Long time, some improvement.

I haven't ridden my horse since January.

Well, not really anyway. Sure, on his good days I'll hop on him bareback. But, that's really it. No actual riding. No working in a frame. No plans or schedules or goals. It's rough. It's depressing. But, it's good for him, right?

I dunno.

But! Here's what I do know:
A) My horse is no longer as "girthy" after switching his feed. He's much calmer and less touchy. Also, his back pain is starting to go away. He no longer flinches hard while currying his back.

B) There is some sole growth. Not much, and his soles still flex under pressure from my hands. But, there is some growth, and nearly no exfoliation.

C) GP is very lame after being trimmed by my farrier, and not after being touched up by me. Lame as in "cannot walk on level pavement". It's sad to see.

D) The feed change has brought about a much skinnier horse, perhaps too skinny.

Basically, I feel like we are stuck where we are. I started a new job, so walking my horse daily suffered. I always made sure he had turnout, but it has rarely been on hard ground. We've had so much rain recently, everything here is a mud pit. I've made a bigger effort to get out and walk on hard surfaces, and have seen a much happier striding horse.

Guinness is still hitting the ground toe first for the most part. Here you can see some footage of him walking in early April:

As you can see, he is walking much more confidently, but is still "stabby" with his front legs. For the most part, this is where we were for a month.

Then Guinness had trim by the farrier, and he went lame. Very lame. Super lame ... and it sucked.

My farrier didn't touch the frog (but to trim off some flaps on the side), didn't touch the sole and just rasped back his walls to a big higher of an angle than I had been. He did rasp the walls down a bit more, and they are level more with GP's sole. He did try to shape up GP's clubby foot more. Unfortunately that foot is usually sounder. Weird, but true. Also weird but true is the near disappearance of GP's windpuff on his left front ankle. Meanwhile, the right front has been getting worse. More proof of the lameness being focused ... ugh.

Basically, I'm feeling helpless, but still willing to keep trying. The small improvements I've been seeing are helping me to keep on.

In other news, the feed change did cause GP to lose what I felt was a lot of weight quickly. I know have him on a ground flax supplement to increase the caloric load of his feed. He's stopped losing, and has started to fill out. That has been since the following photos were taken, so he is still slightly ribby here.

Below are some new conformation shots and foot shots from a week ago. Let me know what you think. The trim was very recent, and the one that lamed him. From now on, I guess I'll do all his trims. The work on pavement is really keeping his wall length very reasonable, and I keep it low by working on it every week or two.
Front Right, the foot with the large ankle windpuffs.

Right Front from the bottom. Note the back of the frog looks more pinched. Are my heels too high?

Front Left. Weirdly shaped, but less ankle swellings. Sorry for the poor angle of photography ;)
Front Left from below. Note wider spread on frog. Am I seeing things here?
Note skinnier pony! No more fat deposits on shoulder, bottom of neck or face. Hurrah! Now, to keep some weight on him ...

Another note: Guinness seems to stand square up front most of the time. But behind, he always stands askew. Maybe I need to pay closer attention back there!

As always, I appreciate any input!


  1. Austen, thanks for the update! I'm sorry to hear about Guinness's continued ouchiness. What type of farrier do you use? Have you had x-rays of his hooves/lameness tests to check for pedal osteitis? I'm not sure of that would change any barefoot trimmer's techniques or not. I'm in the process of trying to learn as much about that as possible and whether the condition would be exacerbated by going barefoot. I think the ultimate goal of sole thickening is the only way to really help this condition. Honestly, all of the information out there is so confusing!

    It sounds like my horse, Mocha, and Guinness have a lot of the same problems. Mocha is sore in the fronts, especially after being reset. X-rays tomorrow to see what's really going on in there.

    I noticed that you mentioned that his back is sore. Mocha's is too, and I think its because she cannot stand or move properly due to the soreness of her hooves. The chiropractor comes monthly, and that seems to help. Most recently, I've been trying equine massage, that she seems to enjoy, and is significantly less sore in the days following. Just a thought!


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