In which Fiddle decomposes an old song, and we see flowers

I got new shoes today, oh boy!
I had some boots but then I got to trade....
and though some folks think shoes are bad
Well, I just have to laugh.
Check out my photograph.

It's really true that Fiddle strides out better with shoes than she does barefoot or with boots. The photo (above) was taken when Fee was a green-green-green 5-year-old, at a Standardbred playday in Canada. She'd been under saddle with me for about 3 months at that point. Notice that no feet are touching the ground. (You can also see in the picture that she will land heel-first, which some of the more adament barefooters assure me doesn't happen with a steel-shod foot.)

I had errands to run this afternoon, so Fee was turned out in the pasture after her appointment with the farrier. When I got home and hitched up the truck to the trailer, she met me at the gate!
Out we went, for a quick jaunt into the swamp before the sun went down. The salmonberry bushes are beginning to bloom! Spring cannot be far away.

Wild cherry trees are more sensitive to heat than to light from lengthening days, so the recent warm weather has convinced the trees that spring has actually arrived.

I have know idea what plant this is (above). It is one of the very first plants in the Swamp to bud and bloom in late winter and early spring. It has no fragrance, and Fiddle says it's not good to eat. Anybody know?

I took 8 pictures of huckleberry bushes and they were all blurry because Fiddle kept grabbing bites from the bottom of the bush and shaking the branches. Sigh.

The salal plants are starting to grow new leaves as well. Fiddle and Hana both love to eat young salal leaves. The berries are theoretically edible in fall, and traditionally they were mixed with oolichan (bear fat) to preserve them so they could be eaten through the winter. Without the bear fat, they are bland and bitter, so the only members of our family who actually eat them these days are the goats.

After taking as many photos as the light would allow, we trotted. At first, Fee kept to the short-strided trot she has developed in order to keep the boots on her feet. I was very concerned. Had those danged boots wrecked her wonderful stride?

Finally, we swung around a tight corner and I asked for a canter...and got it. That broke her gaits loose, and she remembered how to stride out like she did in that photo at the top of the page.

And we flew!

Life. Is. Good.


  1. Whoo Hoo! A happy moving out horse, and signs of Spring!

  2. How fun! And what beautiful photos - I can't wait to see a flower in bloom!

  3. I'm sure the remaining Beatles will forgive Fiddle for the deconstruction. Send some spring our way!

  4. I'm pretty sure heel-first landings have to do with correct breakover and lack of pain in the foot, rather than the Evils of Steel Shoes. I'm glad to hear she's happy with her shoes! :D

    Your flowers are really pretty. Are the horses shedding yet?

  5. @Funder: Hana is shedding a little bit; Fiddle isn't shedding at all yet, despite the flowers around us! Ohhh, the sun might even shine tomorrow.

    And I believe you are correct, that the heel-first landing is a function of a comfortable, correctly-trimmed foot with proper breakover, which Fiddle has with steel shoes because I've got a fabulous farrier!

    I guess I'm a little sensitive because there are a lot of people "shouting" (electronically, mostly) that steel shoe = discomfort = bad foot. I know that isn't true, but I'm feeling defensive about keeping my mare shod even thought I've tried other stuff.

    How 'bout this: I promise to encourage other folks to find and use training methods and equipment that make sense and function well for their own horses. And likewise, I will use the methods and equipment that works for me. That's tactful, right?

  6. I think you're justified in feeling a little paranoid. All the "movements" have some extremists who think the non-believers are crippling their horses. And if Fiddle wasn't sound in reasonable plain shoes, maybe I'd tactfully suggest Eponas or Renegades or a new farrier. But it sounds like she's just fine.

    I'm glad we all have so much information available now, and I'm glad there's so many valid alternatives. But you gotta respect people's informed choices. Ride you own ride!


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