Not Sure What to Do

Today started off like any other gorgeous February afternoon at the barn. Guinness was being a butt and Dandy an angel. I thought it was going to be chilly so I wore a black long sleeved shirt… big mistake. The minute I stepped out of the car I started to roast. Oh well.

Went to get the Dandy boy and of course he was covered in mud:

This makes me miss Sheena who was a diva and never ever rolled in the mud. *sigh* But I got Dandy cleaned off good enough to put a saddle on and went out to lunge him in side reins. It was the first time doing it since I put the bit guards on the other night (thank God I had Eric to help with that! I hate bit guards!) and there was a huge improvement right from the start. I feel bad that I might have been pinching his mouth but that seems to be fixed now.

After we were done I hopped on and joined LG’s lesson who was going for a road hack. This was perfect because I was already planning on doing a road hack and it’s always better to go with someone else. Especially since Dandy was being a bit of pill when we came back. He started getting upset when I made him walk past the farm and a truck drove past. It occurs to me now that I should have kept riding him back and forth until he calmed down and that I have now taught him to act up to return to the barn. Guess I’ll have to fix this next time. If there is one.

You see, on the road, Dandy started tripping which he has never done with me before. I figured it was because he had just been trimmed yesterday and might just be a little tender footed and moved to the ditch so he could walk on grass. When I got off him back at the farm, I was dismayed to find his front right chipping all over the place.

The original farrier, who knew how to do a natural trim, that was supposed to come out flaked and so LG had her other farrier come out. I could tell right away that he was doing a pasture trim versus a natural trim but I figured Dandy would be okay. The work looked good and he explained everything he was doing and addressed my concerns about the two blemishes in Dandy’s right front:

He said that both blemishes are from damage to the coronary band and if he’s not lame on them then I shouldn’t worry about them. The one that looks like a quarter crack – he said that it’s not cracking on the inside of the hoof and should eventually grow out (there’s a mark that goes all the way up this hoof and into the hair); though of course to call if it starts cracking any further. And although you can’t tell cause of the dirt, there is a rounded smooth hoof there… no breakage. I was pleased with his work and thought Dandy might get by with a pasture trim.

And then this is what I got today:

FR: 2/22/12

This is after my fifteen minute trail ride. It should not look like this just after one day. And it is not THAT rough of a ride. Not in the mountains or anything; just a bit of gravel.

And here’s his front left:

FL: 2/22/12

I can tell those three marks on the side are from old nail holes but that little crack on the front makes me worried that this foot will fall apart too. No surprise, his back feet are excellent. The farrier barely had to do anything because my MN farrier, Steve, is awesome. I miss Steve.

So now I don’t know what to do. Dandy didn’t seem lame on his front once I got off the hard ground but I hate having his feet look like that. I’m sure that if I call the farrier, he’ll recommend shoes. Ugh. There’s a barefoot trimmer, Leslie Carrig, who works in the area and I’m debating calling her for a consultation. I just don’t know how badly I feel like getting into the debate of barefoot versus shoes again. I want to do what’s best for Dandy and I believe, strongly, that that is being barefoot. But I am just so sick of the whole issue that it probably wouldn’t take much to convince me to throw shoes on him just to save myself the hassle.

Here’s a picture of Guinness being a doofus while I went to catch Dandy. He hates being tied up but he’s so crazy when he’s not.