Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Champion :3

Hmm. I just realized yall might not know what the :3 smiley face looks like - it's this!

Anyway. This is a Champ Update. Sunday his former owner called me! I've been meaning to call him and let him know I've still got Champ and I still <3 him and he's still a good horse, but you know how that goes. Mr. Delbert called me first! He just wanted to see how we were doing and remind me that Champ's birthday is March 1. My silly gelding is going to be sixteen! I mailed him some Christmas parade pictures today. He'll like them, I think!

Yesterday, my knee still hurt from all that "move away from my inside leg" dressage Sunday, so I went on a nice long trail ride with Champ. He was fantastic - very alert but calm, happy to w/g/t/c when I asked. The footing was absolutely perfect so I let him canter a few times - he always wants to run up hills in the woods, because there are Lions in the Woods and because it's easier to get some momentum to get up the ravines. I usually insist he walk them, but like I said the ground was perfect so we went tear-assing through the forest. WHEEE!

We are not yet ready to do eventing, though. He asked to gallop down a flat section of trail that we've been on a million times, so I let him. We got to the turn in the trail and he didn't want to slow down and I didn't think we'd die, so I let him rip through it, but he kind of forgot where the ruts were and had to do a crazy damn sideways full-speed leap to the left while I ducked under the branches and screeeeeamed like a girl. We cantered-then-galloped a couple other times - we are not good with rating speed.

I will say this - my seat is way better, and that horse is phenomenally surefooted.

And speaking of feet, here's a bunch of pictures of Champ's feet. I think his frogs look better? And I think the club foot / long toe thing is improving. I've been whittling away at them whenever I think about it, maybe once a week. And I've been picking them out every time I remember, which is maybe 4x a week - it really does help, Michelle. Thank you!

As always, I welcome comments, critiques, and suggestions. And if you click on the pictures, they'll open in Flickr and you can see the bigger versions.

From the side, it looks like the left was clubby/upright and the right was underrun/long toes. He's not standing square here, but at least you can see the general shape of them (and how unflared they are!) Looks like I've got the left front heel as short as it can be right now.

Front side view

Left front solar and left front, uh, heel view. His front heels are pretty even, medially/laterally. Also note my chewed-off boot toe - thank you Cersei! (She was a quite good puppy, and the toe of my boot is one of the few casualties of her teething phase.)
Left front solar Left front heel

Here's right front solar and right front heel. The right side pictures are much worse, because the camera button can only be pressed by one's right finger and the right hand is busy holding up the horse's right leg, etc. Anyway, the "heel" shot isn't straight, obviously.
Right front solar Right front heel

My horse is so laidback that I did not hesitate to set the camera on the ground between his feet for these shots. Here's the rear left - look how it's more flared on the outside than the inside. I think (with the usual "I am not an expert" disclaimer) that it's flared outside because of his conformation - he is pretty cowhocked, so he stands more on the insides of his rear feet than the outside. Therefore the outside grows and flares, because the force of his body is pressing more toward the inside. Make sense?

Probably not. Anyway! Left rear floor shots:
Left rear front view rear hooves

I've gotten his inside rear heels down as far as they'll go right now.
Left rear, holding the hock

Solar looks wonky and unbalanced, though. Look at how the medial (inside) part of the sole is so much narrower than the lateral (outside) part! Even if you assume 1/8" of the lateral is flared sole, it's still all wonky.
Left rear solar

Due to the aforementioned difficulties of holding up a right leg and taking a picture, I didn't shoot the right rear. It's about the same as the left, though - wider laterally than medially, with heels that want to grow high medially. I'm going to keep dealing with his rear feet the same way - keep on top of the medial heels, stay out of live sole, make sure he's still comfortable and sound with what I'm doing.

Here's his blue cloud.
His cloudy blue eye

I dunno. It's been like that since before I got him, and it doesn't seem to bother him. It's pretty, but it's probably a scar from some mishap in his younger days.

I sure do love that fugly bay horse.


  1. Go Champ! And yet the stereotype is that TWHs don't know what the hell their feet are up to. Peanut lived up to that stereotype like it was his job, but it's nice to hear that Champ is cool with bucking trends.

    The big thing that's hitting me about the feet pics is on the heel view of the left front. Are his walls inside the vertical? It looks like his foot is narrower at the bottom than the hairline.

    Some distant corner of my mind is trying to say that this was an existing problem that you've been dealing with, but I don't know if that corner is simply on drugs and yelling out anything in order to get some attention.

  2. Good job! Keep at those feet. I've started, just today, a new product called simply Hoof Disinfectant, from Valley Vet. We'll see how it goes. While their feet don't look horrible, I don't like the sensitivity in the frot cleft.

    On the hinds, try rolling that flared side, and see if it won't straighten out. Sometimes the conformation can be due to the hoof form, too. A flare is a longer wall. Of course, if he keeps wanting his feet back that way, then I wouldn't argue with him, either.

  3. w/g/t/c <--- does G stand for Gait?

    There are a lot of interesting ways that hind feet wear themselves. They don't even wear all that evenly in feral feet either, although obviously flares aren't really the same issue as they are in unevenly worn domestic feet. I'm going to see if I can find more actual online information about it...

  4. Sara - well, baby TWHs with shoes on are the stumbliest creatures you've ever seen. And I still remember that Champ was a total stumblebum for that first couple of months when I kept his shoes on.

    I think I see what you're talking about on the LF, but I'm not too worried about it? That's the clubbier foot, and it already looks better than last month.

    Michelle - let me know how the disinfectant works out. Yeah, the cowhocked / high inner heels thing is such a chicken-and-egg situation - it's hard to tell which came first or which is causing the other. I'm going to keep the back heels at live sole, keep the outsides rolled, and watch really carefully to make sure he doesn't seem sore from the changes.

    Andrea - yeah, I meant g for gait. He's a very trotty TWH, but he does have a flashy little slow gait (flatwalk).

    I've never found much online about rear feet. They're usually sound, so they don't get the attention that front feet get. Post if you find something cool!


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