I made a long-ish video that shows all the miniature horse boots I currently have and  I show Bonnie walking in the Easy Boot Mini and the Soft-Ride Boots for a nice comparison. I’ll keep you updated on how I think the Soft-Ride boots are helping over the next couple of days!

Today was a great day for some spring cleaning around here. The morning was pretty nice, just a bit breezy and quite warm. It got windier and colder as the afternoon came along, but I was on a roll! Seven hours later I had accomplished, a clean shed…

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TWO relatively clean dry lots…

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Two ponies with freshly trimmed hooves, two ponies groomed within an inch of their lives… AND we went for our first walk of the season!

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The girls both did so well on this walk. We have quite a few new horses on both sides of the road that were running and bucking and whinnying as we went by and though Sky got all worked up, Bonnie stayed steady and unfazed. You would never guess that Sky is 14 years old this year!!! She is soooo ready for the harness and the travois. And I’m so ready to have her pull me in the cart sometimes. She ran my BUTT off today!

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Sky on the right wearing her teeny, tiny Cavallo boots. Bonnie on the left wearing her Easyboot mini hoof boots. Both seemed quite happy in their footwear!

Bonnie still has her good days and her bad days since she foundered in December. I am feeding her 3-4 flakes of hay in a slow feed net once a day, 1/2 cup of Crypto Aero Whole Food once a day with a scoop of Remission, the only thing missing is exercise! So we are back to our daily walks. Bonnie didn’t take a lame step today. She wasn’t spooky at all on the walk, she would trot up when I asked her to and follow politely when I needed her to. She was totally and completely responsive for the entire walk. I could not be happier with these two girls! The wind was howling and it was COLD and they just walked and trotted right out!

I have been touching Bonnie when I feed her every day. I run my hand along her side, or place my hand on her back as we walk to where she eats. Then I’ll run my hand along her side and around her hind end. These are things I could not do last year and if the rope touched her side or hind end she would race away and turn and face. Today the rope could be along side her and when Sky would run around and end up behind her with the rope tight around Bonnie’s butt she just stood like a statue! Ready to wear a breeching? I think so!

When we got home they followed me everywhere looking for more attention. They were so happy to be out and about in the neighborhood! I was happy to have them out.

Tomorrow I’ll trim up the boys and give them a good grooming. They are muddy messes as boys seem to be!

 

Bonnie foundered on December 27th, much to my dismay. She has been lame since then. To counteract the founder I have been putting Ortho Sport on her feet every day and she’s been wearing her Easyboot minis, which have been a life saver!! I don’t know what we would do without them. I took them off for a day to give her a break and to let her feet air out and she didn’t move much all day long. It’s difficult with the frozen ground and the snow that builds up a bit on her soles. Both things that are painful when your feet are inflamed.

On January 11th I started Bonnie on Remission. She loves it. I top feed it, with a little warm water, on her 1/2 a cup of Crypto Aero Wholefeed. She licks the pan completely clean. And fiercely protects her pan from Sky, who hoovers her feed so she can run over and try to steal Bonnie’s.

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Bonnie loving her feed!

Two days ago I got some Comfort pads to go inside the Easyboots. The difference in Bonnie’s mental and physical bearing was nearly instant! The pads are helping her tremendously. They are thicker than I thought they would be and a bit firmer, but they are doing their job perfectly. And I was surprised how well they fit down inside the boot and left room for Bonnie’s foot. She’s back to eating well and moving all around the dry lot. Yesterday she nearly trotted to chase after me for her feed pan. I loved seeing that! And the tracks the boots leave are so cool. They are like little hiking boots! Perfect for this snowy weather…

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Easyboot mini track in the snow.

She is handling all of this like a champ. I don’t have to halter her to work on her feet anymore. She stands perfect for me and even offers me her feet. I know the Ortho Sport helps her feel better right away so that has helped me win that friendly game! When I had to trace her feet so I could cut the pads to the appropriate size she stood perfectly and allowed me to trace around her feet, also without a halter! Something I would not have been able to do a few months ago. I’m so proud of how far she’s come! Pretty soon I’ll be able to trim her feet at liberty!

