Yesterday Cash had a trim that was much needed. It tends to vary how often I have the farrier out, but usually 6-8 weeks between trims. I’ve struggled to keep Cash’s hooves thrush free for a month or so, but was able to clear it up last week with Thrush Rid. I applied it a few times and within about a week it was gone! Now, Thrush Rid not only stains absolutely everything bright purple, it also can dry out hooves. I noticed more chipping and cracking after using it, and it didn’t help that he was due for a trim.
To combat the dryness I’ve been applying Hooflex almost daily to the underside and top of his hooves. I’ve definitely noticed a difference! Unfortunately, it obviously couldn’t fix the cracks and chips. I opted for front shoes and my farrier agreed they might be a good idea. I’m not usually one for getting shoes, but we have been riding in more rocky areas lately, so I’ll probably keep them on through the summer. I’ll leave him barefoot over the winter.
Usually his trims are quick, easy, and uneventful. That was not the case this time! His buddy sourness to the steer has worsened, causing embarrassingly horrible behavior yesterday! I was mortified. I now understand how parents feel when their children throw tantrums in the grocery store. My farrier asked if he could put his lead rope with a chain across his nose, and I was all for it. A few firm yanks settled him down quite a bit. However, it didn’t last long enough. After Cash repeatedly tried to jump away mid trim, I decided enough was enough. I stormed out of the barn, dragging Cash with me. I tried to lunge him in small circles, but his focus was everywhere but me. My farrier asked if he could try something and I was happy to let him take over. I trust his judgement and know he has a lot more experience than me.
Instead of using circles to reestablish focus and correct bad behavior, he uses backing up. Within 5 minutes he had Cash backing up at a hustle with his nose tucked! I’ve been trying to get that since I bought him last August! Obviously, Cash played dumb knowing that I wasn’t quite sure how to get that response. My farrier told me that at some point somebody taught Cash how to do that, because he didn’t learn that in a matter of minutes.
There were a few more times throughout the trim where I had to leave the barn and spend a few minutes backing Cash. Thank goodness my farrier was extremely patient and took the time to help me regain control of my horse’s focus. I learned that backing sideways or with his head raised does not count. It’s only acceptable when he backs straight, quickly, and with his nose tucked. By the end of the trim I was able to use less pressure and get the same result.
I felt so bad for the way Cash acted, especially considering he needed front shoes on top of the trim! But, I couldn’t have had better help yesterday. I needed a mental break from Cash so I took a quick nap before attempting to ride. I was honestly worried he would act up again. While tacking up he needed a few firm yanks with the chain, but overall did better than earlier.
Surprisingly, we had one of the best rides in a long time! Cash walked everywhere I asked and even explored some new areas without any fit throwing. It was so relieving to know he finally had a breakthrough. I was beginning to think we wouldn’t get past this bad behavior.
At the end of the ride he got a little worked up again because he wanted to be with the steer, but I used it as an opportunity to work on backing up again. I still can’t believe how easily he backs up now! I just needed some guidance on how to get the most out of my horse. I’m really looking forward to our next ride!
Until next time,