Last night I read Trails (and Trials) Friday post about her gelding being a fresh naughty boy after coming back from hiatus, and unwisely commented that I was surprised how "relatively polite" my mare had been on her first trail ride at the Lake after her 6 weeks rest. Clearly Desire got the memo that I had called her polite in the blog-o-sphere and she was ready and waiting to set the record straight.
First of all, trying to experiment with boots on your tap dancing, stretching, anxiety ridden, fresh Arabian still coming back into work after 6 weeks off--well, take my advice and just skip it. I was working on fitting the Renegades borrowed from Karen to her, but Desire was doing everything in her power to make it difficult. She wouldn't stand still, or when I wanted a hoof, she would plant it and make her leg rigid as a tree stump. Then once the hoof was up and I was checking out the shell fit on her hoof she was yanking her foot away. Getting her to put her hoof back down flat and put her weight on the boot? Nah, she'd rather stand with her toe on the ground, purposely NOT putting her weight on it. She always stands with her left hip in the corner of the cross tie stall, and as many times as I asked her to move over so I could handle her hind leg, she would shift right back over the second I moved off. Of course it was also hot, and she crapped 4 healthy dinosaur dumps within 25 minutes--and as fast as I shovel it, she gets her hooves in it first--so my eager boot fitting process rapidly devolved into sweaty, stinky, poo covered despair.
First of all, I'm pretty sure Desire may actually be a size 2 in the fronts, instead of the 1 I had been thinking. Her hoof was so wide that it distorted the shell of the boot and when I re-checked her measurements and the sizing chart, I think that she is in fact a size 2. I took a few photos and am going to throw myself on Go Pony's mercy...I screwed around with adjusting the cables a little just to familiarize myself with it, and I got the screws loosened, cables moved, and screws re-tightened, without issue. I took this pic just to show how the shell is distorted by her wide hoof. She just had a trim last week, too.
So after getting some more photos I put Desire in the padded Easyboot Epics in front and the taped Gloves in the hind, swapped the Specialized to her set-up, and went for a ride up the ridge. I was already sweaty and dirty and it was getting hotter by the minute but Desire was being a complete fool and I wanted to get her out and moving.
Right out of the cross ties she about trampled over top of me, stepping on my heels and then on herself and tripping with all the forward momentum she had going already. I had my husband hold her head so I could get in the saddle and then heading out from home up the ridge my horse who couldn't stand still is suddenly walking like a farm plug and trying to turn for home if I took my attention off the reins for even a minute. She wanted to walk on the opposite side of the road that I wanted her on, and when we did trot she either did a ridiculous dog trot or flew into a spazzy 9 mph trot blowing and snorting and spooking at nothing.
In the end we made it the 3 miles to top of the ridge and then turned and I hand walked her the mile+ back down to flatter ground. The dirt road with round gravel on top can be really slippy and she was such a ditz today that I didn't feel like riding the slip-slide down. On the last little stretch of dirt before we hit pavement again we were trotting and she suddenly jumped to the right and slammed on her brakes simultaneously. As quick a move as it was it was almost slow motion as I was *certain* I was going to eat dirt for the first time since I broke my leg 2 1/2 years ago. I went way forward on her neck and barely saved myself from falling, catching the full weight of my forward momentum on my palms on her neck which sent a fantastic pile driver of pain into my shoulders and all down my back as my weight was suddenly stopped hard. I kinked my back pretty good and it's still sore, but at least I didn't hit the ground.
She was spooky the rest of the way home, I was "eh ehing" her about once every few minutes. When she got all snorty and wouldn't go forward past a friend's van parked in the driveway I decided she needed to go down to the arena for some more work as she certainly hadn't earned an easy pass back to her paddock. The arena footing is pretty deep and it was getting hotter still so we only worked about 15 minutes down there, just transitions, figure 8s, making her pay attention just a little. I can't claim it did anything as she was a pill for her shower and snorted and wouldn't step over the hose going back to her pasture.
Standing next to Joey while mounted on D, he was interested and alarmed to see me up so high on her
So I pretty much had the worst ride on Desire--I dunno, maybe ever? Sometimes it's hard to believe she is turning 16 next week! Clearly she is ready and waiting for lot's more work--and the occasional slap up side the head. We did more trotting this time and she was sound as a dollar the whole time, so that's a plus.