Lola has been a busy girl these last few weeks! The weather has been unseasonably warm, so I have been taking advantage and spending time working with Lola in-hand and under-saddle before the snow returns. She has transitioned well to wearing her Scoots and strides out comfortably in the front on gravel. Lola is still tender on her back hooves as she is healing her retracted soles. They have been slowly improving with good diet, trimming and exercise but she still has improvement to make. ~Retracted soles appear to be thin and sucked up into the hoof giving the appearance of a cupped hoof with thin sole. This can be quite painful to horses as the sole is not thick enough to properly cushion/protect the coffin bone making them vulnerable to discomfort if moving over hard or rough ground. ~ Lola is comfortable on soft ground but anything hard or uneven causes her to be very cautious. I’ve started to use Scoots on her back hooves for protection and am seeing a new confidence and swinging stride when walking on rough ground. As you can see in the pictures her hooves (this is the right front) have started to make some very positive changes, the heel is starting to come back, her hairline is leveling, and the hoof wall is growing in straighter and stronger.
After working out what makes her comfortable, she and I have extended our boundaries with rides down the road. For those wondering why I am riding her when we are still sorting out her hooves, let me tell you Lola loves having a job especially being ridden and we are keeping our rides to once or twice a week at a walk for the time being. She is a very mentally active horse and wants to be kept busy even to the point where she will come up with things to do by herself. For instance, she likes unhooking all the chains from the round pen panels, holding sticks in her mouth and rubbing them against the fence or ground or following (herding gently but with much commitment!) her herd mate around the 10-acre pasture because she wants to be moving. She has taken very quickly to working over obstacles in-hand, so we spend a good amount of time keeping her mind active in that way.
Under-saddle Lola has been very consistent so I felt she was ready to go to a local park to ride. I chose a park that had softer, gravel free trails so she could ride without her Scoots and get added stimulus to her hooves on terrain she doesn’t spend much time on. Other than some slight nerves in the trailer on our way there, she acted like she had been a trail horse her entire life, leading the way the entire ride and standing calmly by the trailer. She wasn’t bothered by the other riders at the park or the vehicles going down the road.
Lola is growing by leaps and bounds both physically and mentally and I’m excited to share these changes with you all! Stay tuned for the next chapter to find out what Lola will be up to next!
Kallie Zeinstra has been involved with horses since she was born, began competing with her horses at the age of 9, and training professionally at 13. She is an avid barefoot enthusiast and spends her time assisting horses in their transition from shod to barefoot. Having worked with numerous breeds of horses in the last 20 years in Dressage, Western, English, Field Hunting, Mounted Archery, Eventing and Trail, she now spends her time transitioning Thoroughbreds off the track into new disciplines, training horses for clients and competing her OTTB Birdie and Percheron Baxter in Dressage and Eventing as well as Equine Therapy work with her Miniature horse Oliver. Kallie currently rides and competes her horses in Scoots in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.