Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pt. Reyes

Logan and I celebrated Thanksgiving and our 9 year wedding anniversary at Pt. Reyes this past weekend. We stayed at the Pt. Reyes Country Inn and Stables with our horses. It is the cutest bed and breakfast. Great breakfast, and the horses got to stay in a good sized paddock. We took Feather and Luigi. It was Luigi's first camping trip, and he was quite the trooper. He learned all about loading and unload from the trailer, wearing a blanket, baby strollers, bikes, elk, people, ocean, waves, sand, big hills, etc. He was quite the trooper. Logan rode him all weekend. Feather was perfect as always and a very good teacher for Luigi. At night, we visited some of the nicest restaurants and ate local, Marin county grown food. One night I had butternut squash and swiss chard lasagna and the next a pizza with Pt Reyes blue cheeze and spinich. For dessert one night I had persimmon sauce on top of cornmeal pound cake and buttermilk ice cream. Yum! That is the best part of Pt. Reyes - the food!!

On Thursday, we rode from Five Brooks to Fir Top via Greenpicker and Bolema trails. There was no one out there on Thanksgiving day.

On Friday we rode from Bear Valley to Arch Rock and the Coast Trail then up Fire Lane to Horse Trail. Busy day - lots of people. Clear weather. This section of trail on the coast trail from Arch Rock to Coast Camp is my favorite trail in the world.

On Saturday we rode from Pierce Point through the Elk Reserve to Tomalas Point. LOTS of people. LOTS of elk. Horses were a bit scared of the elk. More scared about going to the end of the world with the point - ocean everywhere. They felt like they were being trapped. Walked down to McClure's beach. Very pretty! Also visited the old Pierce Dairy.

On Sunday, we rode from Bayview around to Muddy Hallow trail then up Drake's View and rode on the Ridge trail. This was a great ride! We were the only trailer in the staging area, we hardly saw anyone, got great views of the ocean, and plenty of areas to move out in! Highly recommended. There was water and plenty of grass on the trail.

Photos are at: http://www.rosetrace.com/ptreyes08/ptreyes08.html

Yoga Classes

My Yoga classes start tonight at the Yoga Place in Georgetown, CA. http://www.yogaonthedivide.com On TUESDAYS at 6:00 pm, I will teach an open Sivananda Class. This is suitable for people already practicing yoga. On THURSDAYS at 9:00, I teach a beginning Sivananda class. This is for people new to yoga. The Sivananda method is a synergistic, classical yoga style that incorporates medition, relaxation, breathing exercises, and chanting into each class. To learn more about Sivananda yoga, go here : http://www.sivananda.org .

This Friday, December 5, I will be teaching the free community yoga class at 5:00. Come for class, then a potluck dinner at 6:30, and a talk about healing at 7:30.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Doomed WIld Horses have a Possible Solution

A Dramatic Rescue for Doomed Wild Horses of the West


Looking for Farm Animals

Looking for dairy goats and 2 pet goats. The dairy goats are for me and the pet goats are for the Yoga Farm (http://www.yogafarm.org/index.html) Probably you could get a tax write-off if you donated the pet goats because they are a non-profit. I would prefer Alpines for myself, and anything for the ashram. Let me know if you have any leads....

Also will take sheep and alpacas and I would take a milking cow as well....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yoga Training

My Yoga Training was amazing, I had a fantastic time and learned more than I ever fathomed. I will start teaching Classical Yoga courses soon (hopefully in Georgetown at the Yoga Place). Keep checking this blog and I will post my teaching schedule. I am available for custom, private classes, like Yoga for endurance riders and Yoga for hoof trimmers.

No New Clients

I am sorry to say that I am not taking on new trimming clients at this time, and I have really cut back my clientele. For the next 3 to 6 months, I am taking a break to allow my back to heal. I am still teaching and consulting, so if you are trimming on your own and would like a check up, I would love to help.

Boot Fitting And Shoe Removal Clinic

A Boot Fitting and Shoe Removal clinic will be on:
Saturday December 6 at 9:00 am - 4:30 ish
3047 Irene Lane
Greenwood CA 95635

Cost is $175 for PHCP students, $250 for non-PHCP students (all are

Please bring a chair, a lunch, and warm clothes. Be prepared to work
with horses - you will be fitting boots.

This is a clinic aimed at beginner - intermediate boot fitters.
Although some advanced techniques will be discussed, the aim of this
clinic is to familiarize students with all of the boots on the market
and how to fit them correctly.

Sunday morning from 9:00 - 12:00 will be an advanced boot fitting
clinic. We will demonstrate Equithane, Foaming for competition,
foaming for a custom fit, Heat Fitting, and Swiss Boot design. The
cost of this clinic is $150.

I will need 4 people to sign up for each clinic in order to hold it.
The maximum number of students will be 10 to make sure that people get
enough hands on experience with the horses.

Mentorship opportunities are available Friday and Monday.

Tent camping available on site. For "better" accommodations, look in
Georgetown or Auburn.

We will not have time to go out to lunch, so make sure you pack
something (perhaps even a potluck item to share).

To secure your spot in the clinic, please email me at
tracy@... and paypal money to tracy@... or send a

For anyone staying Saturday night, a complementary "Yoga for Hoof
Trimmers" class will be taught at 5:30.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Yoga Training

I will be gone October 4 - November 2 to the Sivananda Yoga Farm for Teacher's Training. It is in Grass Valley... I will come back a certified Yoga Instructor, and hopefully, my back will be feeling much better. Perhaps a new career? Maybe, but more importantly, a healed lower back. For more information: www.yogafarm.org

TRT - Big Meadow

On Sunday, Logan and I loaded the dogs PacMan and Smokey Mocha in the car and headed up to Tahoe. We parked at the Big Meadow trail head on the Tahoe Rim Trail and hiked for about 10 miles to Round Lake and Dardanelle's Lake. We had a lovely afternoon mountain rain shower come in. I really hope we get a lot of rain and snow this winter. The aspen leaves were fading to gold and the bushes were brightening to red. Lots of water in the creeks still, lots of water in the lakes. Lots of people hiking on Sunday, and lots of dogs. I can't wait to ride this section of the TRT with my horse, the footing is fantastic and the trail is so well maintained with lots of lakes and plenty of grass.

Photos: www.rosetrace.com/BigMeadow/BigMeadow.html

Echo Lake

Logan played hookie yesterday from work and we loaded up and took the horses to Echo Lake and the south side of the Desolation Wilderness. We picked up our friend Donna and her Spanish Arabian Venita on the way. We rode out from Echo Lake to Lake Aloha on the Tahoe Rim/ Pacific Crest Trail. The weather was perfect, the horses were perfect, and we had a blast. The leaves are changing colors quickly and we got a few good shots of the granite with the fall colors. This was a techincally challenging trail for the horses. Princess came with Logan, and I rode Feather. Princess is 22 and she handled herself wonderfully. She was very surefooted and even remembered to eat grass and dring plenty of water when it is available. We ended up just doing and out and back trip on the TRT/PCT trail and logged about 17.5 miles. The parking at Echo Lake is tricky for horse trailers. Good thing it was a Tuesday. I am going to try to talk Logan into playing hookie more often!

Photos are here http://www.rosetrace.com/EchoLake/EchoLake.html

Picayune Valley, Granite Chief Wilderness

We took a hike to the Granite Chief Wilderness and hiked through the Picayune Valley. This valley was unbelievably beautiful, quiet, and we think a great place to ride and camp. We took the dogs PacMan, Zelda, and Smokey Mocha (this was his first ever trip to a wilderness). Round trip we walked about 14 miles. The Aspen trees were spectacular and were just starting to have their leaves change gold for autumn. The trail we walked on followed the American River, so there was plenty of water for people and animals. Apparently there are petroglyps out there, but I was not able to find them. Bummer. The trip was an easy drive up past French Meadows Reservior and we parked at the Talbot Campgrounds. They have plenty of trailer parking for horses. Only downside is that it would be hard to make a "loop" ride here, it is basically just an out and back.

Here are the photos of the Granite Chief Wilderness. http://www.rosetrace.com/GraniteChief/GraniteChief.html

Loon Lake

Here are photos of Loon Lake located at the north end of the Desolation Wilderness. http://www.rosetrace.com/Loon08/Loon08.html We took Feather and Luigi. Logan rode Luigi on Luigi's first trail ride away from home. Notice the difficult terrain we choose for our little 4 year old.... We saw a bald eagle fly about 10 feet away from us as we were on the side of a cliff. So if you notice any random sky photos, look for the bald eagle. We rode out to Buck Island Lake, took a siesta, and rode back. Beautiful day, beautiful weather, perfect dog and horses!

