On the road to barefoot

I took Cassie out for a walk on the road. She seems fine on the gravel in my yard and on the path, and those are rough, stony surfaces. She is much better than Minnie, who is taking care where she puts her feet. To get to the road, we have to go down the hill on a fairly steep and very rough track. Cassie walked down with her head nearly on the ground, cautiously picking her way through the potholes and avoiding the larger stones. She wanted to slip in behind me, so I moved ahead and led the way, Cassie following in my footsteps. When we got to the road, she moved in beside me again.

We didn’t go very far. Cassie wasn’t sure of herself, so I let her set our pace. We stopped frequently for a pick of grass and when Cassie turned around, I felt that she had enough and we went home. This is something we have to build up, until she has thicker soles, a toe callous and can walk everywhere with confidence.

I have been thinking about how I can provide Cassie and Minnie with enough variety in terrain to help harden their hooves. During the day they have several acres to roam around and although there is hardcore on the ground going from one field to the next, it might not be enough. Our ground is soft after the rain. At night I bring them to the field at the back of my yard. They have access to the fieldshelter there and in front of the shelter there is a large area of rough hardcore. I had rubber mats in the fieldshelter, but I have removed them now, so they have to stand on the concrete when they want to get to the hay. Hopefully it is enough.

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