Tuesday, 15 September 2009

'Dancing' with Grace

Very important to encourage the back of Gracies feet to develop - at the moment they are still the immature feet of a baby. This will likely be due to inappropriate management when she was growing - which is probably true of the majority of horses in the UK and is an important but usually unrecognised element of much lameness and back soreness.

Lack of oomph in the back of the foot, plus less than ideal diet, exercise etc will encourage toe first landing and this is often a precursor to the development of navicular syndrome.

Gracie is 9 and low mileage. Not necessarily a good thing. Horses have evolved with the need to move a lot. The need is more than just physiological, its psychological too.

But of course while her feet are a work in progress we have to be especially considerate of how and what we do with her.

Where Gracie lives is a little low on facilities and we are not yet ready on any terms to hike up and down the road. So we are learning to 'dance'.

Just to encourage gentle and wide ranging movement. The alternative is to just lead her round in endless circles as the YO doesn't allow lunging or loose schooling in the sand arena.

It was kind of Gracie's idea. Having caught onto the whole 'targetting' thing with the clicker training she decided that she could target my right hand. So if I push my hand to her she steps back, if I put my hand on my thigh she steps towards me - if I wave it to the right she goes to her left, and if I wave it to my left she goes to her right.

I know nothing about dance, but if I can figure out how to put in a twirl or two I reckon we might manage a waltz :-)

But you will have to just imagine it because there is no way I am going to let anyone take any photos!

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