Bryce Canyon Photos

Natalie Herman took photos at Bryce Canyon - you can see them here http://xprides.com/Bryce_2008/Bryce_2008.html. I am still kicking myself for misplacing my camera, which I found in the pocket of my windbreaker. Natalie's photos are gorgeous and they really capture the beauty of riding in Bryce.

Both of these photos were taken by her on the first day of the ride. THat was the warmest day. THe sky was so blue which made the rocks look so pink.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bryce Canyon

Feather and I completed 200 miles in 4 days at Bryce this past week. She was amazing and stronger than ever. We foamed on Easyboots and those worked okay, but 2 days we had a lot of rain and muddy trails, and those Easyboots were so slippery all over the trail I almost pulled them off and had her go barefoot, but I didn't. I misplaced my camera, so I don't have any photos, but I am waiting for friends to share their photos with me. These trails were some of the best in the world, I am certain. The views were out of this world, the trails, although rocky, were awesome to move out on, and the aspen trees were just magical. Totally worth the 2 day trip to Southern Utah, and I will do it again. On the way there, we overnighted at the fairgrounds in Ely, NV, and met a really nice local man who was the caretaker of the fairgrounds. He told me all about Ely. Then on the way back, we overnighted at a well maintained fairgrounds with big pens for the horses in Eureka, NV. My saddle worked fine, it is the Bob Marshall. One day my horse had a sore back, but it was because I had packs on the saddle that made it off balance to the right, so I had to compensate to the left, and I felt off balanced the whole day. Feather was a bit sore, but Crockett Dumas's Holy Water took out any soreness and the next day we were good as new. I'll post photos when I get some.

Equine Dentist

Nov 16 and 17 - Todd Jaynes, a student of Spencer LaFlure, will be in Cool, CA for an Equine Dentisty Clinic. He can look at your horse's teeth, and he will be giving a talk about Natural Balance Dentistry and how it is different than the traditional way. Cost is $150 per horse. Location TBA.

Please let me know if you are interested, and I'll get you signed up. tracy@hoofhelp.com

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bryce Canyon

Feather and I are off to Bryce Canyon in Utah on Monday for a 5 day 250 mile endurance ride. I am not planning on doing all 5 days, maybe just 3 days. I hope to go and just enjoy the land and maybe go out for a few good rides. It is a long drive I know, but I am so looking forward to seeing this beautiful country. http://www.nps.gov/brca/

So, I will be unavailable - Monday the 25th to Thursday, Sept. 4....

Finalist - Extreme Mustang Makeover

Lucy and I were finalists in the Extreme Mustang Makeover. Actually, we were in second place going in to the Freestyle Finals, and I didn't have a very good freestyle class planned, so we ended up in fifth place. Other routines included leaf blowers, pedestals, bull whips, swimming intertubes, etc. We did the best we could considering this was the first time in an arena for her! Each yearling there was absolutely amazing - each one was so well gentled and trained. You could have ridden each horse there had they been 3 year olds. As a matter of fact, most horses carried a saddle or bareback pad in the finals, and a few yearlings were carrying children on their back throughout the weekend. Each yearling was wild 90 days ago, and they all looked like seasoned competitors there. I was blown away. We were scored on body condition, muscling/coat condition, manners, and then a trail course in hand. I hadn't practised trotting in hand with her head next to my shoulder, so we learned this the night before. SHe did fantastic in the trail course in hand, loaded in to the trailer like a champ, backed, and went over the trotting poles beautifully. We fudged the trotting of a serpentine in hand.... and fudged it again in the freestyle.... We'll work on that!

The only problem was, for the adoption, it was a silent auction and then a live auction to close the bids on the horses, and there were only 3 adopters!! The winners didn't even get adopted! Most trainers took home their horses, like me, but a lot of horses went back to Palomino Valley. That was so, so sad, especially for the youth whose parents wouldn't let them keep their horses. We all did this to help promote the mustangs and place them in good adoptive homes, already gentled, but there was no one that wanted these babies. What a shame. It must be the economy and the price of hay. I lucked out and got a beautiful, athletic filly out of the deal, but I didn't really need a 5th horse.

I have to thank all of my helpers at the show - my clients Kelly (who let me borrow her beautiful show clothes) and Tamara, my friend Leslie and her neighbors, and then my other friend Shannon who helped me groom Lucy and clipped her mane up beautifully! And Trina who let me borrow her hat and show shirt. Thank you THank you Thank yoU!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Epics v. Renegades

I had another question in email regarding Epics/Bares versus Renegades. This may be a topic I should avoid writing about, but I find myself going through this conversation every time I fit a horse for boots. So I thought I would write it up for your help in fitting boots.

It depends on the fit of the boots and the shape of the hoof. If a horse "needs" a pad (i.e. pathological hooves, laminitis, navicular, just out of shoes, bad thrush, etc.), then definitely go with the Epics/Bares. If the gaiter on the Epics/Bares rub, then go with the Renegades. For hind hooves, I recommend Epics or, preferably, Bares.

The Renegades are really easy to put on, for the casual trail rider or an arthritic person, I recommend the Renegades. The Renegades have great traction too, but they come in limited sizes, and I find are harder to fit on big-boned horses. I love them for Arabians for sure! They seem to fit perfectly every time. I struggle with the fit on bigger boned horses, or horses with pathological, flared hooves.

Any horse that is sensitive and prone to rubbing, go with the Renegades.

Also depends on mileage. The Renegades last about 500 miles and the Epics will go about 1000 miles or more.

Your horse will tell you. Many people own both the Renegades and Epics/Bares and switch them out. Both the horses and riders have a preference, but it is usually based on fit - which boot fits the best will affect the way your horse moves.

You have to put them on correctly as well. This is very important for any boot!!!

Best to work with an experience boot fitter to identify what boot is best for your horse and how to install the boot properly. Their experience is worth it because you will save a lot of time, money, and energy on fitting boots.

Just my experience .... what do I do for my own personal horses? I own both for each horse and it just depends what I am doing and where I am going. I have success with both brands. However, I do have 2 gaiter challenged horses that if I want to use Epics/Bares, I have to wrap them with duct tape or use a sock, and that leads to more labor, so I typically stick with the Renegades on those two sensitives girls.

Proper Horse Nutrition

Pete Ramey has posted a new article on Equine Nutrition and how it affects the hoof. http://www.hoofrehab.com/diet.htm

After reading it, if you are wondering where to test your hay, go here to EquiAnalytical. Also, Dr. Kellon's Web Site is: www.drkellon.com . I am going to sign up for this online equine nutrition course, it sounds amazing.

Sally Hugg, a trimmer in the Orroville, CA area (Northern CA) has done a lot of testing of hay in Northern CA. They all come back with similar profiles - we are deficient in Selenium, Copper, and Zinc. She has created a custom mineral blend for horses in Northern CA called CA Trace Plus. I always carry bags of these minerals in the car with me. I also suggest adding a teaspoon of salt and CocaSoya Oil from Uckele (this provides Omega 3, 6, 9 and Vitamin E). This works well mixed into Beet Pulp (no molasses), Timothy Pellets, or the Parelli Grain Mix (Barley 30%, Oats 30%, Wheat Bran 30%, Sunflower Seeds 10%)

Definitely take the time to read Pete Ramey's article - it will really help you sort through labels and what your horse needs. Even though you may be feeding a multivitamin, your horse may still be deficient in some minerals and getting too much of other minerals.

Lake Play with the Mustangs

When it is warm in the afternoon, I like to take the horses up to Greenwood lake, which is about a half mile from my house. The girls love to swim, roll, and paw in the water. Here is a photo of Feather rolling - I was on her bareback and was in the process of jumping back on her in this shot. For a gallery of photos of water play - go here.

