Having not had a shoe on in two years this has allowed the foot to completely grow afresh. The time has given her feet the chance to adjust to being barefoot in the paddock and slowly start to harden up. My paddocks are grass so it is a relatively soft surface in which to adjust to.
At the start of the year we started off with short hacks out in walk across grass, tarmac, and forest tracks. This gave some variety to the surfaces in which she will hopefully be fully training on eventually and also this will help to harden up her feet further. She has progressed now to longer hacks with trot and canter being introduced gradually on all these surfaces. Some days Shandy can be a bit footy on the stonier ground but like the true athlete she is, she plows on forward not caring to slow down or stop regardless of the terrain.
It is interesting to note that since being barefoot, Chador’s extended trot is starting to appear more and more. Soon she will have a trot which will rival Barik’s.
Back during April and May I had a brief trip back to South Africa, where I was once again at the Perseverance Stud owned by Laura and Bob (Franscois) Seegers. During that time Shandy was not ridden, so once I was back we started again with slow training to build her up.
Shandy is once again loving life and being back in training (she was never one to be a field ornament), so much so that it feels like she has regressed to being the 6 year old version of herself with; chewing on the bit, head to one side like a racehorse, and bucks when in canter. Our past days of doing endurance together and starting a race with flying bucks at speed are ever fresh in my mind these days and leave me with a smile on my face at the possibility of our partnership once again performing together.
My aim for this year is to do some short Pleasure Rides and local fun rides with her so I have opted to get her some barefoot boots, which were measured and fitted by Angela Corner. Shandy has now been ridden in them a few times so we can cover some of the stonier ground in my area and I am pleased to say she is flying! No footiness at all and the extended trot is there, without care that she is in boots.
I shall continue to go barefoot and only wearing the boots when needed as I want her feet to harden as much as possible so eventually she will be able to go across stoney ground comfortably. Due to the climate being so wet in this country it is harder to go barefoot, as the feet don’t dry out and are by far softer than those of the Perseverance horses in South Africa.
Fingers crossed that she will continue to improve and will get to start some endurance once again!!