Eli has been going very, very well under saddle. Keeping shoes, seeming to be serviceably sound … I am truly grateful to all of the people who have kept Eli’s best interests in mind, through everything his vet and farrier have done for him to everything the entire Hilltop barn crew has done for him. Eli is surrounded by good people and good horses. It’s a very lucky feeling I have when I think about it for long.

I have also rearranged my Sunday work schedule a bit so I still get to ride in daylight on Sunday, even with the time change. I’ll just leave a few videos here of Eli from the most recent Sunday ride … I am feeling happy about where he’s at right now. And I replenished his supply of German Horse Muffins, as apparently all other treats are now mildly off-putting and only marginally acceptable. #spoilt

It’s funny, for a lot of this ride, some neighbors were playing with their guns, as happens in rural Texas. Eli was not bothered by the gunshots at all while we were up in the arena. But once we got back down to the barn and he was in the cross-ties? He got super concerned with them. Maybe it was the way the sound was echoing in the barn? It did sound closer when we were in the barn than it did while we were up in the arena. Or maybe Eli was actually just annoyed with it and trying to stare down the offending pops.

Carelessness Stings a Little

So, you know how you’re not supposed to reach across the front of a horse? Wanna guess who did that last night after taking off Eli’s bridle? Fortunately, all I came out of it with was a busted lip. No need for stitches, no broken or knocked out teeth, no one got concussed. After I took off Eli’s bridle, I reached across his head to grab his halter and as I was leaning across his face, he turned his head toward me and knocked me in the mouth. Which is why we teach lesson kids not to do this! Eli and I were both startled but I kept on doing what I was doing and pulled off his tack, gave him all the cookies, and went to go switch off the arena lights. As I was walking back in the barn, I could taste blood and feel it running down my chin. Ew. Why do face injuries bleed so much? My lower lip is a bit swollen but I think I’ll live.

Non sequitur: I stand by my assertion that burgundy and lime green go together

More importantly, Eli was perfect last night! We are both out of shape, so the crookedness is in full effect, and there’s not much power from his hind end in the canter, but we’ll get back there.

Debbie is dedicated! She’s out at the barn every night. So of course I have to wave to her as she’s driving out.

Whoa. An actual jump.

I went ahead and switched Eli’s bit from the custom Myler to his WH Ultra, which is a fatter bit but still has a roller. He had been a bit testy (read: head-flipping) in the Myler the past few nights, but he seemed very relaxed in the WH Ultra. It’s my sorcery bit that you will have to pry from my cold, dead hand. I also put a standing martingale back on him, but his comfort in the different bit meant he didn’t really need it. He is now also wearing both fetlock boots and the pastern wraps behind. Look, it’s fine. It’s not like it’s bubble wrap. Yet.

Hoof Stuff & Things


Do we have Eli’s front feet straightened out? I think so … maybe? The last time he had a shoe tacked back on by the farrier, you might remember, I wrote “plz no bars!!” by Eli’s name on the farrier list that’s on one of the white boards. So. He does not have bar shoes on anymore, on either of his front hooves. Miraculously, the bar-free shoes and pads have stayed on, through turnout and riding.

how he feels about pastern wraps


I got a few things for Eli’s hooves, should he try to walk right out of a front shoe again. One, I got him a new pair of the bell boots I like for him to live in. The previous pair had lasted a while but they were getting a bit shredded around the bottoms and starting to tear or dry out in places.

I got him some Cavallo Simple Boots, too. These are basically for when he might pull a shoe. I can put one of these on him instead of wrapping the hoof and he could actually still be turned out. I also got the inserts to go with, in case that’s necessary but it doesn’t seem like it would be. That purchase was more of a rather-have-and-not-need than need-and-not-have type of thing.

fresh sneaks

I also nabbed the Equifit pastern wraps, as he may need them to go with the hoof boots. As it turns out, I rather like them for his hind pasterns for when I ride him. So I see getting a ton of immediate use out of them!

I can’t use Durasole on his front soles (because, you know, he’s in pads now) but I still use some for his hind feet. And I have been trying to use the Absorbine Hooflex more regularly (have loved it for years), even though it gets near-solid in cold weather. But that’s what barn microwaves are for! Eli also gets a supplement with biotin in it.

Am I missing anything hoof-related here?

Crooked Legs

Please note the directions Eli’s toes are pointing.

This is why he has all kinds of boots and wraps. This is why he gets injections and chiro and massages whenever I can afford those things. Okay, well, the injections are mandatory whether my wallet likes it or not. This is why I cringe when I look back at him while he’s walking and see his hind feet rotating and twisting as he’s picking them up and setting them down. Although this last thing gets better with shoeing until about a week before he’s due for new shoes.

This is just how he stands, relaxed, chilling in the cross-ties while I stare at him wondering if he’ll straighten himself out or not.

