Back in the Hunt Field

Back in the hunt field
Despite the inauspicious start to the morning, the rain stopped before the hounds were cast.

Although we arrived at the hunt muddy, the trailer ride did it’s magic and Freedom was at least dry when we got to the hunt. I managed to get *most* of the dirt off of him so that we looked reasonable respectable.

Freedom was very excited to be back hunting. In fact, I made a strategic error by not wearing gloves because he was very strong and bouncy. He certainly has not forgotten that hunting means “follow the hounds” with enthusiasm.

The wet weather did leave the footing pretty slick and Freedom had one good skid during the first gallop. He felt okay right after but later in the hunt I began to wonder if maybe he’d tweaked something because he stopped wanting to canter. He was fine at the trot, so maybe he just decided it was safer. He has his fancy glue-on shoes in front but is barefoot behind, and that’s where he slipped.

I gave him some bute when we got home. It rained again today, so I gave him the day off and will check tomorrow to see how he’s feeling.

Freedom's ears
You can see that Freedom has a laser focus on those hounds!
The first cast
One of the benefits of the wet conditions was that the scent stays well. We saw some nice work from the hounds.
Fall foliage
The sun almost came out at the end.
After the hunt
Freedom was a lot cleaner after the hunt than before!

Don’t Feed the Horses Babies

Don't feed babies to horses
The Onion nailed it on this one! People just don’t understand the risks they take when they let their children feed other people’s horses.

I’ve had to put up a second fence line and signs to keep people away from Zelda and Curly and the owner of my barn has found families standing inside her run-in shed, having climbed over a stone wall and through a wooden fence. Another friend found a toddler standing in her field with their arms around the neck of her pony . . . only to have the pony latch onto the kid’s ear!


Freedom’s High Tech Shoes

Freedom's Glue On Shoes
Freedom’s glue on shoes — one is set, the other is “cooking”. Sigafoos shoes attach using an adhesive bonded fabric cuff system instead of nails.  I decided to try glue-ons because he’s had so much trouble this year with cracking and breaking. Normally he comes out of the winter with really nice hooves. Not this year. Then the hard ground made them worse.
The shoes incorporate a 1/4″ thick rim pad that reduces concussive shock on the hoof and lower leg. I have sneakers like that🙂.
Ready for glue
This summer has been really hard on Freedom’s hooves. The drought conditions left the ground like concrete. Add a couple of months of stamping at flies and Freedom just didn’t have enough hoof wall to hold nails. They were already shaped here, so the don’t look as bad as they did when my farrier arrived!
The hoof is covered with epoxy.
The hoof is covered with epoxy and then the shoe is applied. The adhesive has twice the holding power of nails and, once it’s cured, it’s not impacted by wet, dry, hot or cold environments. It’s important to pick a day when it’s dry and preferably not humid. in theory, you should keep your horse in a stall overnight. Freedom doesn’t have a stall so we waited for the perfect day.
Freedom had to hold his hoof up during the initial "set" of the shoe.
Freedom had to hold his hoof up during the initial “set” of the shoe.
Pour in pads
Pour in pads were added to help set the shoe and provide additional support.

Freedom has had the shoes on now for about a month and so far, so good. He’s moving very well in them and they’re staying on well. One of them started to fray a bit so my farrier came back and added extra adhesive and that did the trick.

The downside? They are wicked expensive. Two front shoes plus a trim behind set me back $325. The good news? These shoes should last at least 8 weeks, maybe 10 and after that he should be able to go back into regular shoes.

Have you ever tried glue on shoes? What did you think?

The Zelda Cam

Trailer Cam
Using the EyeBall trailer hitch cam I can keep an eye on Zelda. It’s not the clearest image but it tells me the most important thing — that she’s still standing.

I have an irrational fear of trailering long distances. Well, maybe it’s not irrational — in the 20-odd years I’ve had my own trailer, twice I’ve had horses fall. Luckily, they were both fine, but the anxiety around trailering had plagued me and has only gotten worse. I feel so responsible when they are in the trailer! Ironically, I hate trailering at highway speeds the most, even though both times the horses fell I was on back roads going about 20 mph. I just feel intensely vulnerable driving on the highway with big trucks and speeding cars. It’s not that I worry about how I drive, it’s everyone else! If I could tap my heels together three times and wish us there, life would be grand.

My husband did an awesome job of checking my trailer and repairing anything that needed fixing

So, when I decided to bring Zelda to Vermont this summer, I had to deal with driving her there. Here’s the good news: the trip prompted an overdue trailer maintenance session where my husband checked it over from stern to stem. He checked the brakes and the bearings, replaced my flaky brake control, and pulled out the mats and checked the floor. I knew it was in tip top shape. But my stomach was still turning somersaults just thinking about the drive — about 2 hours and 45 minutes with a stretch on Route 91.

The Eyeball attaches via a magnet and sends an image via Bluetooth to the unit plugged into my cigarette lighter.

Then my husband came up with a great idea. We could use an Eyeball Trailer Hitch Cam inside the trailer to keep an eye on Zelda. This is a very simple device that was designed to help people hitch their trailer. It seems overkill for hitching, but it’s a wonderful, easy way to add a trailer cam to your set up with plug and play components. It’s not the clearest image, but it lets you check to make sure your horse isn’t having a problem standing up.

I cannot tell you how much more comfortable I felt being able to watch her during the trip. Even though we drove up in one of the worst rainstorms I’ve ever driven in (after a summer of practically no rain), we got there safely. I will say that when the Flash Flood Warning alarm went off on my iPhone my daughter and I looked at each other and thought about just pulling over to the side of the road for two weeks, but we kept on driving, albeit rather slowly.

We made it to Vermont (and back) in good form. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (I guess) and the local trailering I’ve done since I got back has been a snap. I don’t think I’ll ever really like highway trailering, but adding the Eyeball has made me a lot less anxious.