When One Ride Makes Your Day

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The Beginning of a Barefoot Journey

April from top barefoot
Riding April bareback

by Karen Pickering

I just came in from a fantastic ride on April. She has been barefoot since mid-April and quite lame. Diagnosed in 2009 with Navicular, she’s been in shoes year round. Her soles were paper-thin and she was struggling to walk on most any surface without some discomfort. She’s been wearing Soft Ride boots in her gravel pen to keep her comfortable along with receiving Previcox to manage pain.

I have been treating her feet every two or three days with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and Oxide to kill any bacteria that has developed in her frog. Last Friday, with the help of my friend, Wendy, we filed her feet. She’s been getting trims with the help of Sharon Baker and Skoshie Davis, getting me started on my journey with riding her barefoot and, when needed, in boots.

April wearing Cavallos

I will be doing a review of three different kinds of hoof boots made by Cavallo (see more about Cavallo in their June 2016 NWHS Cover Story), EasyCare Boots and Renegades. April is a bit of a challenge to get into boots because her heels are so underslung. I’ve tried the Cavallo Treks and they really fit well. I’m getting a little rub on her bulbs so I’m putting her in nylon socks to see if that helps them slip a little. I’m sure as she regains some heel underneath her at a better angle the boots will be ideal. I only use them when walking or exercising her for now.

April Soft Ride Boots barefoot
April in her shelter wearing boots

First of this week I started leaving her barefoot 100% of the time. She is getting around her gravel pen (which is now mostly sand) but pretty firm footing. I can see she’s been moving around quite a bit; much more than the first few weeks. She goes out on pasture twice a day for 1 to 2 hours barefoot. She is now trotting off; I even got a lope today. It’s still a tentative gait but she’s moving so much more freely now.

This evening she came trotting up when I went to bring her in from the field so I climbed on and rode her around the field bareback. She moved so well I was shocked. I am so excited to see that she actually has a chance to improve and I will be able to ride her again. I am unbelievably grateful to ABC Hoofcare,/Cheryl Henderson, Sharon Baker and Skoshie Davis for their guidance.

I’ll keep you posted on her progress. It made my day!

Quote: Be realistic, believe in a miracle. ~ Author unknown

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