I've joked in the past about Ashke being a Princess, but tonight I got proof for real.
A week ago, we had our first trim with a new farrier that was recommended by Michelle. His name is Ben and although I was a touch worried about how he might be with Ashke, I was willing to try him on Michelle's recommendation. He was very sweet with Ashke, asking instead of demanding, with a very gentle touch. Ashke took to him right away.
Ben told me after the trim that if we had any problems to call him immediately and he would come back out.
On Thursday, when I took Ashke out to ride, he felt off. I asked N about it and she watched him, but couldn't see anything. It was only obvious at a walk and only to me. J thought he looked fine. I could feel the slightest hint of a hesitation on the RF. He stumbled three times on our ride.
After the ride, I looked at his RF and it looked like there was a slight edge on the outside hoof wall. I looked at the LF and it did not have that slight edge. I texted Ben and asked him to come back out. He said he would meet me tonight at 5:30 to take a look.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday I rode. Ashke did not put a foot wrong and you've seen the videos of our arena work and our canter. Still, I could feel the slight hesitation.
Ben walked down with me to study Ashke's walk. I told him that Ashke was pretty sensitive and that he probably wouldn't be able to see anything, but as we walked him on the mats down the barn aisle I could hear the slight difference in his steps. We got him out to Ben's truck and I showed him what I was seeing. He looked and said, "Yes, it's not entirely flat or even." Grabbing a rasp, Ben made quick work of the small blimp on the outer hoof wall. He sat it down and said, "It was off by a sixteenth of an inch."
We walked Ashke back down the aisle and after three steps he began to swing at the walk. It sounded right to me. The hesitation was gone. That sixteenth of an inch imbalance, about an inch long along the front quarter of his hoof, was enough to throw off Ashke's stride.
Sometimes we really just need to listen . . .