Harvest Time

We are harvesting a bunch of veggies from our garden... corn, carrots, squash, kale, watermelon. I like being a vegetarian and eating what we grew in our garden. Very tasty! For lunch we had butternut squash and tomato soup with sage and quinoa... and for dinner we are having eggplant hummus. To supplement what we grow in the garden, we also get a box each week from the Capay Valley Farm with fresh organic fruits and veggies.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lucy Update - Extreme Mustang Makeover

Okay, Lucy is ready. She has her health certificate, she trailers, ponies, walks through water, swims, walks over tarps, does cavaletti, picks up her hooves, etc... she is ready to compete! Attached is a photo Logan took a week ago. The competition is August 15 at the Wild Horse and Burro Expo at the Reno Events Center.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Equine Ulcers

So what am I doing on my summer vacation??? Dealing with Equine Ulcers in Princess and Annie. I have learned a ton. A lot of horses (like 70%) have them, especially endurance/performance horses. Bottom line is that if you have a horse that is showing mild colic, attitude, weight loss, not eating well, and stress, they probably have ulcers. Omeprazole (Gastrogard/Ulcergard) is the best way to treat the ulcers. I have been doing a Maalox/bellysoother type treatment for years, but I am to the point that I have to do the full dose of Omeprazole for 28 days on both horses. The bad news - it is anywhere between $35-$45 a DAY per HORSE to treat. Hmmm.... you can see my hesitation and my willingness to look for alternatives. I found an alternative - generic omeprazole - 3 dose syringe for $9.75 a tube. Oh my goodness. You need a perscription from your vet, or they can call and ask. http://www.myprecisionpharmacy.com - it is a realible phamacy in Bakersfield, CA. So far after a week of treatment, the appetites are up and the stress levels are down. I would like to treat Feather next, or at least do the 1/4 dose treatment before we go camping. She is not showing too many symptoms, but she does yawn a lot and make funny faces with her mouth, which could be a sign of belly discomfort and ulcers.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fourth of July Weekend

The Gold Country ride was canceled due to poor air quality. The smoke in the air is horrible. Hard on the horses and dogs, not to mention people. We loaded up Princess and Annie and 2 dogs - Pacman and Zelda, and headed upcountry to Tells Creek and camped for the weekend. The air quality was so much better up there, only Friday morning was it a bit smokey, otherwise, it was clear. We took a ride to Shadow Lake on Friday, then went into the Desolation Wilderness on Saturday up the Red Peak Stock Trail to Lake Number 3, 5, Lost Lake, Barnett Lake, and then down the Two Peaks Trail. Stuart and Gary joined us for that day ride. There were quite a few trees down, we were definitely the first horses up there this year. Thanks to Gary, Stuart, and Logan, horses can now get up into the Wilderness.

Then Sunday, Britt joined us for a ride to the 1942 Air Plane crash. I can't remember what kind of a plan it was, but it had something to do with WWII. And it cashed out in the Wilderness, and still remains there today. Then we rode the Bassi Creek Loop back to camp and headed home. We hated leaving as we were heading into really smokey air at home.

As for boots, Logan rode in the Renegades all weekend with no problems at all. The first day, I rode in Renegades, no problems. Then I used Epics on day 2 and 3. On day 2, I vet wrapped under the Epics to prevent rubbing. This worked okay, but the buckles kept opening up on all of the rough rocks. Then Day 3, I used duct tape under the Epics to prevent rubbing. I liked this better than the vet wrap since it didn't bunch up. But the buckles kept coming up again. If I used the cotter pins, maybe that would help. Or Renegades, they didn't have a problem... and they fit well.

Photos: http://www.rosetrace.com/TellsCreek708/TellsCreek708.html

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gold Country 30

Logan and Annie, Princess and I will be at the Gold Country ride this weekend. I will be sponsoring a junior rider, Lexi Hall. Just doing the 30 miler. The trail is a little different this year, so I am looking forward to it. We'll be going down to Traverse Creek, and doing the Enchanted Forest. Not sure what I am doing yet for hoof protection, but my gut says that I am foaming on Easyboots. Princess just rubs like mad on the gators, but maybe I'll wrap her with vet wrap and duct tape. Hmm. These are the things I ponder at night.

Successful Booting Clinic

Sunday was another successful booting clinic here at my farm in Greenwood. We had 4 students of the PHCP (www.pacifichoofcare.org) from all over California, and one student from Maui, HI. They learned the Pros/Cons to each of the boots on the market, learned how to properly size and fit the boots, when to choose each brand of boot, and how to modify them. In the afternoon, they got a lab section where they had to fit each of my 4 horses properly in boots based on specific scenarios - like Princess pretended to have navicular, and Luigi pretended to be a reiner that goes on the trail occasionally, etc. It was fun, nice to have such great people out. I am so jazzed that there are more barefoot trimmers getting certified! This is so great for the horses.

Extreme Mustang Makeover - Lucy Update

We are about half way through the Extreme Mustang Makeover, and Lucy is doing fantastic! She lives in a big pasture, gets haltered, lead, hooves picked out, fly mask on/off daily. Lucy has been all over the trails, she is a very confident trail horse. She swims at Greenwood Lake, rolls in the water, plays with it. She walks through creeks, over downed trees, through brush, no worries. I am confident that she will make someone a very nice horse. And if she doesn't get adopted, I don't mind one bit keeping her for my own.

A Break....

I am starting my one month break today.... my back feels better already. I will be going to Yoga everyday, getting massages and going to the chiropractor and acupuncturist. Want to be healthy when I start trimming again in August. I will be in and out of town all month, going to some endurance rides, like Gold Country this weekend, and doing the Tahoe Rim Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. I'll keep you updated on my adventures!

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Blog for the Tahoe Rim Trail

I think I might get overboard with the information that I will provide for the Tahoe Rim Trail for horses... so Logan and I created a new Blog specifically for doing the Rim Trail with your horse. Here you go - we will update it as we do each section and let you know where to park, camp, and how it goes for horses.


Tahoe Rim Trail - Brockway Summit to Tahoe City - June 22

In the morning, we packed up our horses from our camp spot at Spooner Summit and headed to Brockway Summit. We pulled off on the dirt road right about 1/8th mile past the TRT trail head parking on 276 at the top of the Summit - it has some antennas, weather stations, and leads to Robie Park. We found a good vacant lot that had a Sierra Pacific sign on it and parked in there, about 100' from 267. We were the only vehicle at 8 am on a Sunday.

We saddled up and headed towards Tahoe City. This time, we did not drop provisions as we heard there is plenty of grass and water in the Truckee River. But we did pack lots of water again, for fear there may not be much on this segment either.

The trail winded through lovely forests that gave us sporadic, but majestic, Lake views. Within 5 miles, we can to Watson Creek which provided the horses with water and grass and a break. So far, the footing has been nice forest floor - dirt - with moderate grades, so we trotted a bit more on this section since it is a lot longer at 19.2 miles. Within a mile or so, we arrived at Watson Lake. We didn't stay long since the horses and PacMan both had a good drink and break at the creek. I noticed a turn off trail between the creek and the lake, and I though this was the trail that would connect you to Robie Park. Yes, that was the case when I looked at the map afterwards. That would be a fantastic place to park if you didn't want to do the whole 165 miles as Logan and I intend.

After Watson Lake, the high spot for the day, we went downhill for a while and started to see more bike traffic. Turns out that this is one of the nicest places to bike on the whole TRT. I can understand that as the footing and grades for the horses was fantastic as well. The view of Lake Tahoe were so amazing as we switchbacked down.

At the headwaters of Burton Creek, we found more green grass and a few water holes. I am afraid if you wait a few more weeks that water will disappear. Heading towards Painted Rock, we got the most spectacular views of the Truckee River Canyon, and Squaw Valley, and Granite Chief and the rest of the Crystal Range. The granite on the mountains is so massive.

Coming around Cinder Cone we encountered some of the most rockiest trail I have ever seen. Shale, pumice, lots and lots of smaller rocks. I took lots of photos so that you can see for yourself. I didn't boot up PacMan because he looked fine over the rocks, but at the first sign of soreness, we were ready with his boots. The rock section is probably about 3-4 miles long as you head into Tahoe City, and I mean it is rocky. Good thing each horse had on Epics on all 4 hooves.

Once we arrived at Tahoe City, we headed towards the Truckee River to get water, but we noticed that HW 89 was in the way. So I found a nice grassy area and let the horses eat. Logan got in the cab and had the rig back within an hour. Cab ride cost $50. A lovely woman who lives near the trail head stopped to talk with me the whole time Logan was gone, and she helped hold the horses and get them untacked. Then we headed home after a quick bite to eat.

This section was started at 8:30 and finished at 4:30. We walked through the rocks, and trotted some on the good footing. I just really love the views so we went slower than some would take it. TONS OF WILDFLOWERS this time of year!

Dogs: PacMan did fine. We carried water for him and offered it to him every hour. We took a couple 30 minute breaks in the middle for him to rest. I though he woul have a problem on the rocky section, but no worries. Of course, he has a gravel driveway and a lot of the trails we ride on are graveled, so his pads are really tough. I would recommend dog boots for the rocky sections for most dogs.

Other Trail Users: Lots of Mountain Bikes. Maybe 30? Limited hikers, perhaps 10?

