Thursday, May 31, 2012

Update on the kids

Well, I really hurt my wrist a few days ago so my typing ability is limited.  I was an idiot and used a rock to pound in the 98 posts in the pasture...didn't occur to me until afterwords what a bad idea that was.  But I'm on the mend.

The girls are doing awesome.  Tiny horse has learned how to pick up her feet and is just about ready for her farrier appointment on Sunday.  I rode Chev today for the first "real" time since getting her shoes pulled the 6th of this month, and she felt amazing.  Springy.  Lighter somehow.  I'm very anxious to see how her feet will look after this next trim and plan on asking for pointers so I can help maintain their hooves better.

Anyway, that's all the wrist can handle for now!

Monday, May 28, 2012

No dividing fence

No fence!

Chev was so good with her.

This is what I mean about the height difference.

I totally thought tiny horse was only like 12 hands.

I was able to get my trusty height/weight tape out and was absolutely shocked to learn...that she is actually 13.3 hands (the same height as Smart Little Lena).

My Ben honey was only 14.2 with shoes on.

I guess I've just been in the land of the giant horse for too long.  So even if she only grows another inch or two, I'll be happy.

She let me pick her feet up without incident and even do a little filing on them today.  In a few days she'll be ready for that much-needed farrier appointment.

Here's a picture of her daddy at 3 (yeah I know, photoshop, yada yada yada--don't look at the colors or the tail, look at the natural/Monte Foreman stop!):

I think she should be able to stop just as well.

It is really interesting to watch her in the paddock.  She doesn't go in a small circle to turn around, she pivots on her inside hind foot.  She slide stops.  She turns with her head on the ground.  She was totally born for this stuff.

In other news:  She decided she LOVES carrots now.

On a possibly related note:  She is always right by my side in the paddock.

Things are going well so far.

I think Chev will be much happier when she's in the pasture too, so I'm trying to give her a couple hours grazing time to get her used to it before I take the plunge and turn her out...then I get to see how well my "come to me"/catch training really is.


Here's the horse that was almost untouchable 3 days ago.

Oh, hello.  Isn't my tiny hourglass snip adorable?

She now readily comes up to me to check in, wants to stay by me, doesn't crowd but is very friendly.

This photo pretty much sums it up: cautious but interested.

She is wearing my dear Ben's beautiful old leather halter.  I kept it in memory of him, but I didn't know when I'd ever have a horse again with a delicate little head for it to fit on.  It was actually pretty emotional taking it out and remembering him and when I first bought him the halter--I saved to get it, I wanted the best I could buy, something that looked as lovely as he did.  He had the perfect teacup muzzle and such a beautiful face.

It's funny how one piece of equipment can have some many memories.  So many times I put it on him to take him out for grazing, spending time with him, how many hundreds of times he wore it over the years when we were together.

Ben in June 2007, wearing his new halter at age 23

It's painful to remember.  In a strange way, passing the halter down to tiny horse helps me to let move on a little bit, and to let part of him be in the world again, instead of just in my memories. 

Ironically, tiny horse's head is so tiny that the halter looks huge on her.  But I think she'll grow into it fine.

I also got her to eat a carrot today.  Finally gave it a try and discovered they are pretty good.  She still prefers hay though.

Don't worry Chev, the blog hasn't forgotten about you.

 I have a snip tooooo

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Barefoot Chev & tiny horse update

I have been working with tiny horse once or twice a day for the last few days.

When we started, she really didn't want anything to do with me.  She didn't understand having a relationship with a person, she felt lonely without her other baby pasture mates, and was just really confused by the whole change.

Since being able to catch her is a priority considering I'd like to get her out on pasture as soon as possible with Chev, I focused on that.  I also really wanted to work on her feet, so picking up her hooves was also high on the list.

I knew that she was "halter broke", which in this case, meant she could be haltered and led reasonably well.  Most of this is due to her personality rather than a lot of training.  That's how I wanted it!

She could not trot next to her handler, was not easy to catch, and could not pick up her feet.  She just didn't get it.  That's okay.  We'll start at the beginning.

I started by making uncomfortable for her to be away from me.  This encouraged her to come up closer.

She's in a sandy pen which makes groundwork pretty easy to do.  It's big enough that she can "get away" without getting far.  I began by chasing her away every time she decided to leave.

I'd run her around a couple of small laps, ask for a few turns (and correct her if she tried to change direction on her own), and when I had her attention (an ear on me, licking/chewing, starting to circle closer--or when I got the feeling she was interested) I'd immediately "take the pressure off" by backing away. 

