Toby is still having issues with his sweet Itch and laminitis but it’s something I’m having to learn to manage. But despite this we’ve started our new training program and have a plan for future events. So, it’s a rather exciting time for myself & Toby!
Toby has always been barefoot, and never required shoes. He has typical Appaloosa feet, where they are naturally strong and tough. I found unless he is on particularly stony ground, he would cope fine without shoes.
I think with the Laminitis attack, being in on box rest and the recent hot dry days and hard ground he has been struggling. A few weeks ago, he was looking like he had a foot abscess. He was favoring his right front foot, lifting it and shifting his weight off it. Although I couldn’t really feel too much heat in it, he was not happy. I placed a poultice on it overnight and called the vet the next day. My vet has been great throughout his recovery.
He seemed to improve overnight, but still wasn’t 100%. So, my vet put him through a quick lameness test and confirmed although not lame, he was very footy. She said the soles on both front feet were very thin. He’d probably stood on uneven ground awkwardly and bruised them. We discussed my options, and both agreed that putting on some front shoes would help lift his soles off the ground. Along with regularly applying some sole hardener would also have some benefit to Toby’s hooves.
Thankfully, my farrier was also due that week anyway, so I contacted him, and he agreed it would be a good idea, even just until the ground softens.
So now Toby has some new shoes and goes “clip-clop”. Laminitis creates a lot of foot issues for horses. For Toby this could possibly be one of the issues that laminitis has caused him. The only way to deal with it is to manage the issue and make the horse as comfortable as possible. The new set of shoes for Toby has worked wonders! He is now instantly walking out more and over stony ground he doesn’t even hesitate!
The Sweet Itch is slowly (and I mean slowly) improving. I’ve been applying some lotion on Toby each week that the vet gave me. He has regular baths with Aloe Vera and oatmeal shampoo to help sooth his sore skin. The lesions are gradually getting smaller and disappearing. He does still rub when given a chance, but it’s getting easier to stop him and distract him.
It’s a long and draining process but slowly we’re getting there. Again, it’s just a case of managing his sweet itch and making him as comfortable as possible. I also had some allergy test done on Toby. It turned out he’s allergic to nothing. Which is great! But at the same time, it means there is nothing that is causing his irritation. Making it difficult to treat. The vet did suggest giving him steroid injections. This comes with a lot of risks, laminitis being one of them. so instead she has prescribed him with steroid tablets. Which has proven to help, and so far, hasn’t caused his laminitis to flare up.
All of Toby’s issues are being managed in a way that suits Toby. If you are having to manage similar issues for your horse, always seek the advice of a vet. As one solution may work for one horse but not for another.
We are getting back into our work routine. At first, I found he was struggling with lifting and softening when asked. I think it was just due to not really being in full work for a few months. Plus, I have lost some strength from lack of riding too. Because of this, in our latest lesson we focused on Toby lifting and softening. This also worked towards getting him back into correct self-carriage.
The lesson was purely spent on asking him to lift his core with my leg. I’d then ask him to soften his head and neck by “bumping” the rein contact. As soon as he achieved this, I would relax and remove the pressure (the leg and hand contact) as a reward.
Towards the end of the lesson, I was doing the same exercise in walk. Some people may think its strange spending a large portion of the lesson in walk. But my trainer always reminds me, that until you have achieved what you want in one gait, there is not much point moving up a gear. Sometimes I can spend a whole schooling session in walk, teaching Toby a new exercise and making sure he answers my questions right before I move on.
Having had some time off to recover it was expected that we’d have to go backwards in our work routine. But this will allow Toby to recover fully & be comfortable when moving forward with his work. He is now finding the lifting and softening a lot easier. He’s also able to achieve the exercise in a jog too. We are slowly introducing some lope work, and he is feeling a lot fitter and stronger already.
We have already looked at what horses wear when competing Western, so this month we will look at what the riders wear for a couple of different western disciplines/competitions.
For the ladies, bling, bling and more bling is what’s on order here! The shinier and more sparkles you can get on your outfit, the better. It’s all about standing out for this one. You must also color coordinate with your horse.
Riders will wear a cowboy hat, a shirt/blouse with lots of gems attached, matching colored trousers, with the same color chaps over the top, western boots and spurs. Along with the outfit many ladies competing in Western Pleasure will wear bold & bright make up. Also, their hair is neatly tied back. Some of these outfits can cost £1000’s. When you see them, you can understand why!
Unlike Western Pleasure, Ranch Riding attire is a lot less “blingy” and more practical. It still has to be smart and well fitted, but it is generally based on working on a ranch. You will also see less silver on the horse’s tack.
Again, riders like to make sure their outfit coordinates with their horse’s outfit, without needing to be so bright. Cowboy hats are worn, chaps or “chinks” can be worn (chinks are like a shorter chap, that finish just by the knee) a neck scarf is sometimes worn also. Shirts will be well fitted, without any bling. Sometimes a leather or denim waistcoat may be worn over the top.
Emma has been riding for 20+ years. She started off riding dressage, with a small amount of jumping. With Toby at her side she’s been building up her confidence in riding again after loosing it a few years ago. She & Toby are hoping to get out to some western shows this year. She also works full time, plus run a business with her partner and enjoys modifying cars and attending car shows.