Quick update on all things Handsome

08 Nov
Quick update on all things Handsome

It’s been a while, so I’ll get right into it:

I had two great rides on Handsome this weekend. On Saturday, we worked on our balance. If you recall, I said Handsome had a pronounced lean when circling at a canter, followed by a bulge down the straight sides. As all good students of dressage know, you don’t drill your horse on canter circles to correct this problem. The horse has a weakness somewhere, so you go back to the basics. Strengthen the horse, improve its balance, and then the canter will improve on its own.

We did some haunches-in and shoulder-fore at a walk and trot, as well as some half passes at a walk and trot. We also did voltes (10 metre trot circles) and reverse demi-voltes at a walk. Sounds fancy, eh? This involves coming off the rail and walking a small loop like you’re going to change direction, but instead of just turning normally, you alternate one step forward and turn-on-the-fore step. The horse really has to pay attention and it’s tricky to keep the rhythm throughout this manoeuvre. Here’s a video of someone performing it well:

We did surprisingly well, but we are quite slow and we don’t have consistent rhythm. We also did halt-trot-halt transitions and walk-canter-walk transitions. We were very balanced, then we cantered, he bulged, and then I had to go back to voltes to get the balance back. Of course, I don’t expect to get a perfectly balanced canter in one ride, but think I need to take a lesson with BlueBear’s equitation coach to aid the process.

I tried my Davis soaking boot on Saturday, and I have to say, I wasn’t that impressed. I ordered the boot to fit Handsome’s larger front hooves, and yet I could only get it on the back. While the boot looks like it would be roomy, the challenge is getting it on the hoof. The opening is smaller than the base, which is a design flaw if you ask me – you have to get the widest part of the hoof through that opening. Handsome was quite patient and let me pull, wiggle and twist his hooves. He also stood quite nicely when the boot was on.

I only need to use a portion of the solution I would normally use for soaking in a bucket, but the downside is that the hoof is kind of sitting in muddy water all the while. Handsome’s hooves didn’t come out as clean as they do when soaked in a bucket, and a clean foot is important for applications of No Thrush or hoof trimming.

I’m going to try the boot a few more times before I review it, but here are some pictures in the mean time:

Soaking the back left. That black strap can be tightened for a more secure fit. However, it took some heaving and ho-ing to get the boot off.

The foot is thoroughly soaked, but also muddy. I picked Handsome's hooves beforehand, but he is an outside horse.

Soaking the back right.

On Sunday, a very good friend of mine came out to try Handsome. I was looking for a part-boarder and she was looking for a horse to ride. I think it’s going to work out great for us, we just need to work out some of the finer details of our horse sharing. I have tremendous respect for this young rider. She has a few years of jumping experience on me, and I like what she brings to Handsome – she energizes him and she has extremely effective aids.

Jumping lesson with Sheryl tonight. Woo hoo!


Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Life With a Horse, Schooling Hunter


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2 responses to “Quick update on all things Handsome

  1. sand.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    : ) I think Wendy just got one of those davis soaking boots. I remember coming in to the barn and there was epsom and water EVERYWHERE in the aisles! She was cursing the product, ’cause she too hand trouble getting it on and off her horse…

    Then the next time I was out, there was less water everywhere. She said something about reading the instructions somewhere that said to “pre-soak the boot in warm water” or something like that. She said it made it easier to get on for sure. Granted, her horse pulled it off a couple minutes later…

    Oh, and I’m TOTALLY going out and trying to reverse demi volte tonight! It just sounds cool, even if we just end up walking a stupid circle.

    • Kiirsten

      November 9, 2011 at 9:18 am

      I tried running my boot under hot water for a couple minutes, but I found that it didn’t soften that much more. I’ll try soaking it – I can see how that might be the solution, because it feels like the boot doesn’t “unfold” fully in the back. Hopefully it will soften up more if I just stick to the instructions – LOL. Thanks Sand!


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