Then I'd stand quietly and see what she did.

If she turned towards me and kept her attention on me, then we just stood there.  All the pressure is off.  It's a comfortable place to be.  Everything is good.

If she went to move off, I immediately chased her away and repeated the above steps.

I wanted her to understand that she could leave any time, but there would be consequences.

She was free to go, but if she was leaving, I wanted to be the one moving her feet and deciding when she could stop.

The first couple days of this we didn't make a ton of progress.  After the first day I could walk up to her and pet her, but that was about it.  If she started to move away, I'd chase her off until she had a chance to think about it some more.

It didn't take long for her to understand that if she stayed still, she didn't have to move.

She was raised in a large paddock with 2-3 other young horses.  Unfortunately there wasn't an older boss mare, so she was mostly unaccustomed to social interaction that wasn't playing. 

I am the boss mare.  She's catching on.  Sortof.

When I got to the barn yesterday, I was feeling a little down about it.

Sure, she was getting it--but I felt like she was just tolerating me.

Tolerating me coming up, tolerating me touching her, and tolerating standing there.  But without any real respect for me.

I thought it over and decided I wasn't pushing quite hard enough.

It's a fine line:  she is reactive, sensitive, and true to her cowhorse breeding.  Too much would be too much, and would set us back.  She's also very fit.  But this kind of ground work is never about tiring out the horse.  It's about asking them to think, giving them options and encouraging the right response.

I believe that horses respond to the release of pressure, not to pressure itself.  There needed to be a bigger difference between what I was doing when she made the wrong decision, and what I was doing when she make the right one.

I decided that consequences would have to be more immediate and clear--and more immediately over.

If she went to move off, I would really go after her, make her jump into action, swing a rope at her--and then that was it.  Just until she moved NOW to the other side of the pen, or however far she felt like going.  Then I would stop, and wait.

And darned if that didn't change her attitude really quickly.

I had resolved not to put a halter on her until I saw this change.  After the breakthrough, I haltered her a few times yesterday, started the task of getting a good response for picking up her feet, and called it a day while I was far ahead.

Today she is dynamite.

I only had to chase her off once before she came right back, and wanted to stick around.

She let me halter her easily, so she got a big reward.  I led her out to the grass.  I don't think she's seen much grass in her life, and she was just ecstatic about it. 

Led her back to her pen, took halter off, messed with Chev for a while, Chev got lots of carrots while tiny horse touched her nose to me and watched because she doesn't get what a carrot is, came back, haltering her was easy, and led her out for some more grass.  Her whole attitude changed.  She became friendly, happy, and willing.

While she was eating I practiced more hoof pick-ups, making sure to ask her at a time she could "succeed", when the other three legs could support her.

Brought her back in the pen, gave her (and Chev) a little hay, and worked on picking up her feet without any sort of restraints--no halter, free to leave at any time.

Not only could I get her front feet in my hands without a struggle, I could even pick them out!  For the first time!  Possibly ever!

She needs some farrier work done so the sooner I can get her ready for that, the better.

The way she's progressing now she should be good to go in about a week.

(I do want to mention that she is a real trooper about being poked here and there, and whether it was handling early on or just her personality, she can be touched anywhere without flinching, raising a leg, pinning an ear, or doing anything naughty.  She is just really polite about everything.  Thank goodness.)

In other hoof news, I lunged Chev today and she looks FANTASTIC.

She is floaty-trotting, cantering well, and no longer choppy.  Her stride has lengthened out.  There's still room for improvement, and I'm sure she'll look even better after this next trim.  She shed a big piece of impacted bar off her left front yesterday.  Her heels and frogs are descended and cushy, her feet are round again, and despite missing quite a bit of side wall from chips and dings here and there (mostly because we had to leave her toe a little long--I think that'll all clean up really well next trim), she is moving great.  Her hoof quality is also really good.  I'll try to take a video one of these days.  I took one a week after her trim so we'll have something to compare it to.

Hooray for bare feet!  I think she looked even more sound today than she's looked in shoes for a long time now.

The girls enjoy lunch yesterday

P.S. I got to talk with my Ma today,  and I really do have the best parents ever.  Love you, Mom & Dad.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hi Grandma & Grandpa! I have news.

It has been a joke in my family for many years that I would never have children.  I remember I decided this shortly after the birth of my little brother, which happened when I was 3.  Now that we're grown ups, I love him dearly.  Apparently I didn't feel that way when he first arrived.  My parents haven't given up all hope on me--yet.