So far so good. I am preparing to have to spray down my dry lot this spring so ZERO grass will grow in there. I need her to be sound so we can do lots of hiking this summer! My dry lot is so big that they always have a bit of green grass growing when the weather clears up and gets warmer. This year I’m just going to nip that in the bud for good… I can’t wait to be able to set up a Paddock Paradise someday!

Welcome 2017!

Every year I sit down and go back over the previous year. I think about what I want to make happen in the new year and settle on a “Word of the Year.” In 2015 my word was Inspire. I spent that year really making head way with Billy, riding him on the trails and going to Colorado for a week long Level 3 Freestyle/Bridleless course. It was a fantastic spring/summer!! Even if I did break my arm on April 1st.

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Then I had my confidence shaken while riding, in September and broke my other arm. Though I didn’t need surgery this time, it really broke my heart. I thought I wasn’t worthy of horse ownership. I cried. A lot. That was a difficult winter. So when I sat down to look at the past year and come up with a new word I was searching for peace, harmony and contentment. My word for 2016 was Calm. I was needing to spend some time getting centered again.

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Calm: a state of tranquility

I read lots of books that would help me figure out a few things. I spent lots of undemanding time with Billy and I knew that I wasn’t going to ride anymore. It was a bit of a struggle to admit that to myself, but I wasn’t enjoying riding. I was worried and tense and scared most of the time I was sitting on Billy. Trying to find my Calm while feeling so tense and scared was difficult.

On top of those feelings I had to balance my family. I homeschool my two boys, neither of which are even remotely interested in horses, and try to keep my hubby happy, knowing he doesn’t like horses. At all. My two accidents put a dent in my ability to homeschool, do my housework, cook and clean AND spend time with Billy. Not to mention bring in a small amount of money every month to PAY for my horse addiction. Things were not working out. My hubby was upset with me and we fought. A lot. I made the extremely difficult decision to find Billy a better home with someone confident and fun and understanding. He needs LOTS of understanding. He is definitely a one-of-a-kind horse.

Choosing to let Billy go to someone who would ride him was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made – and I have sold and re-homed horses many times over the years. Billy was one of my heart horses. Luckily I am not the type of person who believes we only get one heart horse in our lifetime. In fact I have had 7 heart horses so far and believe I have one or two standing out in my pasture right now. However, Billy was a very special boy.

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Billy would lay down on command and was well known for his funny faces.

Billy wasn’t happy just being a pet and because he was so young, only 5 years old, I knew he would thrive with someone that would ride him. He found a wonderful home up in the mountains at a guest ranch. The owners of the ranch are kind, compassionate people. When they met Billy and he put his big old head on them they wrapped their arms around it and gave him big hugs. The wife had a pocket full of cookies for him. They are both the real deal and thought Billy was just about the neatest horse they had ever met! He would have lots of horse friends at the ranch and there would be lots to do and see. There would be no chance of him getting bored. I made it a point of delivering him to his new home so I could see him settle in. They were very impressed when we pulled up with my tiny two horse trailer. (In order to shut the door Billy would have to stick his head out the front window!!) Billy was so good. When I opened the back door of the trailer he waited patiently for me to ask him out. Then he stepped out slowly, one foot at a time, calmly looked around and then walked quietly to the arena. The arena is surrounded by big dry lot pens full of horses and Billy’s eyes were WIDE open taking it all in. We walked around a bit and I showed them a few of his talents, including laying down on command, then I let him go and he went around making friends. He immediately befriended a horse that usually doesn’t like ANY horses. Within a few minutes they were sharing a mutual groom over the fence. His new owners were amazed!