Photos: http://rosetrace.com/BrockwayTahoeCity/BrockwayTahoeCity.html

Tahoe Rim Trail - Kingsbury North to Spooner Summit - June 21

We arrived at Kingsbury North staging area around 11am on a Saturday. The parking area was pretty full, but we managed to park our rig on the side of the road. Would not have had much room for any other horse trailers. Or, if you get there earlier, yes there would be room for probably 4 or so. All we did was tack up the horses, and start riding to Spooner. The plan was to ride the 12.2 miles to Spooner, call a cab, have Logan take the cab back to Kingsbury, and then move the rig to Spooner and spend the night there. On our way in the morning, we stopped by Spooner with our rig and dropped off some hay and water for the horses to eat while I had to wait for Logan to come back with the trailer. I figured it would take about an hour, so we just dropped one flake of hay each and about 15 gallons of water.

The trail was gorgeous! Incredible Views of the Lake! We went really slow, i.e. walked and ate a lot of grass, so that the humans could enjoy the surroundings. It took about 5 hours at a really slow pace to get to Spooner, but the footing for 2/3 of the trail was really great and could be trotted. 1/3 of the trail was granite boulders and rock gardens, technical rocks. But nothing 'too hard' for the horses. I would suggest a savvy trail horse for this whole trail. The view at the top of the ridge was breathtaking.... There was a thunderstorm passing through, so the wind was also strong up there. Still had some snow off to the side of the trail on June 21, but the horses licked it and got water. There were NO WATER SOURCES on this trail!! Pack your own water, and water for your dog. Plan to drop off water at the finish line, as there is not a hose or a water tap at the staging areas either. Lots of wildflowers! The grades of the trail were moderate, you had steady, consistent climbs, nothing too steep. It was about 1600' up in 6 miles, and about that same height down spread over another 6 miles.

So when we get to Spooner, I called the cab. The cab company said, sorry, road is closed in S. Lake Tahoe for a street party, we can't get you until at least 8:30. Oh no.... what to do? Ride back another 12 miles? Reasonable for the horses, but our dog would have liked a break. Well, I kept calling and found a cab out of North Lake Tahoe to come and pick us up. It took Logan and hour and a half just to get back to the rig because of traffic on the road and cost $80. So over 2 hours later, the trailer arrived and we got the horses tucked in for the night. I should have left more water. There was green grass everywhere, but not enough water. The sky had been threatening all day, and it was raining just a little bit here and there, but passed by the time Logan arrived.

We set up camp in a big open area about 200' from the HW 50. We were the only ones there. To get to the landing, drive about 1/8th of a mile past the Spooner TRT Trail head, and make the first right turn onto a dirt road, and follow it straight up the hill. The turn is right after the divided highway begins. Tons of room for horses! When you leave in the morning, back your rig down the hill so that you can pull through to the TRT staging area to easily make the left turn out onto HW50.

Other Trail Users: This was a Saturday, so it was busy. We passed about 15 mountain bikes and about 20 hikers. There are OHV trails all around the Rim trail, so make sure your horse is accustomed to the noise of motorcycles.

Dogs: Pacman did fine on this section. Take lots of water as there was not even a puddle for him to drink out of. Very little small rock for the pads, the rocks that are out there are boulders which he did fine on. We started him out in doggy boots, but he was not moving well, and I think he got overheated in them (dogs sweat and cool off through their pads), so we took them off and he did much better. He did carry his back pack with water and first aid kit.

Photos: http://rosetrace.com/KingsburySpooner/KingsburySpooner.html

Friday, June 20, 2008

Extreme Mustang Makeover Update

Lucy is now turned out in the big front pasture, and is easy to catch. We took her on her first big walk off of the property yesterday evening, and she loved it. She was very calm, her head down, licking, chewing, blowing out of her nose, and eating grass. We went for a couple miles and even ran into neighbors, cows, tractors, and cars. She is very athletic, sweet, confident, and pretty.

Tahoe Rim Trail

Logan and I are making our maiden voyage on the Tahoe Rim Trail this weekend. We are doing 2 sections - from Kingsbury North to Spooner and then Brockway to Tahoe City. We are doing these 2 sections because they are not under snow, and they have been cleared of trees. We'll take lots of photos and let you know how it goes. We plan on doing point to point rides, and then calling a taxi at the end to pick up Logan. He will then go get the trailer to meet me and the girls. This should be fun! We will be using 4 hoof boots with gaiters for extra protection on our horse's hooves. PacMan, our Border Collie, is coming too. He will be doing the trail in boots as well. He doesn't like his boots, but hopefully, he'll adjust to them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gluing vs. Gaiters

Another question: "As long as you're on the hoof boot subject, please tell me about gluing the hoof boot onto the hoof vs. using a gaiter. Is there a reason one would be preferred over the other at any given time? I've noticed the gluing is more common on the endurance rides. What about conditioning rides? How difficult is it to remove the hoof boot with the glue?"

My answer:

The reason I foam on my boots for multidays is two-fold -

1. I don't want to wake up earlier to put the boots on (especially when my horse is ready to go!!) and take the boots off every night. I put them on the day before, and do not have to worry about them all week.

2. Anything above the hairline has the potential to rub, so by foaming on the boots, you eliminate all possibilities of rubbing. This is particularly important over lots of miles and lots of days.

For conditioning, I use gaiter boots. I usually just use front boots, and put them on before the ride, and then pop them off after the ride. This gives me flexibility to use all the different hoof boots on the market....

A foamed on boot can be difficult to remove, you need to loosen it with a screw driver, then pry it off. And then pull your foam out of the boot.

Karen Chaton's blog has detailed instructions on how to foam, and how to remove the boots. Here is a link, search on foam: http://easycareinc.typepad.com/karen/

A downside to foaming is that thrush grows in that anaerobic environment, so make sure you clean the hooves, and try a piece of gauze in the frog with a thrush medication on there (Natalie Herman's trick).

Another down side is that once they are one, they are on - this has been a problem at 3 different rides for me. I have foamed on Easyboots, but then it rains. The Easyboots don't do great in mud, but the Grips do. I would have liked to pull off the Easyboots and put on the Grips, but I didn't because it is a bit of a process to remove them.

Bottom line - Gaiters for training, foam for multidays, and your choice for the one or two day rides!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Comfort Pads

I got a question in email: When should I use pads? How would I know if I should use them on my horse?

I thought I would post my answer.

"Always!!! On every horse! No questions, they can do no harm.

The real reason, to prevent peripheral loading of the hoof wall. If your hoof wall is raised above the sole, and is put into a flat boot, there is no way for the hoof wall to sink into the hard rubber of the boot. Therefore, it is just as good as using a rim shoe - the sole and frog and bars are not getting the impact because the hoof wall is not sinking into the boot, like it would on dirt naturally. If you put the pad inside the boot, then the hoof wall can sink into the foam, and the sole, bars, and frog will get stimulation from the pad. It is also more shock absorbing, and creates a perfect insole for a better fit of the boots. I have also found that horses that have very sore heel areas because of thrush or under developed digital cushions move out superbly in comfort pads.

I don't use Epics/Bares without comfort pads. I personally like the thick flat pads, but some prefer the thin flat pads whereas others like the Dome shaped pads. Play around with them, I love the effects that pads have. Navicular horses benefit greatly from the frog support pads, and this comes in a system that owners can play around with.

For $8 a set, your horse receives so much benefit, that it is a no-brainer to use them.

Check out Pete Ramey and Dr. Bob Bowker's work on blood perfusion and how much greater the blood goes into the hoof when you introduce a pad into the boot."

I love comfort pads. These can be ordered directly from Easycare's website, or I carry them with my all the time. www.easycareinc.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lucy Update = Extreme Mustang Makeover

Lucy wore her halter for the first time today, willingly put her nose through it. I can pet her all over her body, including her teats, flank, and legs, and she follows me around. We are making great progress. She still lives in the round pen, I would like to turn her out in the front pasture once she is consistently haltering easily. She is so pretty, and has gorgeous action! And so sweet and tries so hard. She would make a great horse for anyone - very athletic.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fort Schellbourne

Feather completed all 5 days at Schellbourne! She was one of 11 horses total that did so. I was so, so proud of her. This was a very challenging ride - lots of mountain climbs, but that is right up her alley. We went just north of Ely, NV, and camped at the Schellbourne Pony Express station, next to the Schell Mountain range. There were wild horses all over this country, lots of stud piles, and a few wild horse sightings. Turns out, this was the White Pine HMA, and that is where Lucy, my little girl, is from. Small world. I did see a stud running out there with a similar color, I wonder if that was her sire or brother??? The most memorable days were day 3 and day 5. Day 3, we woke up to a rain storm, but at 9000' where we were heading, that means snow, and lots of it. So I bundled up as warm as I could, and started out in the rain. It quickly turned to snow at about 7000'. At lunch time, I had the opportunity to pull, but my core was okay, my toes were freezing as were my fingers, but I continued on. Feather didn't mind it too badly, she didn't go sideways or put her head down or ears back like so many horses did, she just pushed forward and got me over the pass in very windy, very cold, and snowy conditions. I don't have too many photos on that day because it was so miserable but I made sure to take at least one at the top.

