Thursday, January 16, 2014

Trim day

Well, after Jazz's less than agreeable attitude towards doing feet Tuesday I was a little nervous for how she would do for the trimmer this week. It went surprisingly okay. Far from perfect, but not bad. Certainly not the hour and a half of pure hell and stress that was her final trim with a previous trimmer, but I'll get to that. 

I started Jazz with a new barefoot trimmer last July, and I'm really happy with how her feet have improved.  They are almost entirely new growth now, and they are just night and day compared to what they used to be.  She has actual heel bulbs now! She can walk on gravel without being footsore!

Of course in classic new blogger fashion, I have no reference photos because I had no blog to post them to at the time, but trust me, they look way better.  

The trimmer herself is definitely a character.  She is very excellent at what she does, and is definitely a knowledgeable horsewoman, but I am very happy I discovered her when I did and not earlier. That isn't to say that I wasn't interested in the best possible care for Jazz and her feet, but I needed to learn a thing or two before I was ready to meet her.  This will become clear in a moment.

Flashback to almost two years ago: Jazz was 3 and still at the horse rescue.  There was a lady who owned two of the rescue horses that did the trimming there.  She was new to it, and was practicing trimming on the horses at the rescue.  I wanted to get Jazz's feet done one more time before I moved her, and the trimmer was there, so I decided to have her trimmed.  This was the first time I would actually be holding Jazz for her to get her feet done.  In the past, the owner of the rescue had always brought her in whenever the trimmer had had time for her. So it was me, who was wholly inexperienced, holding my young horse, who was not having the best of days.  Needless to say it didn't go well.  She reared, fussed, squirmed, and generally acted like the young horse she was.  And I, not knowing what to do, attempted to discipline her properly (read: in a highly counterproductive manor).  It went poorly all around. Jazz never calmed or settled, I got frustrated and had to step out several times, and advice was being thrown at me from all around.  It ended in tears and a very poor trim for Jazz.  Apparently the trimmer's mentor had just recently told her that she had been leaving the horses' toes too long, so unfortunately she overcompensated and took off way too much toe.  Jazz was sore for over two weeks, and I was traumatized, so I can only imagine what she went through.  Poor horse.  That was a definite low point of our time together.

Anyways the point of the story is this: remember how I mentioned the advice coming from every which way? Well, the trimmer at one point started palpating her back around her withers and declared that she was sore and probably it was because her saddle doesn't fit.  Well, that freaked me out a whole lot, and I tried to contact a chiropractor and just generally went a little nuts thinking I was wrecking my horse.  That has traditionally been my biggest problem working with Jazz; whenever she used to act up and I would get emotional about it, I wouldn't think, "what is wrong with this horse she's nuts", I would think "I'm wrecking her this is all my fault she will be ruined for life because of me and she will be labeled a problem horse why did I ever think it was acceptable for me to be in charge of a young horse".  So needless to say someone telling me that the saddle I had been putting on my horse and riding in might be physically harming her threw me into a bit of a tailspin at the time.

So flash forward to the trim this week.  I commented on how Jazz always stands wonky when you pick up a front foot.  She cocks a back foot, and I can't usually get her to stand square and balanced.  The current trimmer replied that it was probably because she lacked strength in her loins.  She palpated her loins, and there definitely seemed to be something to it, but the next thing she said was that it was probably an issue of saddle fit.  Don't get me wrong here, I am open to listening to the input of other knowledgeable horsepeople, and I have every intention of talking to my contacts who are more knowledgeable than me about it, but my reaction was significantly different than the last time I was told my horse is sore and it was probably caused by the saddle.  I highly, highly doubt that it is a saddle fit issue.  To be fair, I haven't checked the fit for a few months, but I have checked it multiple times over the two or so years I've been using it, and have been told multiple times by my riding instructor and others who have checked it that it, "fits her like a dream".  So considering that in addition to the fact that I haven't tacked her up and ridden her in over a month at this point for reasons I won't be getting into (read: if the saddle was hurting her, which I do doubt strongly, it is a significant amount of time for it to still be bothering her).

Which leads me to a new feature: Things I am getting better at with horses:

Thing #1
Considering all the facts before freaking out completely when people tell me something is wrong with my horse

I did remember to take a picture just as we were about to leave.  I just got positively swarmed out in the pasture.  Someone is definitely giving out treats.

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