Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh, no! Sore Feet:

Me and my buddy BEFORE his sore feet!

The farrier came late yesterday afternoon to the ranch to trim horses. He removed Kanani's shoes and trimmed his feet. He came while I was in town having my taxes done. I had thought he would just check out Kanani's feet then return at a time when I could be there. But, he seems to be a very nice man, and he went ahead and did the work to save me the expense of another return trip.

This morning I took Kanani to the arena to play more games. He walked a little hesitantly on the way out there, but I decided to just turn him loose and see how he did. When he didn't seem to want to move around much or follow me, it seemed like a better idea to take him back to his paddock and wait a day or two for him to adjust to being without shoes. Sometimes when a horse has been shod and you remove the shoes, he may need a day or two to get used to going barefoot again.

Halfway back to the paddock, Kanani stopped and refused to go another step.

I coaxed. I cajoled. I offered him carrots.

The poor guy just stood there--raising first one foot, then another, clearly not wanting to put ANY of his feet down on the hard ground. The arena is all sand. But the walk back to the paddock is hard ground and has a few little rocks here and there and a bit of gravel.

I pushed and I pulled. I clucked and I begged. I raised my voice in a no-nonsense tone and slapped his rump--not hard but still a slap--with the end of the lead rope.

We went nowhere.

It was about 11:00 am and the sun was getting hotter and hotter.

In desperation--and thirst--after twenty minutes, I tossed the lead rope over his neck and left him standing there out in the open while I went to get a bucket of hay pellets, apples and carrots--AND my dressage whip.

He was stilling standing there in the same spot when I returned. Surely, he'll move now, I thought, tap-tapping him politely but insistently on the rump with the whip while I sought to urge him forward.

No, he wouldn't move. He was interested in the bucket but not enough to walk three steps up to it.

I tapped him a little harder then and spoke VERY sternly to him--and all he did was look at me with big hurt eyes.

Well, I've never actually whipped or beat a horse and I am not about to start now. So I gave up on the whip and decided to wait him out. (There's no pushing or shoving a 1500 hundred pound horse who doesn't want to move, in any case!)

Forty-five minutes later, we were still both standing there while he thought the whole thing over. By then, it was now past noon and I thought I might pass out under the glare of the hot sun.

Once again, I left him standing there and went to get my water bottle and my cell phone. I called the ranch owner who I hoped might be down at his house nearby. He was home and said he'd be up shortly and maybe together we could get him moving.

I trudged back to Kanani. I sighed. He sighed. And took one tiny step in the direction of the bucket.

Eureka! I gave him a piece of carrot. And moved the bucket another two steps away.

And so it went. One step at a time, toward the bucket and the paddock beyond.

Just as the owner came down the drive to help, Kanani finally stepped into his paddock and got the WHOLE bucket of goodies.

Inside his paddock, there are nice, soft rubber mats in the shady run-in shed. I don't think Kanani will venture off those mats until his feet feel a little better and ready for hard ground.

Tonight, I called the farrier and told him he better come back and put Kanani's shoes on. Maybe he's not a barefoot kind of horse.

"Call me, Monday," the farrier said. "If he isn't used to it by then, I'll come put them back on him."

Tonight, I cruised the internet to see how much Easy Boots cost and how long it will take for them to be shipped here. Easy Boots are just what they sound like--boots a horse can wear when he has tender or sore feet.

Tomorrow, I will give my poor guy a nice long massage in hopes it will take his mind off his feet and he will forgive me for all the pain of today--and for tapping on him with a whip and raising my voice when he really wasn't being disobedient or mean--he was just hurting!


  1. Awwww poor guy..again you know just what a horse is feeling even though they can't speak..again YOU are amazing

  2. That is just TERRIBLE! Maybe you should leave a note on Kanani's door that says: Don't touch my horse if I'm not here! (Except for bringing food, that is.)

  3. poor little guy! so, will he be getting shoes again or just barefoot from now on?