Day 5 was a gorgeous trail, a new trail for the area. Dave Rabe cleared an old trail called the Ranger Trail that followed the ridge. What a magnificant trail - high up there - 10,000' elevation. Beautiful weather, but extremely windy. When we were exposed along the ridge, the wind was probably 70 mph, with gusts up to about 100 mph. No kidding. Our helmets were blowing off of our heads, and our horses were getting pushed. But the views were out of this world.

I foamed on Easyboots in the front and Bares without gaiters in the back and they stayed on the whole time. No boot issues at all. I cut out all of the heel straps, and completely cut out the back of the hind boots, but I left the lip on the front boots. I was more than pleased with their performance, I have to go out there today and try to pry them off, 10 days later.

Saddle issues - I didn't use my Freeform as I have wither clearance issues with it that I can't seem to solve. So I tried my Barefoot for the first 2 days and Feather had a slightly sore back both days. Brenda so nicely offered me a Bob Marshall to use, and that worked fantastic for Feather, and good for me! So I just ordered one for us, and I found a new home for the Barefoot.

Feather had great friends - Laney Humphrey's Dino and Feather rode together and were partners in crime - they did great together, and then Terri Tinkham's Oliver would get Dino and Feather to move faster. We had a great time on the trail together.

I have never done a ride like that before, but I will say it is a lot of strategy, organization, planning, and taking care of both your horse and yourself. Every night, I took a hot shower, I ate well, took my NCD drops and Agrigold and Joint formula from Waiora. My body felt great, I had very little stiffness and was able to get focused even in the worst of the weather conditions.

Photos can be viewed at: http://www.rosetrace.com/schellborne/schellborne.html

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fort Schellbourne

I am leaving on Saturday to go to Fort Schellbourne, NV for a 5 day, 250 mile endurance ride with Feather. This is quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever done with a horse before. I am so excited. I am making all of my preparations right now.... Can't wait. My goal is to do all 5 days, but just going there I'll be thrilled. I won't have cell phone or email for at least a week, so I apologise ahead of time if I don't get back to you quickly.

Fort Schellbourne

I am leaving on Saturday to go to Fort Schellbourne, NV for a 5 day, 250 mile endurance ride with Feather. This is quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever done with a horse before. I am so excited. I am making all of my preparations right now.... Can't wait. My goal is to do all 5 days, but just going there I'll be thrilled. I won't have cell phone or email for at least a week, so I apologise ahead of time if I don't get back to you quickly.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wet Wild West

Princess and I had a successful ride outside of Nevada City this weekend. We rode 30 miles on Friday throughout the Tahoe National Forest. My friend Donna and her horse Venita joined us. The weather was mild, with a couple of drops of rain in the afternoon. Princess did so well, she ate and drank much better than at American River. She likes to go fast and has a very nice ground covering trot and likes to do little sprints of canter/gallop, especially uphill. She is a very strong 22 year old. I am so proud of her. We wanted to do all 3 days of Wild West, but a big rain storm came through in the middle of the night and was supposed to stay all weekend. In the morning, the place was wet, Princess was shivering, and the trails were slippery. We decided to go home and wait for another ride. We were only an hour from home, so that was an easy decision. I was impressed with how many people actually rode, including my friend Rachel Neppl. Rachel invided me and Feather to join her on the Bryce Canyon Ride later in the summer. I can't wait. And it turns out I may be going to Fort Shellbourne after all. I think I found a ride with a neighbor. We can share gas.

Extreme Mustang Makeover Update

I have my wild horse - she is about 10 months old, liver chestnut with a white blaze and 2 hind socks. She is a right brain extrovert. Very curious, but also cautious. I have had her for one week, and she is currently following me around the round pen, eating hay out of my hand, and I can rub her neck and her withers and face with a carrot stick. I have spent the night out with her a couple times, and she lays down right next to me at night. That is so special. I have named her Lucy Sky Diamond, and call her Lucy. She has a beautiful white diamond like marking on her face. She has gorgeous movement and looks like an athlete. She spent the majority of her life in the wild outside of Ely, NV and was gathered in December.

So I took Britt Porter with me to help me pick her up, and she was so excited, that she signed up for the Mustang Makeover too. Her baby is a bay with 4 white socks and a blue eye. She shows signs of either roaning or greying out. Her baby was born in captivity and has come along very quickly. They are haltering her and leading her already. Amazing!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wild West

Princess and I are off to the Wild West ride the weekend at the Skillman Campground outside of Nevada City. We are planning to do 2 days, a 30 and a 35. I foamed on Easyboots all 4 hooves. Looks like a good foam job. Rain is expected, so I am taking rain gear. This is great news! Keep down the dust. The EDEFT fun ride is on Sunday, and Logan would like to go, so I am going to head home Saturday night to do the fun ride with him on Sunday at Dru Barner.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Letter To My Clients...

Dear Clients,

I love taking care of horse’s hooves and seeing my clients have success with their barefoot horses in different venues. For years, I have stayed injury free and haven’t had any physical limitations to helping you with your horse’s hooves. However, I recently received a whiplash type injury that I have been very slow to recover from and with a full client load, I have been unable to set aside time to heal. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I think I have to cut back on my work load. I am really sorry, I love each of you dearly and I hate to do this, but I want to continue trimming for years, and I am afraid at my current workload, I will not be able to. Because of my injuries, I cannot trim more than six horses a day, no draft horses, and no miniature horses. I am sorry.
Ideally, I should cut back on the over all number of horses that I trim. I cannot decide who – I love you all - so I am letting you, the clients, decide. I am going to raise my prices starting June 1. The prices will be as follows:
Maintenance Trim (Under 6 weeks or longer with client trimming) - $70
Overdue Trim (7 week plus without client trimming) - $85
New horse initial trim - $100 – includes shoe removal and boot fitting
Thanks to the price of gas, I also need to charge a travel fee. The schedule is as follows:
Cool/Pilot Hill/Greenwood/Georgetown – No Charge!!
Cool Staging Area/ Cronin Ranch – No Charge!!
Coloma/Kelsey/Auburn Area - $10 per location
Placerville North of 50 - $15 per location
Placerville South of 50 - $25 per location
Loomis/Applegate - $25 per location\
These charges apply to horses in a specific location, so the more horses in one location, you can divide the travel charge up to lower the per horse charge. If I trim in a neighborhood where everyone is close, like Arrowbee or Luneman, then I will split the charge between neighbors. Also, feel free to trailer your horse to Cool or Cronin for me to trim there if you would like to avoid the trip charge and get a trail ride in as well.
I will be offering training clinics to help my clients learn how to trim in between my visits. Someone must trim every 3 to 4 weeks with a rasp – I can tell this the way a dentist can tell if you have flossed. That should empower to you learn more about your horse’s hooves while lowering the affect of my price increase on your budget. If you are interested in this, the pre-requisite reading is: Making Natural Hoof Care Work for You by Pete Ramey. Also, his DVD set is outstanding and can be purchased at www.hoofrehab.com . Totally worth the money if you are serious about maintaining your horse’s hooves. Please let me know if you are interested. For tools, purchase a new rasp with a rasp handle, a loop knife or hoof knife, gloves, and a hoof jack. You should not need nippers if you trim every 3 weeks or so.
The month of July will be a recuperating month for me, so please take this opportunity to practice trimming on your horse, or make other arrangements for hoof care. In July, I will not be trimming, but I will be riding the Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail. I am also in the Extreme Mustang Makeover and will be working with a wild horse. I am offering coaching sessions for horses and their owners and I am now taking in horses for starting and trail training.
I would love to be able to refer someone to you for trimming, but I cannot. You have quite a bit of knowledge yourself from listening to me trim, the reading you have done on your own, and the questions you ask, and I have faith that you will be able to care for your horses hooves in between my visits.
Warmest Regards,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Extreme Mustang Makeover

I am in the Extreme Mustang Makeover - Yearlings for the Wild Horse and Burro Show in Reno in August. I am so excited. I pick up my yearling this weekend. He will be wild, so I get to gentle him and start him on ground work. In August, I will compete with him in a trail course in hand and then he will go up for adoption. This will be a fun project for me. I can't wait to see him. We are busy getting the round pen all set up for him. He will have to pivot and backup and go into the trail and walk over poles. That sounds like fun! I'll post photos when he arrives.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Nevada Point Trail - Sunday, 11th

Name: Nevada Point Trail
Footing: dirt, leaf covered, with rocks supporting trail
Hoof Protection: Boots suggested
Condition: narrow, overgrown, strong wall of rocks supporting edge of trail in most sections, switchbacks are gorgeous - some of the nicest I have seen, nothing death-defying, passable via hiking and horseback
Grade: steep canyon - 2000 f00t decent in 3 miles, continuous.
How to Access: In Volcanoville, Donaldson Staging Area to Rubicon Trail to Nevada Point Trail
Number of visitors: A handful every year

Notes: 2 Bridges at the boot - one over Pilot Creek and one over Rubicon. THe one over Rubicon is washed out from the Hell Hole Dam collapse in '92. The one over the mouth of Pilot Creek is easily passable via horse back. There is a good grazing spot and a place to get water for your horse in the Rubicon River by the second washed out bridge. Lots of granite and boulders at the boot. Very old historic mining trail that continues on the other side of the Rubicon River. It would be fantastic to get a good ford crossing in the river for the horses to get across. The ride from Donaldson to the bottom is only about 4.5 miles, but tough. Great Tevis training for canyon practice. I hand walked my horse down, then tailed up about 1/2 of the way, then rode the rest of the way.