So Mom and Dad, this post is for you.

I want to preface this with an acknowledgement of just how much trouble I am going to be in when you read this.  I want to also mention that I have been literally dreading phoning you for days and having this conversation.

It's not an attempt to suck up (it's probably a little late for that), but I truly, truly have the best parents in the world.  They are so kind, loving, and supportive, and though they don't really understand my equine or artistic endeavors they understand that both are really important to me.  It's not the life they would have chosen--and probably not the life they would have chosen for me--but they understand that it is my life, and they love me anyway.

Or...they did before this post, anyway.  Mom and Dad--call me as soon as you're done reading this, okay?  I'll be right by the phone.

Are you sitting down?  Presumably you are, since you're reading this on a computer...

Then let me introduce you to your second equine grandchild...

She doesn't have a name yet.  Will you help me name her?

This is the filly I fell head over heels for 3 months ago down in La Salle, CO.  Her registered name is Hollywoods Lil Sugar.  I went down to see her--twice--absolutely tried to talk myself out of it, tried to out-do her by looking at approximately 100,000 horse ads online...and nothing even came close.

Horses like this don't just pop up everywhere.  She is exactly what I've been looking for over the last year.  Except maybe the color...but I'll admit, the palomino look is growing on me.

It's been 2 years since I lost my old guy to cancer...and I am finally ready to have two horses again.

For a while there I even had 3, remember, Mom and Dad?  

Who am I kidding.  There is no way to really justify this to a non-horse person (read: a SANE person or persons, i.e. your parents, who already think you're nuts for moving one horse across the country).

Now I have 2 to move back home.  But I will do it, even if I have to stay here through another winter to raise the funds to make it happen.

But there are certain advantages to having 2 equines...

The major one being they can be kept in a pasture together with minimal worry that fences will be crashed through as lone horse tries desperately to get in with the herd down the road.

They have each other for companionship.

I've had 1 horse for 3 years, 2 horses for 4 years (3 for close to a year while I rehabbed a little black mare--more on her another time).  I know how much work, time and money they are already.

And if she wasn't just what I was looking for, I would have passed.  Believe me.  The 100,000 horse ads is probably not that much of an exaggeration.  I am very picky.

See, the deal is:  this is the first time I've had enough experience with ownership to know exactly what I'm looking for in a horse.

Ben was my first.  And bless his heart, he was the best first horse I could have asked for.  He was just what I needed and I still miss him like crazy.

Keelan bought Chevelle at auction as a 2 1/2 year old.  She had been handled, saddled, and could be sat on--she taught me a lot, especially that I could bring a horse up from not much training (especially since she was thrown out to pasture for 6 months before I did much with her), when to ask for help, and how to have the confidence to figure things out myself.  She has been very forgiving of the many training mistakes I've made over the years.  I love her dearly, but she is unregistered, very tall, and not built correctly for a lot of the horse sports I'm interested in.

Little black mare was a horse in desperate need.  I found her while horse shopping for a friend of mine.  She was a great little mare, auction-bound, owned by a clueless family, exceedingly overweight, very reactive, had probably been gamed & cowboy'd all over the place--I took her on the spot--and with proper exercise and consistent, calm training, she was a dynamite little horse with a killer stop.  She went to a lady who wanted to use her for trail riding, and it was a perfect fit.

So this horse is the first horse after Ben that I really get to choose for ME.  I wanted something small, reining-bred with the best bloodlines I could find, REGISTERED, show quality, highly trainable, kind, young, and not overly handled--and I knew I wanted a filly.  I wanted something with a big, kind eye.  I wanted plenty of time to work with the youngun before it was time to start saddle training, so I knew I wanted a 2 year old.  Of course looks up the wazoo didn't hurt anything.  She really fit the bill.

Not to mention, Chev is absolutely thrilled to not be alone in her pasture anymore--especially since the neighbors she did have moved up the road and out of sight--although for now, little filly is still in a pen while she learns easy catching, haltering, leading well, and picking up one's feet for the farrier.

