Wednesday, September 27, 2023

traffic skool + other updates

It's been a bit quiet around these parts for my own two creatures lately, mostly bc the weather was terrible (thanks, Ophelia!), our farm hosted the final starter trial of the season this weekend (at which, natch, I spent the day volunteering), and Charles was massively lame again after his latest farrier appointment. Le sigh. More on that below. 

charles <3 we all hate it when you stand like that! 
But just bc things are "quiet" doesn't mean nothing at all is happening, so let's get into some of those softer details of horsey care and mgmt, yes? 

For starters, Doozy got to try out some of her new-to-her wardrobe! We were able to source a couple used sheets and medium blankets from our own barn family at very little expense, hurray for gigantic boarding barns lol. The sheet Doozy wore this weekend is particularly special, as it belonged to Charlie's beloved best friend, Iggy. It's nice to keep a part of him with us <3

something borrowed + something blue! 
Tho I did suck it up and buy one new thing for the little lady --- this Harrison Howard shoulder guard. Charlie has the same one, and I swear by these bib-style rub guards. They're so easy, and work so well, and aren't super particular re: fit. You can find them on amazon for less than $20, and Doozy is comfortably wearing the cob / medium size (Charlie wears the large). 

d'aww, look who survived traffic school without causing (intentionally or otherwise) harm or mayhem to either of the tackless juniors keeping us company!
We're all feeling a little blah and icky after the waterlogged + cold weekend, tho, not gonna lie. And the gray misty weather has persisted into this week. Nobody is particularly motivated, but everyone is pretty chill about it. Meaning, we had a nice opportunity to tag along with some juniors for low-key bareback rides on their horses in the indoor. 

Recall, 'traffic school' is our immediate and big focus area for Doozy in the coming weeks -- particularly in the indoor. So that's where I'm prioritizing my time right now. 

she would also like you to observe that she continues to conquer ground poles just fine
It just isn't realistic to expect she'll cope with riding outside under the lights just yet. And meanwhile, it's our responsibility to safely share space in the indoor if that's where we need to be. Meaning, if other riders want to be in the indoor jumping and cantering and minding their own business, Doozy will either need to cope or give way. 

So I was pleased to log another solid experience earlier this week, in which Doozy successfully navigated the crushing weight of existence in the indoor while other horses ignored her, lol. I'm finding it really effective to stay busy with little 'micro-tasks' within our walks, too. Like, not just walking laps around the ring, but walking specifically over this pole, or into that corner, or to fetch the muck cart and pick up poo

It'll surprise nobody to hear that, actually, the typical OTTB does a lot better with something to think about and focus on. And in the absence of explicit direction in that regard, will fill in the blanks themselves --- often with alternatives like "going to the door" and "leaving."

really cannot emphasize enough how badly it hurts to see my beloved horse like this
So. Things with Doozy continue to move in the right direction, and hopefully more updates to come! Charlie, meanwhile, broke all of our hearts this week.... siiigh

it wasn't a bad idea, it just absolutely did not work for charlie
It's maybe a little bit my fault, too. His new farrier is really committed to getting him back to soundness, and I probably could have done a better job reassuring her that we really seem to be on the right path with the work she's doing, given how incredible he's felt in recent weeks. 

As it was, tho, I hadn't given her any recent updates on his soundness, and she meanwhile had a new idea on a potential shift in tactics by using dental impression material under his pads to improve contact and promote increased blood flow. 

whew, standing just fine after the material was pulled out
I'm not an expert farrier, I don't really know the pros / cons to these sorts of things, and don't know enough about anything to really brainstorm ideas with the farrier. I've just said to her, 'do what you think is best for the horse, and I'll trust your judgement.' 

And that's still true. But I also wonder if she would have still opted for a change in strategy if I'd been better about communicating how sound he's been recently. As it was, Charlie found the increased material under his pads to be intolerable. He was completely crippled and stall-bound until the farrier could come back 3 days later and yank the stuff back out again. 

do you love my diy-rigged free range grazing between two paddocks? lol
Luckily, tho, I was there for the appointment, and really emphasized how well the horse has been recently --- his feet look the best they have in six months, and y'all saw how sound and happy he was even just a week or two ago. So I do truly believe we are on the right path with what the farrier was already doing. 

He seemed instantly more comfortable once the extra padding was removed too -- I suspect he just can't tolerate that increased sole pressure. Which, I totally get. If you've ever worn the wrong thickness insoles, you know the feeling. So maybe he'll come sound fairly quickly. 

My last metric for putting Charlie back to 'full work' is whether he can walk away from a regular shoeing appointment more or less of normal soundness. We reeeally hoped this cycle would be the one. Obvi it's a little hard to tell, now, with the misfire on trying something new... But, eh, we'll see, right? Cross your fingers for us! 


  1. I hate that stance so much. That was the same dental molding Ben slowly told us he couldn't handle, hopefully Charlie isn't too bruised from his few days in it!

    1. ugh fingers crossed! he's back in turnout, so we'll see how he does the next few days! ngl, as soon as the farrier told me they'd tried this stuff, my heart sank. but it was only 3 days so i'm not expecting long term impacts at least!

  2. I really feel for you. I tried dental impression molding with a horse of mine too and he absolutely could not handle it. Some horses I have heard it's the magic answer for, so I think it's one of those things you really just have to try and see. Hopefully Charles has immediate relief from taking it out and can go back to his journey to soundness.

    1. yea that's what i've heard too -- that it's a game changer for some horses. if i have one take away from this experience -- it's to be more communicative when i think.... we don't need a game change lol, that maybe we're already on the right path!

  3. Ugh the way my heart squeeeeezed seeing Charlie all parked out :( It was worth a shot, but here's hoping the next shoeing is the one!

    1. lol i mean, i kinda think it absolutely was NOT worth a shot, and would have advised against if given the chance.... but eh, it is what is is...

  4. Such a good plan to do traffic school with the Dooz! The number of people I know who are so uncomfortable in an indoor arena with others -- and they are horses old and young and in between -- is shocking! You can't always ride alone, and I would hate having to constantly change my plan for a day or a ride just because I didn't want to deal with traffic. Getting Doozy comfortable with it is such a logical first step.

  5. Poor Charlie, I hope he gets back on the right track!

  6. I have my own lameness issues between arthritis is one foot and a recent PF diagnosis in the other. My pain level changes from day to day. And the amount and type of athletic tape/liniments/special footwear/oral medication I need to use to stay comfortable also varies. It's hard for me to address my own pain level sometimes, and I can totally get how difficult it is for owners/vets/farriers to judge what a horse with lameness issues needs. It's a tough thing.

  7. Oh poor buddy! I hope he's feeling better by now since I'm pretty tardy in my blog reading.
    Glad Doozy is getting to know the indoor and learn about traffic though!


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