When we drove away I was crying, but Billy didn’t even look for me as I left. Before he would follow my vehicle, whinnying, if I left him anywhere. I had a good feeling about this home.

I kept in touch all summer but couldn’t bring myself to go see him. Every time I thought about it I would cry so I figured it was better for both him and myself to let him go. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I’m sure when my boys leave for the military or college I will feel the same way.

I ended up being very surprised at the people that no longer wanted anything to do with me after I found another home for Billy. First the loss of Billy then the loss of some of my “friends” was almost too much. So many times I wanted to walk away from this blog and delete Facebook all together. I can’t say why I didn’t.

I think watching me feel so heartbroken was hard for my Hubby – after the initial anger he felt because I feel the need to have a horse. He watched me struggle for a bit and then casually mentioned miniature horses one day while we were out fixing fence. (One of the many reasons he doesn’t like horses!) I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that myself! I had been dreading the idea of living without horses. (Something I am NOT good at!) And I had never stopped missing my minis.

So…

He opens a window.
When God closes a door he opens a window.

I called my Mom to tell her my great idea of getting minis again and she offered me her two minis, Sky and Zorro! My good friend Katrina offered me back Captain Planet and walla! I was the proud owner of miniature horses again.

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Sky and Zorro arrive!

I found Bonnie for sale on Facebook (good thing I didn’t delete it!) and soon I was the proud owner of 4 miniature horses!

The ponies and ME!
The ponies and ME!

My mom also gave me her little show cart and Sky’s harness. I have spent some time upgrading parts of the harness and also bought a little easy entry cart. This winter I bought a gaming sled and had an attachment built so I can put my easy entry cart shafts on it. This way I can enjoy some sledding with my ponies! I am looking forward to lots of hours in the cart and sled this 2017.

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Other things I have gathered over the summer and fall are a miniature horse Hoofjack, mini horse Easyboots and a pair of miniature horse Cavallo boots! Miniature things are so cute.

I came across an awesome wholefood horse feed this year as well. I was thrilled to have a local feed store agree to order some and begin carrying it. My ponies have flourished on it!

All four miniature horses after eating Crypto Aero Wholefood.
All four miniature horses after eating Crypto Aero Wholefood.

The girls and I did a lot of hiking and walking this year. Until my health made it too painful for me… This fall we didn’t get out as often as I would have liked!

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I have been struggling with some different issues for the last few years. This was my “Year of the Doctor” and I found out I needed to have a full hysterectomy. I was scared but also hopeful! Scared to have that much of my body removed, but hopeful that I would have energy, no more pain and be able to resume my walking! So for the month of November and much of December I recovered from surgery. It really cut into my time with my ponies, but allowed me to work on my website/blog. Many changes happened around here during that time. Hopefully they were all good!

I love making graphics. So I started making lots and lots of graphics for my website:

And I have made lots of Young Living graphics too:

Someday maybe I’ll make money doing this! I really enjoy blogging, photography and graphic design.

I have been thinking about the year 2017 and what I would like to make happen. I will get Sky going in harness again and we will spend some time sledding around the fields and driving on the roads, getting ready for some mountain driving this summer. I am even kicking around the idea of another driving book, this one centered around sledding and mountain driving. I am going to start Bonnie ground driving and wearing the harness, going slowly with her so she is confident. It’s important to me that she enjoy the process so she can enjoy driving! I’m going to keep watching Zorro grow up. He is getting so handsome! One of my grandma’s little mares is bred for an early summer foal, so I am looking forward to that baby. It will be a half sibling to Zorro.

So back to my “Word of the Year” – I’ve put a lot of thought into it… After lots of deliberation, doodling, jotting down notes and making a word map, I have settled on the word MOXIE. Moxie resonated with me in two ways. It made me feel energized about the year ahead and made me feel excited about learning even more about horsemanship, horses and driving!

My word of the year!
My word of the year!

I am very excited about 2017. I see many great things happening in the next year and I plan to meet it with lots of vigor and pep!

