Monday, June 6, 2011

NASTR Ride Musings


Well, Diego and I got pulled.  Bummer.  =(  However, we did 36 miles and he's not broken, just footsore, as confirmed by the head vet, Jay Mero.  In looking back, we had several very good things happen at this ride:
  • I mounted up in camp and rode out of camp with a happy horse at a walk.  He was a bit "up" when I first got on, but settled nicely and went on down the road like a big boy.
  • I got to ride with some very fabulous ride partners, Nancy Upham and Gretchen Montgomery.  Both of them are fabulous ladies who I love to share the trail with, so it was a very, very fun ride for the entire time I was out there.
  • It was a tough ride, very technical and rocky terrain, with a lot of climbing.  Diego did all the "hard" parts since the last 14 miles we didn't do was mostly all the downhill back to camp.  =)
  • Since Gretchen and Nan's horses are both seasoned mares, Dig got to work on his big boy endurance trot, i.e. going along at 9 mph rather than 6-7 mph.
  • There was a TON of grass along the trail.  Diego learned the art of "grab-and-go" eating.
  • We both did a great job taking care of ourselves, eating and drinking, both on the trail and in the vetcheck. 
I have a few theories on why Diego came up footsore.  Mainly, he's continuing to land toe first.  With horses, ideally you want a heel first landing.  In looking at the pictures from the ride photographers, you can clearly see him spiking his feet into the ground toe first, and the dirt being kicked up by how he's driving his foot in.  I've been working to bring his toes back each time he's trimmed.  However, I last trimmed him the Thursday before the ride.  And I trimmed way too much off to expect him to do a ride two days later.  I should have been more cognizant of the timing of the trim.  When I had my other horse in shoes, I would ideally have him shod about two weeks before the ride.  That's what I should have done with Dig.  A good balanced, make-them-shorter trim two weeks to a week and a half before the ride, and then just a quick touch up if need be to ensure the boots fit correctly.

Enlarge to see the dirt poofs from his "spiking" his toes


The other item I'm going to look into is the possibility of some deep seated thrush that may be causing heel sensitivitiy.  Things have been pretty wet this year and there's a good chance he could have something brewing in there that isn't overly obvious.  I was dealing with some thrush off and on all winter, so it's possible that it's more deep seated and not being resolved with just some standard over the counter topical treatments.

My other concern for why he's landing toe first is saddle fit.  He has a long laid back shoulder, and I need to ensure that nothing is pinching and causing him to restrict his stride.  I noticed that he was having to take about 1 1/2 steps to the other horses' one stride this weekend.  He's just not truly reaching out and using himself.  He may be doing it because his feet hurt, or because the saddle fit isn't ideal (I'm still playing around with fit and padding).  It may be a combination of all of the above.

At least the cure for sore feet is relatively easy - some time off and easy light riding.  He should be all better in a couple of weeks hopefully. However, getting to the root cause of the issue, and resolving whatever the problem may be, is my main concern now.

6 comments:

~ C said...

Oh! I forgot to add that Diego was the first horse into the scary 4-horse stock trailer that we had to be trailered back to camp in. The front spot was set up like a two horse straight load, with a metal divider and a gate that shut between the two front horses, and the two back horses rode in the open like a stock trailer. It was somewhat scary for him to get in, and he backed out a few times, but once he got all the way in he stood there bravely while we got everyone else loaded up and did great on the harrowing crazy bumpy trip out from the vetcheck.

Chris Martin said...

Crysta: Sorry for the pull, but sometimes it works for the best if it puts us back on the right track, but sometimes it just sucks... Did you actually check hoof soreness with hoof testers? Usually backing up the toe will not cause any soreness, if you get into the toe callous then that is another story. I have done that when shoeing and it definitely made him sore. Hoof testers can also tell you if your thrush is causing problem. I would jump on this with both feet and get it figured out quickly but you know that.. Good luck, enjoy your blog. I do have a horse that mostly lands on his toes... go figure.

inthenightfarm said...

Awww, sorry about the pull. :( At least it wasn't anything serious. And, hooray about loading in the strange trailer! I always wonder what mine would do in that situation. Wish I had a few more trailers to train with, but no such luck. Tamara

~ C said...

Chris - Yes. After we trailered back to camp I took him over to the vets and hung out until there was a lull. Jay Mero took a look at his leg, including palpating the tendons, trotting in circles, and using hoof testers. He was positive on both front toes (we didn't test rears) but not on the heels. I don't think the soreness was from backing up the toes either, but I did take some toe callous down (which I don't like to do) in an effort to shorten the overall length of the toe to encourage a more heel first landing. I just shouldn't have done it so close to a ride. He actually looked better on the softer ground at the finish vetting area than he did on the hard packed road at the check. He was also seeking the softer shoulder of the road out on the trail, which all just confirms he was tender footed.

Thinking of doing Goober Glue "pads" in my Gloves for future rides. I really don't want to get into the glueing route for one-day rides, but adding some additional cushion would probably be a good thing.

Dom said...

I'm getting the feeling that was a tough ride for everyone. Sorry to hear you got pulled. Glad it's nothing serious.

Lynda said...

I was so proud to read you were able to mount and ride out from camp. This is a BIG step. Plus you were able to work on the extended trot! Another area you've been wanting to tackle =) Sounds like even though you have an issue to solve, the ride enabled you to move forward with your training. 2 steps forward, and only one step back. Love Mom

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