Barefoot return to work

carrimclaren

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Really just forming some ideas here as nothing is set in stone yet but here's the basics.
My mare has been barefoot since August and her feet are gradually getting there. She couldn't keep shoes on, her feet were very flat etc. The hinds now seem a lot better, the fronts still have a wee while to go yet. But basically i'd like to start bringing her into work (in a month or two) but would like some ideas on how best to do, what exercises etc. She was moved in August to a new place in a small village but i'm not too keen on the idea of leading her round on foot just yet as she can get quite spooked especially in new places (unless someone is on her back).
So my main thought process is, how do i bring her back into work gradually? I've never long reined but could learn if needed. I didn't think after 6 months off she'd appreciate me sticking her on the lunge straight away. Would i be best to start getting her used to her bridle and saddle again and just doing groundwork exercises in the menage?
I'm going to invest in some barefoot boots for her fronts so that in time i can venture onto the village road and down the tracks and know that she's not sore but that's the ambitious side of my plan :)
 
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Yann

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Nice to hear she's doing so well :)

Sounds like a bit of groundwork and some long lining in the school would be a good place to start, but I would be surprised if she's forgotten anything. Then if she's happy and you're happy then I'd personally start gently riding her in boots (and pads at first) as soon as you feel ready. She'll probably be very comfortable and really stride out, but build things up carefully and look for any adverse reactions after each session and adjust what you're doing accordingly. Exercise and movement at a level the horse can cope with will really help the feet.
 

carrimclaren

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Thanks Yann, it's been good for her soul i think being out 24/7 ;) I don't think she will be too hard to get back into work as she had 6 months off a year ago and she came back into work calm and hadn't forgotten anything. I was more nervous this time as a) she's barefoot and neither of us have ever had to work with this and b) because of winter she's lost a lot of the muscletone she had built up before so didn't want to overdo it straight away. Really must measure her for boots, could be difficult due to the fact they're quite wide still.
 
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Yann

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So long as she's comfortable the barefoot bit shouldn't be a hindrance at all, in fact you might even find some improvements in her :) Wide feet are harder to boot but you should still be able to find something to suit I would have thought.
 

lachlanandmarcu

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Dont worry about having the boots on when you take her out the first time, my mare adored them from Day1 as she felt so much more confident in her grip. Just did a couple of John Cleese exaggerated strides from the Ministry of Funny Walks when they were first put on.

good luck!:)
 

carrimclaren

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Lol, now that i can imagine her doing. Must remember a digi cam that day :p As long as she doesn't feel so secure in her feet that she starts being a bronco again i'd be very happy if she was springy and comfortable.
 
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