Like much of North America the past two weeks have been frigid. In between though there has been rain and thaw. This has led to ice everywhere.
|yes this is my riding ring. Anyone have skates?|
I have ice cleats permanently attached to my boots. Otherwise I would not be able to walk the dog or do a lot of chores. I am grateful for them but they are not super comfortable on long walks. Ice is always a worry with the horses. Both Carmen and Irish are shod in front and those have cleats on them. I watch them and they are quite careful about where they put their feet.
I had been spreading sand and shavings outside to add traction. Unfortunately, the ice had become so hard and smooth that neither would stick. On saturday I tried sprinkling warm water on the ice and the the shavings to help them stick. It worked but not great. I asked Ed to go and buy some bags of salt for me to put down outside their stalls. He asked 'isn't salt hard on their feet?' 'Maybe' I replied, 'but I'm more worried about them slipping and injuring themselves'.
While he was out, Julia came and we brought the horses in to give them a good groom. Irish's back legs were bloody. It seems that he slipped on the ice and banged up his legs (probably trying to get up). He was walking very badly too and I was worried he might have seriously injured himself. Hosing his legs showed superficial cuts that we dressed. But he was still walking badly. Not lame but shuffly. I started him on bute and hoped for the best. Nothing seemed dire enough to warrant a vet call- he was eating, enjoyed the attention, just wasn't walking well.
|I love that Willow joins Guinness and I on our walks|
Sunday morning I kept the horses in for a bit while I sprinkled more salt. Irish came out and even tried to prance. Later, when bringing him in we were able to determine that it was his back that was sore. By that time enough of the driveway was clear that we could walk the horses a bit and he loosened up pretty quickly. It would make sense that he would strain his back trying to get up.
Now the outside is coated in salt and sand and the footing is much better.
I said to Julia that Carmen, although clearly wanting to stretch her legs, is very sensible with the footing. She quite enjoyed the walk up and down the driveway. This is when I really want an indoor- they need a place to exercise and their paddock is not okay for that. However, I realize how much I count on how 'sensible' Carmen is for her handling and not trying to injure herself. I don't have that same faith in Irish. It's very possible he fell trying to have a little canter around.
With riding off the table I have been taking Carmen out and have been doing some stretches with her. She's pretty used to the side and stretch down carrot stretches. I've added in getting her to allow me to passively stretch her front legs. It's interesting in a lot of ways.
First of all her response to this is curiosity and a little resistance. But not over reacting or freaking out. I am careful and I have approached it slowly, as soon as she softens I quietly release and reward. I can feel her start to stretch into the front legs. Her hind legs are a little more tight. But she's figuring out that she feels good after. I completely trust this horse on the ground. I need to also expect the same common sense from her under saddle. Because clearly she's capable.
We're near the end of January and then we just have to endure the 18 weeks of February.....
|the horses enjoying the sun on their backs|
hahaha the 18 weeks of February... so true! I call it the February blahs.ReplyDelete
Have you ever looked into the Masterson Method? It's a form of body work on horses; I think his book is titles Beyond Massage or Beyond Horse Massage. Very good book with descritions, phortos and step by step instructions.
The ice is everywhere here too, I just did chaff paths too. One thing you can use other than saly is nitrogen fertilizer, it works great and is cheap enough and not harmful to the horses' feet.
I did not know that about fertilizer! Thank you.Delete
We have frozen mud around here. So the ground is frozen solid, a little slippery, but lots of grooves. It sucks a lot, but the horses can manage even if a certain bay horse doesn't think he can move very much.ReplyDelete
Interestingly enough, Subi moves around the best in this awful footing. But, I have to remind myself that he's lived in crap footing for YEARS with 24/7 turnout so he's used to it. If he ever gets super uncomfortable, I have his easyboots with pads, but he's actually been OK? Nay is shod and I think that makes him feel less stable. But, I also don't want to pull his shoes either... He'd actually do better if he picked up his feet when he walked. But, instead he starts to slide and just slides vs picking up his feet. Jiminy falls in between. He needs a trim but he's ouchy now and being his minor founder this fall, that probably doesn't help. But, he has boots I can put on him if I need to. And he can and does move around way more than Nay Nay. Ah horses. Got to love them.
I will say, they're all sensible and no one seems to do anything stupid in the footing so that's good? Hope Irish stays sensible and doesn't get himself into more trouble.
Irish will always be Irish 🙄. But these days he’s being cautiousDelete
Oh no, you have our conditions. It’s so scary! The older horses are wise to the ice, but young Epona learned about it the hard way. We’ve been iced in for about three weeks, and no sign of a serious melt. I’m using the woodchips and wasted hay from their stalls to cover their runs and pathways to the water, but it’s a big mess. I considered having a load of sand delivered, but haven’t done it yet. I’m really hoping February will be mild this year, and an early spring.ReplyDelete
As I’m making a mess of the paddocks I tell myself that I’ll worry about that come spring. 😁 Irish was very silly when younger. I prefer snow to this ice.Delete
18 weeks of Feb...seems about right!ReplyDelete
ugh that ice sounds treacherous, glad Irish seems to be getting better tho! we get so so so much ice around here in the mid atlantic, we've actually been known to spread stall muck around on pathways etc. it's a bear to clean up after a thaw, but the soiled muck seems to stick better and give more grip than just clean sawdust alone.ReplyDelete
also... i am not at all surprised to hear how sensible carmen is about self preservation, gotta love those mares!!
She has a strong sense of self preservation! The shavings I use are soiled from the stall so sort of muck. I’ll worry about the mess come April. 😁Delete
18 weeks of February. I am feeling that. Our cold weather really only started 3 weeks ago but I am already over it. Come on early spring!ReplyDelete
Same here. I really hope for an early thaw.Delete
Oh Irish! What were you thinking? Horses don't ice skate!ReplyDelete
He has zero sense of self preservation.Delete
February is the longest month of the year, I agree! Hopefully it's kind to us...ReplyDelete
Glad to hear Irish seems to be feeling a bit better. Ice is a real PITA! I've had people suggest using kitty litter for grip on ice, but haven't tried it myself. Supposed to be better on their feet than salt which would make sense. Not sure if it would work on the smooth ice though.