It’s been in the 30s and too wet to ride the times I’ve been at the barn this week, but I am hoping that with slightly less cold weather and more sun that maybe I can ride my crooked horse tonight? I’m crooked, too, for what it’s worth, so just jot that down onto our lengthy list of why my horse and I are suitable for each other.

Eli got a new heavyweight turnout blanket (from Dover) and it’s what he’s wearing in these pictures. So far I really like it. Eli is not as hard on blankets as he used to be and this one isn’t rubbing hair off his shoulders. (I still need to clean his mediumweight turnout blanket but I don’t really like it as much as this one.) It’s only 600 denier polyester, so I wouldn’t put it on a more rambunctious horse or one who is outside all the time, but it works for Eli and isn’t impossibly heavy like his other heavy blankets. It doesn’t seem to slide out of place, either.

I think his bell boots are finally shredded, although they haven’t ripped in half or anything. They’re the stupid expensive Italian jumper bell boots but they have lasted longer than any other, cheaper pairs of pull-ons I’ve tried. Definitely worth the cost, as they have lasted over a year.

Wet Sand Monster

Winter in Texas (even though it’s not really winter yet) is typically damp. I am relieved Eli isn’t in bar shoes, because I think damp turnouts would have just meant more lost shoes. After some heavy rain, I let him out in the round pen the other day. I swear I really thought it was drier than it actually was …

It wasn’t really slippery, at least?

But Eli makes kind of a cute roan? No, not really.

He does need monitoring while in the round pen, since he’s jumped out of it before. He seems to assume if he runs at me aggressively enough that I will get out of the way. He underestimates my stupidity.


He has looked sound playing in turnout, and felt sound under saddle the last time I rode him, which was Monday … before winter happened. The cold is not so bad, but the rain & ice is a bit much. It’s making this whole reconditioning thing we’re supposed to be doing a bit difficult!

Weenie Wednesday: Cold Snap

Haaaa, how does a week go by without me noticing? First of all, it went from pleasant fall weather to ice in my face in about 30 minutes on Monday. Conrad got groomed when it was nice outside; I managed to ride, too, and then as I was leaving the barn winter blew in. Forcefully.

Conrad sometimes must think that maybe the weather out the front door is different than the weather out the back door. We’ll walk out the back door into bleak icy wet blackness, and he just backs right up, back into the house. Then we go out the front door, and he seems so disappointed it’s the same thing.

This cold has been a relief after the summer we had, but does there have to be ice? I actually had to scrape my windshield … in Texas … in November. We had three non-consecutive days of autumn and now we have winter.

Eli’s been fun lately …

Weenie Wednesday: I am that dog mom …

Conrad does indeed have a sweater with “mom” on it. Judge me all you want.

Yes … it’s Thursday, not Wednesday. Eli’s shoe situation is throwing me off kilter just a wee bit. I am hoping to have it all resolved by next week — he should get the right front tacked on today — hopefully a different right front with the dental mold & pads but no bar. I keep forgetting to measure Eli for hoof boots so I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to do that today after work. And while his live-in bell boots are still hanging on, I need a back up pair on hand because the current ones are closer to shredded than not. And I probably need some thin pastern wraps for whenever he may be turned out in hoof boots. Anything else I am not thinking of? (He gets a supplement with biotin in it already.)

For Want of a Shoe

first time he tossed the LF

Eli has now tossed his left front shoe twice and his right front shoe once. This has led to me not being able to ride him at all, and a lot of days of missed turnout for him. This is all in the space of less than two weeks.

I can’t really even walk him around because I don’t want his hoof getting wonkier than it already is

Other than they are bar shoes and Eli likes to grab his heels, I have no idea why they are coming off so easily. It looks like he is literally just stepping out of them, leaving all the nails in tact in the shoe.

This time I found the left one two paddocks over from the paddock he was in for turnout

Once he gets his left front tacked back on again, he’s going to be on a slightly modified turnout schedule that means less time outside and no turnout right next to another horse. I am not actually sure how much that will help, though, especially if he is going out after a few days of no turnout due to no shoe — he’s going to run around regardless of which turnout he’s in. He should be able to run around! It makes me think he just can’t wear bar shoes, but I don’t know what other options we have yet. (I plan to find out soon.)

I need to go stock up on diapers and duct tape, which are my favorite things to buy together at Target

I may buy some hoof boots, but that’s not ideal considering they wouldn’t do much to support his low heels. I’d have to fit wedge pads in the hoof boots, I guess? I’d like to just ditch the bars entirely, because Eli has never pulled off shoes like this before. I am starting to feel really bad for him because he’s stuck in a stall until the farrier tacks a shoe back on and all he is doing is being a normal horse in turnout.

I also just bought him a new heavyweight turnout blanket because his current heavyweight blanket is a stable blanket with no shoulder gussets, but he went outside in it once anyway. It’s so disgusting now I don’t even want it on him again until I get it cleaned. But with a heavyweight turnout blanket, he won’t need the stable blanket.