If you feel moved to do so, please share your word of the year in the comments below!

 

When I found out that Cavallo was making a hoof boot for miniature horses I was so excited!!! I knew I had to have a pair. They sent me some photos of the boot before it was available and I liked the look of it. My mom got me a pair for my birthday. (Well they are really for Sky- but you know what I’m saying!)

Cavallo introduces the Cute Little Boot
Cavallo introduces the Cute Little Boot

It’s a smaller boot than the Easyboot Miniature Horse Boot and has a lower profile. The Cavallo boot has drain holes in case you drive your mini through water. I like how the front of the boot looks, we’ll see how it holds up when climbing rocks and trekking through sage bushes.

The CLB's front closure.
The CLB’s front closure.

They are tiny. Looking at them I wasn’t sure they would fit my mare, Sky. But I tried them on and they do! They wouldn’t fit Bonnie’s more round hoof but Sky does have little feet. I think of all my minis, they would only fit Sky and Zorro – and not Zorro for long! They did say they will be coming out with a few more sizes in 2017… I will definitely need the next size up to give Sky a little more room. But these will work for now!

The bottoms are much different than the Easyboot. The Cavallo boot would not be suitable for slippery floors, such as hospital floors. They are a hard plastic. The Easyboot has a rubber sole, therefor I think they would be work on slippery surfaces.

Easyboot on the left, Cavallo boot on the right.
Easyboot on the left, Cavallo boot on the right.

Here they are from the side:

Easyboot on the left, Cavallo boot on the right
Easyboot on the left, Cavallo boot on the right

I like the low profile design of the Cavallo boot. It just looks sleeker than the Easyboot. I am concerned how it will be on grass however. The bottoms do seem quite slick! Time will tell and we will be putting lots of miles on both boots…

Easyboot on the left, Cavallo on the right
Back View: Easyboot on the left, Cavallo on the right

A couple photos of the fronts of the boots and how the closures work:

Cavallo boot front
Cavallo boot front and closure
Easyboot front and closure
Easyboot front and closure

Here’s my beautiful model Sky and her new boots!

The CLB's!
The CLB’s!
Sky and her CLB's.
Sky and her CLB’s.

**EDITED TO ADD:

We used these boots for the end of fall and beginning of winter and wore a hole right through the bottoms. I contacted Cavallo because I wondered if this was normal. They sent me a new pair of boots and we wore through those in the same amount of time. They said my horse’s don’t have the right feet for their boots. Hmmm. We haven’t worn through the Easyboots. Bonnie finally did rip a pair of them after wearing them nearly 24/7 for almost a year. She was racing around and stepped on the back of the boot with her hind foot and ripped the boot off. I have since bought two more pairs of Easyboots and we love them! The Cavallo boots are incredibly slippery on wet grass and gravel. I do NOT recommend them at all.

The girls and I had a lovely walk today. It was a hot one and they both worked up a sweat, as did I! Sky was so funny because she kept trying to turn around and go home, but Bonnie was happy as a clam to be out walking. She had her ears up and trotted up the road without a hitch!

They both wanted to stop and take a break at the canal. They took a few minutes to talk to each other and look at the big horses that were following us up the road.

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Then we went on our way.

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We walked four miles today and did a little off roading as well! Both of their boots stayed on even though we were breaking through some very tough terrain. That sage brush is tall and really grabs you as you try to walk through it! We climbed a few big rocks and made our way through the field back to the road. There was no way I could handle both girls, watch where I was going and manage the camera so I’ll share this little video that I took when we were still on the two track road…

When we had a minute to stop and taste a bit of the grass growing I took a pretty picture of Bonnie.

Then a classic shot of Sky…

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She is always begging for cookies or kisses!

I’m so happy with how the girls did today. I haven’t taken them on a walk since we got back from Alaska on the 31st of August. They both listened well and didn’t miss a beat! It’s almost time for Sky to start pulling the travois… I can’t wait!!

