Yesterday was a beautiful day all around: weather, company, and activities. Today, though, it's overcast and cold. I keep walking the property to see if there are any signs of life: crocus, snowdrops, daffodils, Poet's Narcissus, but nada. I would expect at least the snowdrops to be up by now, wouldn't you?
I got to ride Cowboy yesterday and had a funny experience leaving the pasture. He had been rather far out, so I had a ways to walk him back to the barn. As we were doing this, I heard what sounded like a stampede behind me, turned around to see what was going on, and lo and behold, there was Beautiful running straight toward us with Cia behind her trying to herd her back. Amazingly enough, Cowboy wasn't bothered, even though she came into our "bubble". She was definitely trying to make a little trouble. The whole time I rode him, she was plastered to the gate watching. I assume she must be saying she wants to work, too.
Cowboy is always a sweetheart and does everything he's asked, but it's clear he's very much out of shape. That's the other side to letting them be during the winter--there is some reconditioning that needs to happen before going out for long rides on the trail. The other issue is, as always, his hoof. He camps it out in the pasture when he's standing, but doesn't seem to be lame on it when we're riding. I took my hammer and pounded around it last night to see if I'd get him to flinch or pull it away--nothing. He didn't act like he felt it at all.
He's due for shoes on Tuesday, and I'm hoping that will stabilize it enough to relieve whatever pain is in there. Also, he gets these mud balls stuck to his hooves that round out--almost like ice balls. Do you know what I mean? they fill up the space in the hoof, then protrude outward. It seems to me that when he puts a foot down on the ground with a compact, mud ball in it, it would force out the sides of the hoof and cause him more pain. I would think, with an arthritic coffin joint, you'd want that hoof landing as flat as possible. So, I'm really starting to wonder if a pad would help. I'm going to discuss it with my farrier. I would imagine this is only a problem during the wet, sticky, muddy months--or winter, sticky snow months.
Any ideas out there?