Recommended for a horse in good condition with hoof protection used to canyon riding.

Photos: http://www.rosetrace.com/NevadaPoint/NevadaPoint.html

Roanoake Trail - Friday, the 9th

A very historic mining route - this took miners over to Foresthill via Ford's Bar at the American River. This trail connects to the Western States Trail -Cal 2 area - on the other side of the River.
Name: Roanoake Trail
Footing: dirt, leaf covered, with boulders
Hoof Protection: Barefoot okay
Condition: narrow, overgrown, not much rock work to support the trail, switchbacks (10 of them) need some attention, nothing death-defying, passable via hiking and horseback
Grade: steepest canyon I have ever been on - 2000 f00t decent in 1.75 miles
How to Access: From Dru Barner, Bottlehill Road by shooting galary or steel desk
Number of visitors: A handful every year
Notes: Gorgeous beach and grass for your horse once you get down to the bottom. Otter Creek's connection with the American River is right there. If you cross Otter Creek, you can get to the other side of Ford's Bar and let the horse's graze and roll in the sand. There is a crystal mine on the trail and I picked a a gorgeous piece of quartz. Great Tevis training for canyon practice. I hand walked my horse down, then tailed up about 1/3 of the way, then rode the rest of the way.

Recommended for a horse in great condition, very strong on canyons and is sure-footed.

Photos: http://www.rosetrace.com/roanoake/roanoake.html

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Clients

I am currently only taking new clients that are in the Cool, Pilot Hill, Greenwood, and Georgetown areas.... trying to eventually only work on the Georgetown Divide. Save fuel.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

July Off

I am taking the month of July off to recover physically, travel, and ride my horse on the Tahoe Rim Trail. I am not going to the Parelli Center after all, but I am going to visit other trainers. I hope to come back with lots of new information and start training horses and coaching more. Carolyn Resnick and a few others are on my list to visit. I will make sure that all my customers have rasps, and that they know how to touch up the hooves while I am MIA... Pete Ramey's book is very helpful for this - Making Natural Hoof Care Work for You.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Barefoot Horse Wins 100

I got this in an email discussion group today:

A barefoot horse owned by Tom & Rita Swift and ridden by Lisa Williams won the Biltmore 100, with no boots. The 3rd and 4th finishers (Jeremy & Heather Reynolds) wore Renegade boots.

This is great news!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rubicon to Ralston Footbridge

There is a little know swinging suspension bridge that used to take miners and livestock over the Rubicon River between Volcanoville and the Ralston Ridge.... it is a suspension bridge that looks like it was updated in 1949 roughly. It is on a topo map, if you look really hard at the bottom of Rubicon Trail, there is a footbridge noted without any specific name. So Stuart, Gary, Logan and I set out on a journey to get to it via horseback. In theory, if we can get the horses across the bridge, it opens up the Ralston Ridge to us and a lot more trails. We could get over to the American River on the other side of the ridge and probably end up on the Western States Trail near Deadwood.

So Sunday we started out about noon. Weather looks fine, no need for any extra protection - or so we thought! The 2200' drop in elevation was pretty graduation. We meandered our way down, looking at the wild flowers in bloom, waterfalls, old mines, eating green grass (horses) and fiddleheads (people- thanks to Logan). Quiet, green, enjoyable. Good road with rocks, like one car width logging roads, but rocky. We passed the Nevada Point trail which we will probably try out next week which takes you down to the Rubicon in a different location to an old washed out bridge. With about 900' left in our decent, we got to Buckeye Flat trail that takes you the rest of the way down to the existing swinging bridge. The wide road was washed out and this was our only way down. It was a very narrow, switchback single track trail about 18" wide in some spots, and I don't think horses have been on that in many, many years. Gary and Stuart went down on reconnaissance to look for down trees and branches. They found a bunch, good thing they went first without the horses. Then I led us down the narrow, narrow trail. About 5 minutes later, a huge crash of thunder hit - I am scared to death of THUNDER!! But I just had to focus forward and get us off of the side of the mountain. Which I did, and then it started pouring... and continued to thunder and lightening. We still weren't at the footbridge yet. Still had about 500' left to decend. We got back on to a wider, but still single track trail, and followed it along until we decided to tie up the horses and go down on foot. Good thing we did because the trail was severly washed out in 2 places, and there was a strap of mountain climbing rope to help you over the area. I scooted down on my bottom for most of the journey. Turns out, there is a better trail down there that Gary explored on the way up, and looks good for horses, so we'll go that way next time. Keep in mind it is still raining, a nice, soaking rain. The bridge was gorgeous! Very safe for horses to cross, if they don't mind the feel of it swinging underneath their hooves. As I was crossing it, the skies were still thundering and I just kept thinking - I hope my mom doesn't know I am doing this!!

We tailed up out of the canyon, up the narrow fall off trail, and back onto the logging at which point we took off at a gallop and raced up. Buck and Gary won, followed closely by Annie and Logan, and Stuart and Miller. Feather and I stayed back aways, I think she knew my back way sore yesterday and she was taking care of me.... that, and with all the rain, it was humid, and she may have been overheated a bit.

As far as hoof protection - Feather was barefoot, Annie in front Renegades, Miller in Bares all 4, and Buck in steel. Everyone did fine, but there was a fair amount of rock to be aware of.

We staged out of Donaldson, and we got to admire the work of the trail clearing party the weekend before on the Volcanoville Tie Trail.

To see more photos of our journey, http://rosetrace.com/RubiconRalston/RubiconRalston.html

Poison Oak Relief

I get poison oak really bad - it is all over the trails and I am very sensitive to it. I have tried a lot of things - accupuncture, chinese herbs, technu, calamine, etc. I seem to have stumbled upon something that works. Daily, I take Oil of Oregeno, 2 Burdock pills, and 2 Vitamin C pills. Then if I have an itchy spot, I put Witch Hazel with Aloe on it. Although I perpetually am exposed to the oils, this combination has really helped my immune system fight off a reaction. I also like Ivy Itch ReLeaf. But it is expensive and I really think the Witch Hazel does just as good of a job with it.

For what it's worth.....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Another Use for Pam

So Princess is very sensitive in her armpits, when I ride her, I use Body Glide or Chamios Butter. Before our ride yesterday, I noticed all of my products were in the trailer, and I saw my spray bottle of Pam next to my hoof boots... So I tried it. I sprayed Pam all over her girth area and arm pits. No rubs, not even one line. Fantastic! This is much cheaper and easier to apply and lasts longer on the horse than Body Glide anyway. And she smells like butter....

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New People Shoes

So I noticed that my shoes have worn out - the inside support was very worn, forcing my feet to pronate a bit.... maybe that is why my back and my arches have been sore? I usually wear my Keens all day long, and I have had this pair for gosh, almost a year??? So I started doing some research on the internet, trying to figure out what brand would be best for me- maybe a pair for riding, and another for working? I was not sure. REI suggests Keens, then the shoe store in Auburn showed me New Balance, I wasn't sure about insoles, confusion! I wanted logic. I went to the Auburn Running Store, not sure if they would be able to help me, because I am not really a runner. I was blown away. First, I told him what I do and that I would prefer 1 shoe all day, no switching. He agreed that would be okay. Rather than pull out a specific brand to show me, he did a gait analysis on me!!! He first looked at my arches, then the width, then watched me walk, then took me outside to watch me trot, I mean run.... and he came back with a pair of shoes that are perfect for me based on the way my foot is designed and the way I move. I was so impressed! Hopefully my back will be less sore and I will have increased endurance with my new Vasque running shoes. I need to replace them every 6 months. Oh, insoles are needed only if these shoes don't fit me well.

