Friday 27 November 2020

Sure Feet

 The ponies got their Christmas present last night. 

One problem with being home so much with nothing to do in the middle of the night on my one night a week off is that I spend way too much time watching Youtube. Thus, I ended up ordering a couple sets of Sure Foot pads.

It's something that I've been interested in for a while. The idea is that the horses stand on the pads, which are available in different levels of firmness and flat or slanted, and that they receive some kind of benefit from it. It could be fascial release, or working their intrinsic balance muscles as a human would if standing on a bosu ball or balance board, or by having their feet stimulated because the pads press up into their feet, which allows them to feel the ground (or something like that). It's not fully understood how it works on the horse but supposedly some benefits can often been seen very quickly.

Shiny and new. That didn't last for long.

I ordered the firm flat pads and hard slants, which are considered to be a good place to start. There is a practitioner in my area who sells the pads but she only had one of the sets I was looking for available, so I ended up ordered them online through the TTouch website. There was something else on their site that I wanted so I wasn't too put out by having to order online. Full props to their service - I ordered the pads at about 9am, and by noon I had my shipping notice. 

On the day that the pads were due to arrive I started to think about my visit to the barn and how I would use them and realized that Phantom had had borium added to her shoes the day before. D'oh! I didn't want that borium to rip up my new (expensive) pads. After an inquiry on a Facebook page I made "blankets" out of craft foam and gorilla tape to protect the pads.  Seemed to work and was pretty cheap.

How did the horses respond?


I wasn't sure how Cisco would take to them. The first couple of times I placed his front foot on the pad he stepped off pretty quickly without really putting his full weight on it. On the third attempt, he stepped down, and stayed there for a minute or so. He seemed a bit surprised and really inspected the pad with his nose after stepping off. When I added the second front pad he immediately stepped down on it. 

Cisco is not a horse who blatantly shows releases so I didn't really see any big signs of it. There was lots of looking back at his sides, with kind of a "what is going on back there?" look. 

What did indicate that he liked the pads was that when we went for a walk after he stepped on the pads he very deliberately stopped when we got back to the pads, which he did more than once. I thought that was interesting.

I tried the slants on his back feet, but he was a little more unsure about them. He stepped onto the left hind once, but after that would only put his toe on it. We'll work on that, and play with what pad I try back there. 

I was pretty sure that Phantom would have no issue with standing on the pads, and sure enough, within a few short minutes I had her standing on the flat pads in front and the slants behind. 

Within a few seconds of standing on all four pads, Phantom let out four huge yawns, and another yawn a few seconds later. A huge release. I think I saw a couple of small sways in her body also. 

She didn't really want to stand on the pads for too long - maybe a minute and half before getting off. And I kind of got the impression that after that attempt with the big release she was done with them. The fact that she was eagerly anticipating dinner probably didn't help. 

I can't say that I noticed a difference in how the horses physically moved after standing on the pads, but we were just in the aisle of the barn so it was hard to tell. Cisco walked with his head a bit lower and Phantom was walking out nicely with her front legs but I can't say that it was because of the pads. However, they definitely didn't dislike them. 

I can't wait to try them while under saddle. It will be interesting to see if I feel a difference in how the horse feels. I know how much myofascial release (aka the foam roller) works for me, hopefully these do something similar for the ponies. 

Monday 9 November 2020

The Last Outside Ride of the Year

 I started working night shifts last week. This means that for the next 7 or so weeks the ponies will mostly be on vacation. When I work nights I just find it too hard to ride regularly enough to get anything out of the ride, so I don't even bother. The kids are happy to stand in front of a round bale and get fat and furry.

Last weekend though (the 4th), the weather was too nice not to take advantage of it. 

We went from stupid cold over the previous weekend to really nice mid-teens this weekend. If you were in the sun, it would have been short-sleeve weather. Perfect for riding outside weather. 

I generally find it hard to get out of bed when I wake up in the middle of the afternoon, but on this day I looked at the temperature outside and just about hopped out of bed and into breeches. The clocks had changed that night and I wasn't sure how long I would have daylight to be able to do anything outside.

Cisco was my willing victim for the day. I didn't have any goals for the ride, just to get on a go for a walk. He was perfect. 

It was just a short ride around the yard. The gravel road was recently redone and Cisco's not comfortable walking on the gravel. And I didn't want to try the empty farmer's field across from the barn because I was worried that the furrows would be somewhat frozen and risk my horse twisting a leg. 

But it didn't matter. 

I timed it perfectly and finished my ride as the sun was on its way down in the sky. Another half hour and it would have been mostly dark.

This past weekend, the weather changed yet again, and we got a 10" dump of snow. Winter is here!

Wednesday 4 November 2020


I sold my dressage saddle!

I should do the responsible adult thing and use the money to pay down bills. Or I could do the horse responsible thing and put the money aside and take a bunch of lessons next year.

But no. I'm going to do the horse frivolous thing. And I'm gonna get me some custom boots!

I've been looking for tall boots for years. But I can't find anything to fit me. Being a slightly fluffy vertically-challenged person, everything is too tall and too narrow. And the options that I might want to give a shot aren't available locally and I don't want to take a risk on something I'd likely have to purchase internationally and wouldn't easily have quick re-sale value. 

I'm also at the point in my life where I don't want boring black and am happy to pay extra to make it happen. Thus, custom it is!

There's a 98% chance that I'm going to go with Celeris. I've loved the Bia boots ever since I first saw them. 

So beautiful!

What I don't know is how many pairs I'm going to get!

Through to the end of the year, they have a BOGO 1/2 off deal.  After Christmas they've already announced that they will be having a 10% off sale, or pay regular for a pair of tall boots and get a free pair of short boots. So I don't know what I'm going to do!

I could be talked into these Polo boots instead...

If I go with the BOGO deal, it would make sense to winterize the second pair and get the foot with sheepskin lining. You know, since it's winter for 1/2 a year where I live.

But, to use this deal, I would have to buy a boot bag and a belt (you also have to buy spur straps but I was already planning on getting those). That would add about $150 to the cost and put the overall price a few hundred over what I got for my saddle. 

The chance of croc skin boots is extremely high. But not brown. 

In January, there are a couple of different deals that they've announced. Either 10% off a pair of tall boots, or get a short pair of boots free with the purchase of tall boots. 

If I do the free short boot option, then I would get the short boots with the sheepskin. But I would need some new half chaps as mine are starting to wear out (some holes in the elastic panel and I need a zipper replaced). If I went with matching half chaps, the price is pretty close to the same as the BOGO deal. 

I luvs this petrol blue. But I'll save it for my third pair.

Or, I just get one pair at 10% off. The smarter option. You know, as smart as buying expensive boots to tromp around in mud and poo gets. And then have some money left for lessons. I mean, not much, probably only a couple of lessons. 

I've made the really difficult decisions - the colour options. Well, provided I don't look at any more pictures. It wouldn't take much to get me to change to purple!

I'm going to book a Skype call with them to get some quotes and the final pricing and then I will have to make a decision. Feel free to enable me as to why I should definitely get two pairs!