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[RC] Training Leo.... - Mary Krauss

My new 3.5 year-old gelding Leo and I are off to a great start, and I have LOADS of questions and thoughts about bringing along my new partner. Luckily he's completely untrained so I don't even have to think about over-conditioning problems. But here are a couple of wonderings:

James the Wonder Farrier plans to bring up Leo's underrun heels over time (they're medium, not terrible), and now I'm torturing myself over what's happening to his joints in the meantime. Is this silly? Say it takes 6 months to straighten out his feet, will he have suffered permanent joint stress? His owner believes that "Arabians shouldn't have real short toes", so pushed her farrier to leave 'em too long--again, not horribly so, but enough that the heel sloped under. Should we be being more aggressive by using shoes, or is handling the problem with frequent trimmings on his bare feet best?

The second thing I'm mulling over is the use of surcingle and side reins. As a future endurance horse, or for any horse really, should I be letting him stretch freely with nothing or use the surcingle and side reins on either the low or middle connector? It's been a long time since I messed with any of this. My last horse was so mellow I just waited until he was old enough and did most everything while he was loose in the round pen, then from his back. Leo's not currently suited to that approach.... (read: he'd send me flying 3 or 4 times a day for weeks.) My other thought is to use driving reins instead of side reins. Anyone with experience out there care to comment?

Mary K. who today talked Leo into sticking his own nose into his own halter while standing next to a bright blue umbrella. He was soooo proud when he finally touched the umbrella and discovered it didn't bite. So he bit it.


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