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|