The complication to this story is--after I had bought the filly (but before I had her hauled up here), the SO informed me that he intends to take an interview offered to him for a foreman position in Vancouver, WA.  They fly him out on June 11th.  I thought I had several months to save up the funds for horse transport, but if they want him (and I would just about KILL to live near Portland, my family, and my friends again, so that would be fine by me!) then we could be moving fast, fast, fast.  I'm looking into horse contacts coming out this way in the summer for the breed & World shows, and with a little luck should be able to hitch them a ride back with someone.  Anyone with barn recommendations in the Vancouver area (especially pasture board!), let me know!  I will be forever grateful to you.  (I'm lookin' at you, Mona!)  Lots more pictures.

Big doe eyes and the tiniest, cutest snip I have ever seen.

Tiny horse

Tiny horse is ravenous

Tiny horse is tiny compared to monster horse

"Oh, hello.  Your hair is really messed up."

 "Who are you?  We are friends?"

 Ladies on alert

So that's my update--talk to you soon, Mom and Dad.
(Footnote:  SCENE: Kitchen of lovingly remodeled ranch-style 1970s home.  It is mid-morning.  The is an orange cat meandering around yowling even though he's already been fed.  Megan's father is reading the newspaper at the kitchen table next to his coffee cup which is half full.  Her mother is seated at the computer.  She is browsing a horse blog.  Suddenly she gasps, and exclaims

Megan's Mom:  "Oh my God--Alan!  Megan HAS ANOTHER HORSE!"

Megan's Dad:  "You're kidding!"

                                                                            ~FIN~                                                                          )

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Chev!

Yesterday was my baby horse's 7th birthday.  She is not a baby anymore.

I can hardly believe it.

I still remember leading her out of the auction yard as a 2 1/2 year old like it was yesterday...

What a lovely grown-up horse she has become.  As per tradition, she had birthday photos taken again this year.

Happy 7th Birthday, baby!  You've come a long way.

7th Birthday photo!

Enjoying her carrot-filled birthday grain bucket

Waited on hand-and-foot (or at least hand-watered) by her favorite person, the SO

A look back through the last 4 1/2 years!  Where it all began:

Chev, first week home, August 2007--2 1/2 years old

Showmanship clinic, February 2008

Out on pasture, she really filled out when she turned 3! May 2008

First trail ride, June 2008

Out on pasture at Marian's with Rhett, September 2008
Almost 4!  April 2009

August 2009--healed from her tendon injury and ready to start work again
 Under saddle again after 4 months off--August 2009
 Our second show!  May 2010
Summer 2010, fit and healthy!
6th Birthday photo, May 2011

Out in the pasture, May 2011 
 Ready to get on the trailer to meet me in Wyo, June 2011
After a ride, August 2011
 In the roundpen on a cold day, January 2012
 Present day, barefoot and beautiful! May 2012

 Happy Birthday Chevy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A girl and her horse

I know a lot of people in my life wonder why I spend all the money and the time in this crazy horse game.

And my answer is always the same: I can't imagine my life without horses.

Sure, horses make life more complicated.  They are expensive.  They need a lot of maintenance.  They require space and food in large quantities.  But you can RIDE them.  And there is nothing like that feeling in all the world.

They were the first things I wanted to draw from the time I could hold a pencil.  I spent nearly all my birthday and Christmas money growing up on riding lessons.  I worked at summer camps so I could earn extra horse time.  My parents were generous enough to recognize how much I loved riding, and for years paid for my lessons twice a month, starting when I was just 11.  I never grew out of the horse obsession.

And now that I'm an adult, I really appreciate how much happiness they bring to my life.

They give me something to do and something to take pride in. They taught me responsibility, compassion and patience to an extent I don't know I would have developed without my relationships with horses.  I know for certain loving them kept me out of all kinds of trouble as a kid.

To this day, I can't drive by horses in a pasture without checking each one out.  I still pretend I'm riding a horse galloping alongside the car when I'm a passenger on a long drive, just as I did as a child.  I am drawn to them, all breeds and all ages.  I am Horseii.

Every minute and every dollar is worth the sacrifice for all the wealth horses bring to my life.

So I want to thank all those who love me for sticking by me through all the years of horse-insanity: I love you for loving me, and all that I am.

And what I am is a horse girl.

Do we raise the bar too fast? How do we know?

I think more often than not we, as ambitious people, combined with horses, set ourselves up for failure.

I want to apologize for my lack of posts lately.

Here are the facts.

Chev's shoes were pulled 2 weeks ago, and she has been recovering.  Before pulling the shoes, farrier and I went on a trail ride on the back roads.  Chev was alert, but well behaved.  She didn't care about cars.  She didn't scream.  I realized I need to ride with longer fenders to avoid ankle pain.  It was a success.

