Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to Lose Two Shoes, and Other Adventures

Wednesday October 5, 2011
North Shore Trail

Rhio still has all four shoes here. 
We had just enough time for a fast ride on our favorite local snowmobile trail, which has FINALLY been mowed; we blame the MN state government shutdown for the lack of trail  maintenance this summer, though I don't know if that is the real culprit.  Last summer the trail was mowed the entire season, but this year it was only just mowed sometime in September.  This is a big bummer for us, because it is impassable when not mowed due to the belly-deep grass.

We tried a new arrangement, loading Paco into the trailer first (the first stall has more length and he is longer than Rhio so is a bit squeezed in the back stall) and I was skeptical that Rhio would load, given his past performances being asked to load into small spaces.  Well, was I surprised and proved so, so wrong!  Rhio walked right into that trailer without even a pause!  What a good boy!  And it wasn't even a one-time wonder, as he did the same thing loading to come home, and again on the next weekend when we went overnight camping (see upcoming post).
Just starting out - still shod all the way around.

On the way back - you can see only the top of Paco's rump is dry, everything else is drenched in sweat.

Rhio is definitely missing the right front shoe, and maybe the left front as well by this point.  
It's only about 1 1/2 miles down the road to the spot we park the trailer to ride this trail, and in no time we were unloading, tacking up, and getting Kelso equipped with his bell.  Rhio had been missing a nail on his right front shoe since before our trip to Michigan (I discovered it too late to call my farrier, so crossed my fingers and had no trouble), but this was the first time I could tell that the shoe was a little loose.  Hoping for the best yet again (although I had tossed in a boot just in case), we set off around the gate meant to keep ATVs off the trail (which it doesn't do at all) and headed up the hill.  I felt a little bobble about 20 yards up the hill, kept going, and at the top finally decided to look - sure enough, that right front shoe was no longer with us.  The way my farrier applies shoes allows them to come off cleanly, without tearing any hunks of hoof off, and Rhio was unconcerned about his single bare foot.  We backtracked to the bottom of the hill (while texting the farrier for an appointment ASAP!) but weren't able to locate the shoe.  Oh, well - off we went on the remainder of the ride.  The horses were on fire, and we had a fast and joyous ride up and down hill and vale, enjoying the brilliant fall colors whizzing past us as we galloped on into evening.  We crossed the river bridge, went a little farther to find some puddles for drinking, then turned for home.  Poor Kelso was keeping up but it took all he had and his tongue was practically hanging on the ground, especially in the heat.  I know it's unbelievable, but it was about 70 degrees even at 6 pm!
Both Kelso & Paco look a little tired! 
We finished up close to 10 miles in about an hour and 20 minutes (nice pace!), and lo and behold! - Rhio was now missing BOTH front shoes!  I didn't feel him lose the left one, and had no idea where it might be, so we didn't even consider looking for it.  Both hooves were in perfect shape and he was 100% sound (it's a grass trail with few rocks), and I already had the farrier coming for one shoe, so no matter to do 2 (actually, we'll probably do all 4 since he's about due for a reset anyway, and Point Chaser is only 9 days away now).
Right front - notice anything?  Not only is the shoe gone, but if you look at the shiny bit on the right side of the photo between the sole and the hoof edge - yep, that's a nail minus the head stuck in his foot. Ran however many miles on that without a problem (kinda lucky).

And a still-shod hind hoof :) 
The horses were dripping wet after their exertion in the unseasonable temperatures, and we covered them with coolers against the oncoming chill (this is how you can tell it's October and not July - it may be 70 while the sun is still up, but the temperature drops fast once the sun goes down) for the ride home in the open trailer.  They got a snack of beet pulp at home, and we left them in stalls with their coolers on to dry a bit before being turned out.  Here is where I made a big error in judgement - I just wasn't thinking.  Rhio's cooler was already soaked through, but he was toasty warm and comfortable beneath it.  I knew better, but instead of switching the wet one out for a dry cooler, in order to continue wicking the sweat away, I just left the wet one on him.  Poor Gesa went out several hours later to find both horses still soaking wet.  They were warm, but still wet.  One of those little mistakes that you kick yourself for, and hopefully learn from, but didn't turn out to be a problem for the ponies, thank goodness.  She walked them a little and threw them out, and all was well.

Next stop on our fall riding tour - Stony Brook Horse Camp for an overnight and a long conditioning ride.  Stay tuned!

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