05 January 2011

"If your horse is only sound when shod, then he is lame" taken from the barefoot horse blog.

I'm hoping Cruizer can stay barefoot. Right now he's lame-ish again. I think because he plays so hard on the frozen ground, and he's still got the damaged hoof coming off. He's not limping, just stepping a bit tenderly. I lunged him for about 10 minutes yesterday and he looked better the longer he went. Usually one or two days of Farrier's Fix Oil applied to the soles of his feet takes away the lameness and he's good to go again. I guess I should be more patient with this. His feet haven't touched Earth in over four years, due to the shoes he's had since he turned a year old. Time will tell. In all honesty, he is adjusting very quickly and very well to being barefoot. Its just that every time his feet feel GOOD he has to play and celebrate, which means his feet get sore again. He's been mostly sound, and when I ride him he feels great. He stretches out and actually, when his feet aren't sore, he moves better than he did with shoes. He has a long, reaching, flat front leg, and driving hock that QH people want in a hunter.  I really don't mind not being able to ride him much in the winter months anyway. He's really easy to bring back after long breaks, and I'd rather he grow out his feet and get them healthy again and get used to his new wheels than me trying to ride him every day and "rush" his feet into changing.

I'm having a hard time choosing a career path. I would LOVE to ride professionally and train, but I know that I am fragile because of my back "hardware," and I know that realistically it is very difficult to make a living out of riding. Not to mention, trainers generally don't get to have and show their own horses, which is not an option for me. Don't get me wrong, I love riding horses for others, but it is more important to me to have my own horse. Additionally...if I were to have a riding accident and get seriously injured, my entire career would be gone, and I'd be stuck.

I am also extremely interested in veterinary medicine. Specifically lameness. So I've been thinking about doing the vet thing, and specializing in lameness, and surgery. I love watching surgeries.

I have been very fortunate at the barn I've been at for most of my riding careers. I've gotten to see several surgeries, weird/rare procedures, a foal birth, stitches, floating, and alllll the routine stuff. I was also taught how to give injections. I've seen countless xrays, ultrasounds, and dozens of other things. I feel that doing the vet thing is much more realistic, more "morally" rewarding, but still challenging enough to keep my attention. I get bored easily.

I am transferring to University of Findlay for Fall 2011. For the longest time I wanted to major in English Equestrian Studies with an emphasis on training/teaching dressage, and in Equine Business Management. Now I'm thinking about doing Pre-Vet there. Decisions, decisions. I'm going to see about shadowing a few different vets at the equine hospital near here, where my last horse had colic surgery, and where I recently saw a sinus flap done.

I haven't ridden dressage since the summer, but I really want to start again. I wish I had more time, I barely have enough time for my own horse between school and work. But the woman whose horse I practice dressage on has been wanting me to ride again, so maybe soon I can start. I absolutely love her mare, and am still shocked that she's let me ride her so much. She gave me the opportunity to do two clinics on her in 2010, and I had a blast and learned A LOT. I still want to pursue dressage, but I'm definitely always going to have the quarter horses too.


  1. You address two pretty divergent topics here, so it's harder to comment on.

    First, barefoot issues. Barefoot is fine; I don't have a problem with it. I have a problem with barefoot adherents who claim it as a moral high ground. It's great if Cruizer does well barefoot. It's also cheaper than shoeing him. HOWEVER, if there is moral high ground to claim, it goes to those who do what is right for their horse at that time.

    Second, career path issues: have fun! Those are big decisions.

  2. Barefoot...sorry. Some horses just need shoes, or some sort of protection for their feet. Sure, horses in the wild to fine barefoot because the ones that can't go barefoot become predator food.

    If you really have the determination to be a vet, that's a wonderful option. Good horse vets are actually pretty scarce out there, so you'd surely be needed. I'm sure if you start taking some pre-vet courses you will know pretty quickly if that's a good choice for you.

    I'll be looking forward to hearing how it goes.

  3. Barefoot is so tricky. It's all about time and having the right trimmer. Good luck and there is no shame in doing what is comfortable for you too but there are resources out there for both sides.

  4. I guess I don't really have an opinion one way or the other about barefoot. It depends on what works for the individuals involved.

    As for career choices, sounds like being a vet would be very interesting to you. I think it's important to find something that you love if that's possible. People who love their work are much happier than those doing something just to get a paycheck. In the long run, happiness is what counts.