The two girls and I have been walking about 4-5 times a week together for nearly two months. At the beginning I noticed that Sky was wearing her toes off a bit on the gravel road. She was a little tender on the rocks and as her toe wore down more she got more tender. I started looking into the Easyboot Mini Hoof Boot. I wasn’t sure about them. They look so thick and heavy and awkward.

Then I remembered that my mom saved the little mini hoof boots I had specially made many, many years ago for a little stallion I had that was very tender on the gravel and pavement. I dug through my stuff and found them! With a little trimming I got them to fit Sky and she went down the road merrily after that.

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This last week I noticed that Bonnie was getting quite sore on the rocks. She is a trooper and would just keep on truckin’ but she was gimping along. I trimmed her up and knew that she wasn’t going to be able to go out on the rocks without boots so I started looking into the Easyboot Mini Hoof Boot again. Again I thought they looked awkward. I could not find very much information about them anywhere on line. I googled miniature horse boots and found lots of pictures of minis wearing other types of boots but not many of these particular boots. I found photos of minis wearing the Easy Boot Epic style, but they don’t come quite small enough for my minis.

When I finally made up my mind I went to Valley Vet Supply to buy a pair of size 3 boots. Of course they were out of stock! I contacted Easy Care and they told me I wouldn’t be able to get a pair until the end of August! Well with only 4 days off Bonnie has gotten quite chubby again and I knew I couldn’t wait until then. I searched around and found a pair on eBay. Thank goodness! I had to laugh that I went from not really wanting a pair to frantically searching everywhere for some!

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They came in the mail yesterday and after unpacking them I was quite impressed! They are tiny. The soles are quite thick, but they are not heavy. In fact they are lighter than the other boots I have that Sky has been wearing. The uppers of the boot are very soft. I think they will squish down a little bit on the back of the boot under the pastern. That is where they come up a bit higher than I would like. They are very easy to put on and take off, yet they stayed in place perfectly on our walk with lots of trotting and Bonnie climbing around in the tall grass on our breaks. She was climbing up and down the steep hills along the road looking for the best grass to nibble on and the boots stayed on perfectly! And they didn’t fill up with rocks or get cheat grass stuck in them. I love that part!

I’m not sure how they would be in the water. They don’t have drain holes, so I think they would fill up with water and possibly rub. When I took them off I noticed a little rubbing just above the coronet band on the front of her feet. I may have to wrap that part of her feet with some vet wrap, but I’ll keep an eye on that area. It may have just been ruffled hair.

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Bonnie LOVED them! After the initial awkward feeling of having something on her feet (she walked lifting her front legs up really high at first! I tried to get it on video but could not manage both horses, the ropes and my phone at the same time… LOL) she walked right out. She did a lot of trotting, which meant I did a lot of jogging. All good for us! Her ears were up the entire time and she was licking and chewing and blowing out a lot. I could tell that she was very happy to be out and with all her forward, clearly the boots felt nice on her feet! We only walked 3 miles this morning… I will work her up to 4-6 miles while wearing the boots. Even their slight weight is more than she is used to. I don’t want to sore up her shoulders and back.

On our first day with the boots I have to say I really like them. I’ll keep you updated as we put more miles on them!

**Edited on September 30th**

Well we’ve had these boots for two months and I can say that I still love them! Bonnie does great in them and we have put them through the WRINGER! We have climbed through sage brush, climbed a few big rocks and totally went 4 wheeling in them. The only thing we haven’t done is cross water!

I took a picture of them to show where the hoof sits in the boot.  The bottom of my thumb is where the bottom of the hoof sits. As you can tell it sits down inside the boot a bit making the sole not as thick as it looks:

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I have also made a few videos showing Bonnie walking in them:

The boots have held up very well to the hardships I’ve put them through. The stitching is nice and tight and they never fill with debris from our hikes. When we get home the only thing in the boot is Bonnie’s hoof!