Except when it rains. All that rain last week turn the field into a swamp/lake. And the pasture. And every other crevice in site. Everywhere I looked for a long time, I made the Three Stooges "Gah-ooh!" noise because all I saw was water.
That's supposed to the the riding field, halfway through the rainy week. Obviously it is underwater, which is not conducive to riding. Even the parts that weren't underwater were really really deep, and Royal was sinking almost up to his hocks and knees. I tried it again today, since we haven't had any rain for a few days, and while it's much better, it's still not safe. Royal was still sinking a good five to six inches, even without me riding him. So, that's out for a while.
In the meantime, I'm looking for other places to ride. The road is fine at the walk, but the rain seems to have made both the ground harder and lifted the rocks out more. Which has suddenly become a MAJOR problem. Remember when I said he was wincing a bit if he hit a rock, but otherwise seemed fine? Yeah, not anymore. Pedicure day was Monday, and he got the normal amount of sole and wall removed, which was not a problem before. Now, the combination of that with a very wet pasture meant that his hooves softened up and he's now VERY sore on any kind of gravel. To the point of taking tiny little mini-steps while appearing lame on all four feet. Put him on grass, rock-less dirt, or even asphalt, and he's fine. But gravel, oh no. Not good. At first I was flipping out and thinking he was foundering, but he didn't have any abnormal heat or strong digital pulses in any of his feet, and I would think that trotting on asphalt (which we did for a little bit) would not be possible for a foundering horse. All this means that the road is not our friend in the foreseeable future. We can stay on the edge and walk in grass/"soft" gravel in some places, but not everywhere. So what's left?
This neglected baseball field caught my attention. It's got plenty of space and isn't too far away from home. Obviously nobody's using it, and it's really overgrown, so I'm not sure how safe it is. What doth the grass conceal, I wonder. But a bit of mowing could make it a really good grass field for dressage. Problem is, I have no idea who owns it (private citizen? The city or county or state?) or how to find out. Even if I did/could, what would I say that wouldn't make me sound like an entitled brat? "Dear Sir/Madam, I am in need of a place to ride after the rain floods out my usual riding area. I have noticed your baseball field and think it would be satisfactory. Would you be willing to mow it so that I may ride there? My horse and I would be most appreciative." Yeah, don't think so.
There's also this grass field next to a local church. It's also close to home and looks very ridable. Plus I have a pretty good idea of who owns it, namely the person living in the little house next to it, which is probably whomever owns/runs the church. But again, how do I ask them? "Dear Pastor/Minister/Deacon, I am quite enamored of the field directly next to your house that looks to be an extra parking lot. Would you and/or your organization be willing to let me ride my horse there occasionally? I would be forever in your debt." Don't think that's happening either. They, and the person who owns the baseball field, would probably be worried about the liability if I fell off and got hurt while riding on their property, so it doesn't seem like asking either person/organization will end well for me.
|Will you be my replacement arena?|
The other big headache that makes me want to down a gallon of Pepto-Bismol is Royal's new soreness on gravel. Previously, he's always had hooves of iron that never met a surface they couldn't conquer. But now, not so much. Was it the stress of moving and then going to a show? The rain? Did a little too much sole get taken off? Who knows, but right now I need to figure out what to do about it. We can't avoid it, since to get anywhere, we need to go over gravel. My main strategy is to get some hoof boots. I debated whether to get Renegades or Cavallos, but think Cavallos are the way to go. They're about cheaper ($40 less per pair) and seem popular with fox-hunters. I figure if they'll stay on for fox-hunting, they'll stay on for my purposes. I'll be ordering those soon.
The other thing I'm trying is a sugardine soak. I still have lots of it left over from the abscess and it can help harden feet. I've heard good things about Durasole and Keratex, but those cost money and my sugardine mixture is free. I soaked them two at a time, using my Rx boot and an old IV fluids bag held up with Vetrap.
|Front feet soaking|
|Back feet soaking.|
He was very confused about this