I really recommend the Auburn Running Store if you are in need of a good shoe for yourself. Their information was awesome, and I have never had that kind of analysis done on me before.

During my information search, I came accross shoes called MBT - Masai Barefoot Technology. Helps your posture and less muscle fatigue. I might try these some day, but they are very expensive. http://www.swissmasaius.com/Default.aspx?lang=en-US

Monday, April 28, 2008

Booting and Shoe Removal Clinic

I am offering another Booting and Shoe Removal Clinic on Sunday, May 11, starting at 9:00 ending around 4:30. Please contact me if you would like to come and learn about how to properly fit and choose hoof boots for your horse. tracy@hoofhelp.com

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stumpy Meadows

Feather, Annie, Logan, myself, Stuart Porter, and Gary McFall took an interesting ride up to the Stumpy Meadows area today and rode mostly on Sierra Pacific and Forest Service land. It was another fast 20 miles. We tried to make a loop, but the snow pack on the north facing slopes kept us from crossing, so it was just a out and back along the south side of Stumpy Meadows and then the ridge line and into Pilot Creek. The trail was amazing - beautiful footing on forest roads that don't get any traffic. We were moving. The GPS said our high speed was 30 miles an hour. Wow. We followed the original Wentworth Springs Road before the dam and the lake were there, and got to cross the original bridge from the 1930s that took cars over Pilot Creek. Lots of snow, the horses loved to play, roll, and eat it. I did the ride barefoot on Feather, Logan used front Renegades, and Stuart used Bares all round. No boot problems. We parked on the side of Wentworth Springs Road because there is not a good staging area, but it was fine, the horses did fine. We got ready quickly, but we ended up having lunch on the side of the road and only saw a handful of cars. We'll have to go back in about 2-3 more weeks once the snow has melted to finish up the loop. The cool thing is that I really got a full tour of the water supply up on the Georgetown Divide - it starts in Pilot Creek, holds in Stumpy Meadows, and from there it enters an irrigation ditch (I got to see this last week out at the Donaldson area) that takes it into Georgetown via Lake Watson, and then into Greenwood Lake, right by my house, and into ALT.

Photos of the day - Click here

American River 30

Princess and I finished the American River 30. I am so, so proud of her!! She is 22 years old, but strong. She had 3 babies in the past 5 years, but she really likes trail riding! As a matter of fact, she was perfectly behaved the whole day, and I loved every second of the ride. It was the hottest day of the year, about 85 degrees, and the trail was technical - lots of boulders, rocks, gullies, and fall-off cliffs. The last 3 miles were so steep - the cardiac trail which takes you from the bottom of the American River up to Auburn in like 1 mile. I got off and tailed it. Princess had 4 Renegades on her hooves and they fit wonderfully and I never had to adjust the boots - not once - during the whole ride. Thank goodness, we have a good fit! No rubs, no twisting, they stayed in place, even up the really steep hill and through some mud bogs and over technical trail. I picked up my friend Donna and her horse Venita for the ride. Venita and Princess are best friends for life. They stayed together the whole ride. They camped well (Princess was curled up in the middle of the night on the ground), drank and ate okay throughout the ride. I don't think I have ever had a more enjoyable ride. Thank you Princess, Venita, and Donna! Oh, Venita did the ride barefoot! She is one of my trimming customers, I am so proud of her. I wish I had a photo to share, but I don't... if anyone out there does, please send it to me.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Boots Too Small

I have been checking every horse's boot fit. I have noticed quite a few horses that OUT GREW their boots!! Their heel areas have opened up, de-contracted, and the digital cushion has increased in size! This is great news for the horses. Only problem - boots are too small on these horses and their owners have to get a new set of boots. This seems to be happening in horses that are under 1 year out of shoes. Please don't try to scrunch your horse's hoof into the boots - I just saw a really bad heel bruise and rub the other day that was ugly. In some cases, I am taking back the smaller set of boots for credit towards a new set - if the boots have been used very lightly and I think I can resell them. If the tread is worn down, I am not taking them back, best to keep them for hind hooves, or sell them used on eBay. Whenever I sell boots after a shoe pull off, I will tell everyone that your horse may outgrow these boots in the next year, and be prepared for that.

Donaldson Staging Area

I rode out of the Donaldson Staging Area in Volcanoville today with Britt, Stuart, and Gary. Gorgeous parking area in the tall pine trees. We did about 15 fast miles and had a great time. Incredible views both directions - to the East, the Crystal Range, and to the West, the coastal range, Sutter Buttes, and Mt. Diablo. Views to Michigan Bluff, and the Ralston Ridge - Rubicon River and American River. No one was out there, beautiful footing, and even some snow. The drive was easy, and totally worth it. Got to see the irrigation ditch water that comes out of Stumpy Meadows, and some left over explosives from the mining days - as well as old flume pads. Highly recommended! Photos here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Radio Interview

I'll be on the radio tomorrow morning from 8 to 9am on a segment called "Horse Talk". I'll be talking about hoof boots and the natural hoof trim. The radio station is out of Georgetown, KFOK, http://kfok.org/. If you go to the web site, you can here me live over the internet anywhere you are. Cathy Rohm will be interviewing me, she has won the Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup. Call in and ask questions! 530-333-4300

Monday, April 7, 2008

Horse Coaching

I have started to coach horse owners on how to improve their "horse-human relationship". I am not calling this horse training, or "lessons", but how to strengthen the bond between you and your horse. How to increase your communication with your horse and how to build your own confidence and leadership working with your horse. We won't be talking about "heels down" or "half halts", but rather, how to get you back in the saddle in a confident manner, where you know your horse's personality, and you know how to deal with the "horse that shows up". Please contact me if you are interested - I will come to your place - I want to make sure that the horse's needs are satisfied before we demand anything of them - for example, social play (turnout with other horses) is so important for horses, otherwise, they might look to the human for rough horse-play instead of a buddy horse.

Nevada Derby

Logan and I just came back from the Nevada Derby 50 outside of Reno, NV. We both completed the 50. Logan rode Jake, Stuart Porter's mustang that finished Tevis a few years back. Annie got kicked in the barn the other day by Princess in the gaskin, and she was still sore. We had a blast - Jake and Feather were a perfect match! Same speed, same desire to eat and drink contantly on the trail. What wonderful horses we had. We saw a big horned sheep run accross the trail in front of us, and lots of stud piles from the wild horses in the area, but no sites of the horses. Jake is a perfect gentleman - we put the Freeform saddle on him for the first time for the ride and he loved it. Moved out great in it with no back issues at all. We are somehow managing to get holes at the stitching area of the new elastic gaiters on our boots unfortunately, and we are not pulling the gaiters too tight at all. It wasn't a problem during the ride, but when we pulled the boots off that had new gaiters (I am talking right out of the package), there were holes by the velcro. Can't re-use them, that is for sure. Jake had 4 Bares on, and Feather had Bare bottoms with Up buckle closures. I like the gaiters right before they put the elastic on them - those gaiters are still holding up and we are getting a lot of miles out of them. Will post photos when I get my scanner to work again.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Boot Fitting And Shoe Removal Clinic

The clinic was a success! We had 6 people from the PHCP - Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners - out to the ranch to learn about correctly pulling shoes, why to boot horses, what hoof boots are on the market, advantages, disadvantages, comfort pads, customization, repairs, foaming, equithaning, etc. We discussed most all the major brands on the market, including the Easycare boots, Renegades, Simple Boots/Deltas, Soft Rides, etc. I had a diverse audience from someone who had not put a boot on a horse's hoof to advanced trimmers that boot horses daily. It looked like some people went home overwhelmed while others were satisfied. All in all, a great day!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Luigi and Princess

An update on my other horses - Luigi has turned into a star on the trail. He is truly a champ and loves to go on rides. Logan rides him now. This weekend was his first long trail ride with Logan. He crossed a bridge and did a few very difficult water crossings without batting an eye lash, or breaking a sweat. We are really looking forward to him!! And he is not officially 4 yet... He wants to be the horse that gets chosen, I still think we have to be careful with how much we ride him because of his age.

Princess is my 21 year old broodmare - but no longer! For the past month, I have been riding her regularly. She had a fantatic walk, and a steady, confident trot on the trail. She has go! And is sound, and likes trail riding. So I have signed her up for the American River 30 next month. I trust her and feel very safe on her, even though she had a lot of go. I know she is older, but she is sounds, so I figure I'll ride her as long as she is feeling good and wants me to ride.

