really what's best for them, and I will do everything in my power to avoid putting shoes back on her hooves, even if it means never showing again.  I've caused her to endure painful hooves long enough.


  1. Absolutely brilliant! I'm so happy that this is going so well for both of you. Her heels look so much more robust and your reports on her happy attitude are just wonderful to read :)

    I wouldn't give up on the show dream yet, if I were you. I betcha she's going to be ready to go when the next season rolls around.

  2. Looking good . . . like to see that heel developing, and soon there'll be a new frog growing as well.

  3. This is such a great story. So happy to read of your success and the milestone ride you had. Just incredible.

  4. Her feet look way better. I'm so happy for yall!

    If the barn feeds by scoops and not by weight the BP might not be a big deal - a scoop of BP weighs way less than a scoop of pellets! But yeah, pudgy girl probably doesn't need either right now. :)

  5. Yay for barefoot paint ponies!!!! I, too, am sure you'll show again. :)

  6. Im so happy to hear that you and Lilly are doing well! And by that photo, your pony is quiet, relaxed, and happy! Soft eyes, soft body. Its great! Im with SillyPony - yay for barefoot paint ponies!!

  7. I'm so glad the crack in her heels is healing up - those things can really harbor some nasty thrush way up in there. Her feet are looking great, and she looks great too! I'm so glad to hear that she's happy and comfortable and you're having such a good time with her. Now, if we can just find a magic cure for thin soles, wouldn't that be great!

  8. That's so awesome. I am just tickled this has worked out for you and for Lilly.

    I'm most definitely a barefoot fan...Haha-Had barefoot horses long before it was 'popular'. But just remember, it's not the shoe...it's if it is applied to a correctly trimmed/balanced foot to begin with. If you ever do have to go to shoes for whatever reason, at least now you will know what that looks like and you'll never let another farrier do to Lilly's feet what had been done before.

    Happy riding to both of you!!

  9. I have been reading but not commenting, but wanting to post on this. How good and happy does she look! I'm so happy you decided to take the plunge and pull her shoes. Apparently, so is she :)

  10. I can not tell you how thankful I am to learn so much valuable info here on you blog about feet! My horses are barefoot from the get go and I hope to keep them that way. I took in everything you said and tried to follow along... I know if I ever really need this info it is HERE. I love my blogging pals! I have learned so much. She is one lucky and obviously happy horse.