She has essentially been a pasture puff for the last 2 weeks.  I've been going out at least once a day to check on her, feed her dinner, lunge her a bit, do a small amount of groundwork, and generally assess her condition for returning to work.

Work and horses is such a funny thing.

I think "work" is the perfect word.

It is always a work in progress.

The goal is to have something meaningful happen in a forward direction every time we ride.

I try not to harbor grand illusions about what that has to be.

My horse is fairly well "schooled", three days away from her seventh birthday--she walks, jogs, trots, and canters with relative ease and minimal cues, moves her body off slight leg pressure, understands turn arounds, side passes and two-tracking (mostly), and is pretty sensible to ride.  She is not exceedingly silly under saddle.  She is not a spooker, bolter, or bucker.

I have a lot to be thankful for.  She's taken my attempts at training gracefully, forgives my blunders, and is generous with her amount of try.  She isn't the most talented horse, but she is honest.

What I really want her to be is more of a "broke" horse.

I got the good idea about a week ago to hop on her bareback in the halter and ride her around the perimeter of the fence.

Boy howdy, that was a bad idea.

I guess I still have this romantic notion from my childhood that you can just scramble up on your horse, and ride off--no gear, no worries.

That is just not reality.

We got to one corner of the pasture before she starting pitching.

I admit it--I was scared.  For a couple minutes anyway.  I flashed back to that video of the large grey horse rearing full throttle straight up in the air while his rider hung on for dear life.  I grabbed mane.  I waited her out as she popped up over and over again.

The weird thing was how balanced it all felt.  She was not trying to unseat me.

After initial anger...I realized her feet hurt.

Then I felt like an idiot.

She was going about it in the loudest way possible without being dangerous.  She has never done anything like that before or since.

So I walked her over a few feet, still mounted, so I didn't look intimidated by what she'd just done--even though I was, but I'm still the boss here--dismounted, told her I got it loud and clear and turned her out for another week.

Yesterday after a good looking lunging session, I threw my bareback pad and bridle on her and took her for an easy walk around the pasture to check my fence.  No hesitation, no complaints.

Her feet are just about ready.

I just needed to listen to what she had to say.

And that brings me back to the beginning of this post: reasonable expectations.

I think it's almost human nature to set goals, and when goals are reached more quickly than we expected, to immediately set higher goals, over and over, ad nauseam, until we inevitably fail.

"We're just going to try 2' today," rider with her green jumper says.  Horse pops over it with no problems, because he's been set up with a task he can easily succeed in.  "Well that was easy...let's try 2'6"."  And on and on.  And before you know it, you've got a horse that won't jump a cross rail.

"We'll just do one canter depart."  Horse departs well and canters smoothly.  "Well that was easy...we'll just do another, and canter a few laps this time."  And before you know it, you have a horse that balks at the depart, swishes her tail, kicks to the inside or outside, and doesn't canter at all.

With horse training, the bar has to be low until the horse is confident in what he can do and how you ask.  That's not to say there aren't times to push it--if you've been cantering 3 laps for a week, it's okay to step up to 6 laps, or whatever--but many of us (yours truly included!) push too hard too fast, which sets everyone up to fail.

One of the things I've had to learn the hard way was really setting the horse up to succeed.

It seems like a lot of riders I watch set their horses up to fail just so they can punish them.  They ask for the canter depart just so they can crank their horses back to a stop.

Boy--I would hate to be that horse. 

It really gives me some admiration for what they put up with from us.

I strive to be fair.  And setting them up for punishment sure isn't fair.

An honest horse will try to give you an honest answer.  He'll shake his head, position his ears and move his body in ways he hopes communicate to you what is going on.  He'll give or brace to pressure.  He'll choose to listen to you or try to get you to listen to him.  The trick is figuring out how to read the signs and what they mean--and it's different for each horse, even though they share a basic language.  I believe this is at the heart of developing "feel".

And now, a laugh the hunter/jumpers will appreciate...(click to enlarge)!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Hoof Diaries

Today is 2 weeks since I pulled Chev's shoes, and I wanted to give an update on how her footsies are doing.

I think it would be prudent to include a hoof diagram so we all know what the heck I'm talking about.

More than we should, I think we horsemen tend to imagine hooves as static, un-moldable pillars--I know I did.  I am shocked (shocked!) to see what drastic progress has been made in the shape of her hooves, heels and frogs in just 14 short days.

