Transitioning to Barefoot- A Sappy Reflection on Change

For me and others, the New Year is a prime opportunity to reflect on the past and gain some insight on how to go forward. This year, much of the reflection has been centered around my horse's (and my own) move into the barefoot camp. While trimming my horse this week, a deep appreciation of how far she and I have come in the last two years came over me. As I picked up and looked at each foot, I saw a timeline of recent history, an organic written record, a tiny natural history, a crystal ball for seeing forgotten moments, and a road map. Whoa. Weird, right?

I chuckled to myself remembering my old (read: limiting, uninformed, and close minded) views on barefoot trimming and hoof boots. Never before forced to think outside the shoe, I was once overwhelmed by the myriad options available for booting. Little did I know EasyCare was to transform me into a wizardess of booting solutions for most any situation.

I relished the feelings of gratitude and satisfaction as I took my sweet time on those familiar feet, pausing every couple of rasp strokes to observe and assess. First observation is of a dexterity with the rasp that somehow snuck its way into my clumsy hands over the last year. Second observation is that these are completely different feet. Gone are the splatted out shelly walls, enormous flares, and flopped over bars. The hoof wall no longer swerves like a drunk on it's way to the ground from the coronet band. No more ragged chipped hoof wall, no stretched white line, and no bruises. No nail holes either. I admired my horse's "new" feet: tight white line, big beautiful frog, well developed digital cushion, straight hoof pastern axis, and toe:heel ratio balanced 50:50 around the center of rotation. Sure, there's plenty worse out there, but that was one ugly clodhopper!

My big mare stood quietly for me as I worked my way around all four legs, a far cry from the "wheelies" she did on Garrett's hoof jack the day of her first real barefoot trim. That was the day that I learned that the bars aren't just places to drink whiskey and tell lies. That same week I fumbled through measuring hooves for the first time and discovered that my horse would need four different sized boots. What?! But her feet are perfect!! Right?? They aren't?? Oh. What do we do?? We put her in the forgiving and secure Old Mac's to start, trimmed a little at a time, tweaked diet, and eventually got her fit perfectly into a set of off the rack Gloves.

I am far from an expert, but I have learned enough to have a few tricks up my sleeve. I've learned enough to see how much I don't know. I love the daily opportunity to pass my experience of transition along to our customers and being able to learn from each of their experiences.

So here I am, with open arms at an open door, inviting 2016 and all it's potential for growth and change to come right on in and stay a while. Of course I know that the more things change the more they stay the same. The horses still provide unlimited opportunity for learning and improvement as a rider and horsewoman. It's still those quiet moments spent with a good horse that keep me working through the frustrations and setbacks. The crunch of fresh snow under hooves, a sweet nicker "hello," the tickle of frosty whiskers on steaming nostrils, the sweet smell of good grass hay, a soft trusting eye, and the feeling of unbridled euphoria that accompanies that elusive yet occasional perfect ride.

Here's to embracing innovation, having (and recognizing) the knowledge, tools, and skills to keep our equine friends going strong in 2016 and for many years to come!

 

Rebecca Balboni

easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and unique situation.


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