Rugby will be wearing front shoes as of tomorrow. Based on his new X-rays and further discussion with my vet, we agree that front shoes are needed to give him support. The good news from the X-rays is that there is no change or problem involving navicular. But there is something there, however small, that my vet feels is an old injury to the coffin bone, possibly a healed fracture from Rugby's youth that is flaring up and he needs the stability of the shoes to help him. It seems egg bars are the prescription and my vet is speaking with my farrier to let him know exactly what he wants my horse to have done.
I remember his former owner telling me he wore shoes up front. Of course, I never thought to ask what kind since Rugby was barefoot and sound when I bought him. I figured it was just the usual considering he didn't give any indication of needing more at that time.
He's now walking barefoot better than he was but he's still not quite right. He's also on the bute and isoxiprene and I really want him to start weaning off that stuff. I contacted the farrier who used to shoe Monty and he's happy to come and work on Rugby for me. Tomorrow morning I'll be there to help my old farrier and Rugby get acquainted. I will miss working with my barefoot trimmer. I really like how he works around my horse and I feel he's been such an important part in my horses' impeccable manners when having his hooves tended to. He's not thrilled I've opted for the shoes. I understand that and respect his opinion. I've given it thought both ways and I just feel it's an option I have to try at this time.
In the meantime, I have been doing very light ground work exercises involving leading only. No lunging, since turning to the right aggravates his unsoundness. Rugby is the kind of horse who just craves interaction and mental stimulation. I gave him simple exercises like stepping over a pole forwards and backwards, lateral flexing, backing, turning, stepping up on a low platform and off and he was a star. He was so good that one of the other boarders was leading her aged, seasoned show horse around and my super green, unsound and unworked 6 year old had more self control! I even brought him to the mounting block and leaned on his back and he just relaxed and enjoyed the attention.
More and more, as my relationship with Rugby grows, he's becoming a star. He's already known for his perfect ground manners. Over the past weekend I brought out the clippers and he stood for having his face, ears and legs trimmed better than some of the best show horses I've met!
And I had an opportunity to ride this past weekend! One of the instructors who boards her lesson horses at the barn where I keep Rugby has often offered me a chance to ride some of her horses. I took her up on it and had a short but very sweet walk, trot session on her little thoroughbred. I'm still buzzed from getting a few minutes in the saddle!