Boots Rubbing

If you even experience boot rubbing on the Epics or any Easycare product, put duct tape over the area on the boot. I actually like to put about 3 layers of duct tape. For example, some folks get rubbing on the front of the hoof by the dog bone connector. Cover that area with duct tape inside the boot. That should help!

Renegades are Open for Ordering

The Renegades can now be purchased by consumers online at www.renegadehoofboots.com

However, you should work with your natural hoof trimmer to make sure the fit is good, the boot is adjusted correctly, and the trim is natural.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jaime Jackson's New Video

Jaime Jackson just released video of his visit to Palomino Valley four days after they gathered a herd of horses in the winter time. He showed film of what the hooves look like on 3 horses. They put the horses in a stock that flipped over and the video camera was able to get really close to each hoof. The measured the hooves underneath and from the top. It is so interesting to see how the horse's hooves adapt for the winter environment versus the summer - there was more of a rim of hoof wall. The hoof capsules where very short, under 3" of length from the hairline. Frogs still looked hard and caloused, even with the wetter weather. I love seeing what horses can do with their feet, if given enough space to move and a natural diet and lifestyle. The hooves were gorgeous. If you have a chance, check it out on Jaime's web site www.jaime-jackson.com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bummer Weather

Logan and I were so looking forward to going to the Rides of March in Reno this weekend, but the weather is yucky. There will be snow over Donner Pass, and we are not going to take the risk with the horse trailer. So we will stay home. I was looking forward to this ride because it is in a new location where wild horses and antelope winter. Apparently there are beautiful meadows, plenty of water, and no motor vehicles are allowed inside the area. Sounds lovely, especially for a desert ride. Next ride for us - the Nevada Derby first of April.

New Gaiter Extender

The new gaiters from Easycare with the elastic are fantastic, the only problem is they are a little less stretchy than the old ones, still the same size. On most horses, it is not an issue, but on the bigger boned horses, like mustangs (ie Feather) and QHs, the velcro doesn't quite reach. So my good buddy Stuart Porter came to the rescue yet again. He devised a Gaiter Extender. He got 1.5" velcro (loop one side, hook the other side) and cut a 6" strip. Then he folded it in half - the harder stiffer side facing, and stitched it along the fold for stability. Then you are left with a perfect gaiter extender.

I believe Easycare is busy at work correcting this problem trying to find a material that is stretchier yet still strong. I did get new gaiters in the mail that were longer and work much better - thank you very much!!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Booting and Shoe Removal Clinic

I am offering a Booting and Shoe Removal Clinic for the PHCP - Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners - on March 30th at my house in Greenwood, CA. The cost is $175 for the day. The following is the outline of what we will be covering. This is geared towards professionals, but if you would like to learn more, and there are spots available, please come.

9:00 – 9:30 Introductions, coffee, breakfast, etc
9:30 – Why boots? In what situations? Without specific boot types yet.
10:00 – Shoe Removal Video and showing the technique – the “Secret”
10:30 – Specific Hoof boots
Show the boot
Pass it around
Which hoof shape
When to use it
What type of riding
How to fit it
Boots Covered – Epics, Bares, Boas, Renegades, Simple Boots, Old Macs Original and G2, Delta Boots, Swiss, EasySoakers, Easyboots and Soft Rides
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch – bring your own or go out
1:30 – Padding system
Thick Pads, Thin Pad, Dome Pads, Comfort Pad System, Shocktamers, Equithane, Gel Pads
How to use them, in what situations
2:15 – Easy Foam and Equithane info
When to do it
2:45 – Out to the Horses
Demo on showing how to foam on a boot
3:00 – Pull out all of the boots and put them on the horses
Find which boot fits each horse the best
4:30 – Wrap up and discussion

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Soul of a Horse

I just got finished reading the pre-release copy of A Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd by Joe Camp. Excellent. Joe approaches the subject of horse ownership from a logical standpoint, rather than following tradition. He questions the norm, always looks at everything from the horse's perspective. This is so refreshing, I found myself agreeing with so much of this book and it was great to see how questioning tradition and following logical arguments with horse care leads you to opposite ends of the spectrum as compared to traditional horse care. Barefoot horse trimming and natural horsemanship techniques were covered at lenght, but presented from the horse's point of view. Every owner, new and experienced, of a horse should be sent a copy of this book. I plan on purchasing quite a few of these books and loaning them out to all my horse acquaintances. The book will be released on April 29th, but you can pre-order it now from Amazon.com for a discounted amount. Joe Camp was the man who created Benji. He knew a lot about dogs, but nothing about horses. He got his first horse a couple years ago, and this is a story about his journey to find sense in caring for horses.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eastern Mojave - 155 miles

Feather and I completed our first multiday - 3 days in a row, 155 miles total. She did fantastic! Her back was great in her Freeform! For boots, we started out with 4 foamed on Bares/Easyboots with no gaiters, but we lost a front boot on day 1 and day 3, so we ended up with Epics on the fronts, foamed on Bares in the back. Next ride, I'll just start with the Epics in the front, not sure about the back hooves. The terrain was sand and rock, single track and roads through the desert. There was every type of cactus you can imagine.. Feather got a few needles in her hind legs and I had to pull them out - they were big! I learned that she needs interference boots on her hind ankles, so I bought those at the ride from Horses Dacor. I had the opportunity to ride with Les and Jill Carr and Tulip. Tulip has over 19,000 endurance miles, and Les over 40,000. I learned so much about pacing and taking care of the horses. They let their horses eat a lot on the trail, just how Feather likes. Also, they trotted for about 3 or 4 minutes, then walked for about 30 seconds. They kept up this pace throughout the whole ride, Feather totally dug it! Just as your heart rate elevates, come down to a walk and eat. I love it - I will practice it and get more confident with it. It won't win me any races, but I really just want to finish and see the terrain.

On Day 2, the trail was longer, 55 miles, and we finished after dark, so I got to ride in the desert in the moonlight. So cool! My body was very tired after day 2, but on day 3, I woke up feeling great. I felt even better after I took my electrolyte tablets. I will have to remember to electrolyte myself more often. Should help with the aches and pains.

I met Robin Hood and Vicky Giles. Hood is a mustang that has LOTS of endurance miles. He won Day 3 and got best condition! Go mustangs. He is a big boy, with lots of go.

Kirt and Gina Lander with Renegade Boots was there, we got to meet them and they helped us at the vet check. They also showed me how to correctly fit their boots. I really like their new wider captivator, it is very nice for the horses. They emphasized not tightening down the top velcro too much on the heel captivator, make sure their is a finger in the velcro when you tighten it down. Also, they stressed having a long enough foot bed for the hoof. I will double check everyone's boots to make sure the fit is correct.

Feather looks fantastic, and our next ride will be a 3 day at the Cuyama Oaks ride over Easter weekend.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mustang Adoption

The Warm Springs Correctional Facility in Carson City, NV held an adoption yesterday for prisoner trained mustangs and Logan and I attended. The program takes wild horses and matches them with a prisoner for 4 months. The prisoners work with the horses 5 days a week, 6 hours a day. These mustangs get a fantastic foundation - they are broke and trustworthy. The horses were so well trained - sidepass, back up, walk trot canter, flags, double riding, bareback, bridleless, riders standing in the saddle, crawling under their bodies. The horses were awesome with all the people and commotion.... I was so impressed and I highly recommend them for any type of rider. There were big horses, little horses, quarter horse type, hunter type, endurance horses, colored and plain horses, a horse for everyone. The sad part was that there were not enough buyers, some horses went for $200!!! The highest horse (a black quarter horse type) went for $2300. The average price was about $1000, but a lot were around $600. You can't get a month of training for what a new horse with 4 months of training went for. To read more about this program, http://www.mustangs4us.com/prisonhorses.htm. The next adoption is in June, and if you are at all considering adding a horse to your collection, go to this adoption and just see what kinds of horses are there. A lady from LA came with her trailer to get an endurance horse. She got a really nice one for $800. I hope to see her at the Tejon ride in September with him. Great hooves on all the mustangs, and ready to hit the trail.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Eastern Mojave Scenic Ride Next Week

Logan and I are heading down to the Eastern Mojave ride next week between Barstow and Las Vegas. It is a 3 day ride over President's Day weekend. Annie and Feather look great, hope to do at least 2 days of it, the girls will tell us how they feel. Not sure what we are doing for boots yet, Logan is leaning towards his Renegades, and I may try out the new gaitors on Epics.

New Gaitors

There is a new gaitor design from Easycare that is ready and in production - the gaitors do not have any stitching on the inside neoprene so less chances of rubbing. Also, the leather patch on the back has been replaced with elastic, so they go on a whole lot easier and conform to the horse's heel bulbs better. I can't wait to get them and try them out.

Here is a video clip showing the improvements of the new gaitor