When her frogs and heels hit a wall after the first week and looked like they were threatening to stay where they were (still very contracted), I began to suspect she might have some thrush way up in her frogs that was causing her some pain now that they were actually expanding and contracting.  She was standing like her heels were sore, and while she'd still go onto the gravely areas, I decided it was worth treating as if she had thrush to see what would happen.

I can't say for sure if the thrush treatment did it, but wow--what a difference.  I applied an easy topical to the hoofpick-deep crack in the back of her heels and all over the frog.  It immediately began shedding layers, her heels dropped and spread and now her hooves look pretty fantastic.  I'm still hitting her with the topical every other day or so.

She is also starting to land flat on her hooves instead of toe first, and even steps heel first occasionally (!!),  which is SO exciting for her long-term soundness.

Looking at before pictures I never realized how toe-first her landings were in shoes.  I thought she was just a short strided horse.  But now I wonder if all the toe-first landings weren't spelling trouble for her navicular bone and a bunch of other structures.  Hmmmm...

So, without further ado...the proof is in the pictures!

Front right, 5/8/12--2 days barefoot

Front left, 5/8/12

Left front 5/8/12--note the upward stress (curve) in the coronet band for comparison later!

Left front, 5/8/12--chunk of wall missing and deep cracks in the heel buttresses

At this point I really started to think about what the hooves were "telling" me.  I looked at the stress marks, cracks, chips and missing wall.  I realized the hoof was trying to mold into a different shape...and I realized I could help relieve some pressure with careful filing.

The heel buttresses had to come down...they were starting to crack which told me there was way too much stress on them.  They were way too far forward and not supporting the heel at all.  So I carefully brought them back and even with a file over several days:

 Left front/right front, 5/12/12, after taking the heels down/back...this is about the time I start to suspect thrush!  Those heels just look painful.

Right front/left front 5/15/12--treating for thrush x 3 days, what a difference!  Look at how much more relaxed and spread her heels are.  She's also shed a bunch of dead frog tissue.  Whole hoof has expanded, toe growing like crazy.  Day 9!

Left front/right front--Day 11!  5/17/12:  Heels have dropped, they actually make contact with the ground for the first time in 3 years!  Whole hoof is looking much more rounded and I am ecstatic with her progress.

 5/17/12--profile of left front hoof as before.  Coronet band has relaxed significantly from 5/8/12 but still has a ways to go.  

Present day, 5/20/12...

Looky here!  Same foot, same coronet band,  14 days post shoes.  No arch at all!

 Look how round!  It's far from perfect, but look how much more healthy!  False sole that was so embedded I couldn't even tell it was there has almost all shed off...

 Front right with beautiful concavity! 

Her front right, the "better" foot, is almost ROUND!  I cannot believe it!  Go back and look at those first set of photos.  

 Front right from the side to show how her frogs actually TOUCH THE GROUND!  Whoopee!

I am just amazed at her progress.  I couldn't be happier with how she's adapting to the barefoot life.  I might become one of those crazy barefoot people!

She freely chooses to go over gravel, walks out nicely and looks comfortable.  I did notice some minor swelling here and there in her legs (especially during the first week) as she adjusted to the different angles, but that's pretty much all disappeared now and a couple trims down the road I think she will be looking awesome.

It's always good to go the conservative route rather than going for heroic big changes--she walked off sound from this first trim despite being in shoes for almost 4 years--we didn't take a ton off and I'm glad.  

Now that her feet are getting proper circulation they are growing like CRAZY.  

Using the nail holes as a guide, I'd say she's grown out almost 3/4" of hoof in two weeks.

As a comparison, the hoof is usually completely replaced every 9 months.  For most horses, that means 1/4-2/5" of growth every four weeks.  I'm thrilled!  Her hooves are really responding to the increased circulation.

I wish I had taken some measurements in the beginning, because her entire hoof has completely changed shape.  It went from an oval with a contracted heel, to a nice, round, functional heel-and-frog-touching-the-ground kind of foot.  I think it's expanded at least 3/4" as well.  It is truly amazing.  The hoof isn't a static body part at all!

I attribute a lot of this to her environment, and I don't think going barefoot was an option before when she was in a small, soggy pen.  She has four dry acres to roam on, with sand, grass, dirt, rocks, gravel--all the right things for conditioning the newly-barefoot hoof.

Would you like to see how the rest of the horse is doing?

The coveted dinnertime grain ration

And this is the other place she spends a lot of her time (the hay feeder):

"Are you quite sure 4 flakes is enough?"