Today was a big day for Milo. He got his first hind shoes nailed on. About two and a half years ago was when Milo last had shoes on, however then, they were nailed onto the fronts. This is the first time I have have hind shoes only on a horse, but the reasoning behind it makes sense for Milo and I.
Sarah and I discussed my goals for Milo, and where improvements can still be made in both of our bodies. The discussion began a few months back, but we both came to the conclusion that Milo needed the stability and balance in the rear that hind shoes would provide. Eventually, he will get seasonal slide plates on, but until then, Sarah felt that he needed some additional balancing before the sliders go on. I had to agree. There are some steps that need to be covered before we are ready for those big slides. Strength might be there now, but its just a little out of reach yet. Which I am fine with. We still plan on painting his hocks to relieve any excess calcium build up in them, and that will come after a fresh shoeing as well.
Milo was a pill for Peter, my farrier, which I felt terrible about. But Peter took it in stride saying that shoeing is different for the horse than trimming, combine with the hinds never having shoes on before, he felt Milo's actions were just fine.
|Hinds and Fronts, clean and trimmed.|
|Posterior and anterior views of balanced shoes.|
When trimmed and shod, I brought Milo into the arena to longe a bit. I didnt have the time to ride but wanted to give Milo an opportunity to try out his new feet before I rode him anyways. Originally, I began videotaping segments of the longe session for documentation. But as the work continued, I actually learned something...
Milo at the walk to the left
Milo at the trot. I never noticed his toe dragging until watching this video. Not sure if it is consistent or due to the shoes, but I will be keeping an eye on it. Im ashamed with myself for not noticing this in person.
Milo at the lope and trot to the right.
It was in this video that I had my educational/epiphany moment. As I watched Milo move, I noticed how smoothly he was stepping into the lope and back down from the lope to the trot. This is new. Normally on the longeline, even with connection, he falls down into the trot, and drags himself into the lope. I havent longed him in probably a month or more, and it was interesting to see how different he was moving into these transitions.
Then it hit me.
Not only is my horse stronger with the "pieces in place for the puzzle", but he is capable of performing these transitions fluidly. So what does this mean? It means that we arent getting those transitions under saddle, because of me. Obviously, my horse is capable and strong enough to transition easily on the longeline, but under saddle, he still transitions in the same manner as previously noted. The difference has to be me. A little wave of disappoint overcame me when I made this realization, but at the same time I felt good knowing that my horse is very much capable of what I am asking him. I no longer have to feel like it is that difficult for him. He is strong, he is capable.
That leaves one conclusion for me: figure out how to make my body capable and strong. Milo has been upholding his end of the deal.