Riding on hard ground - what "extra" things are you doing for your horse
Here in Mass. we've had very little rain and the ground is hard as cement. On Friday I went out with a friend to school XC fences and we dramatically cut back on what we jumped and how much galloping we did.
My horse wears hoof boots which I hope gave him some extra cushioning and I packed his hooves with Magic Cushion afterwards.
Mostly I've been doing long, slow rides to try and keep my horse fit.
What are you doing to protect your horse from the hard ground?
I avoid hard ground like the plague and will cut the riding down or out completely if the only option is to ride on hard stuff. Walking is fine, but that's it for me. This time of year is generally when it's worst, so I sort of program "down time" into my season plans when concrete season comes around.
stick to the ring where the footing is good.... Although I'm in a different situation; horse is coming back from a suspensory injury. So we walk on the hard stuff and do the trot and canter in the ring.
Under normal, non injured situations I tend to scale back on competitions in July and Aug when the ground is at it's worst. I tend to just keep the legs moving on trail rides and stuff. Competition time is spring and fall for me... I don't live to compete and I only enjoy it in the spring and fall, heat kills me...
When I was a kid we'd pull shoes at the end of school in June and put the ponies out to pasture and give them the entire summer off. When school started back up in the fall we'd bring them in and start fitting them up for the fall season. One way to avoid riding on dry hard ground, lol.
my horses are either barefoot or shod what do i do hack out
dont change nothing the ground in is always hard as we do a ton of road work
if in the city to get anywhere decent to ride or in rural areas depends how far the bridleways are either way
havent had any problems with any of my horses that i have had owned in allt he years i have been riding
What hoof boots do you use? I know that EasyCare (with all the various boots they make) has a collection of pads for the boots, from firm to softer, some dome shaped and some with combinations of padding. I would ask your veterinatrian if any of those would help; I can't imagine they wouldn't offer at least some level of cushioning.
Still, I tend to agree with others that the best bet is to keep work on really hard ground to a minimum, aside from walking. It always makes me think of when I run on pavement. It doesn't matter what amazing, expensive, technologically advanced running shoes I have on, I still feel the result of the concussion in my knees later.
At home, where my "riding ring" is a little-used pasture, I have committed to just walking. To do more than that, I'm trailering out to some friends' sand ring a few miles away. In non-drought years the grass is usually lush and cushy, and I don't have problems.
This year, however, the pasture is burnt to a crisp and rather uneven with little uneven tufts of grass and weeds sprouting here and there. A couple of weeks ago, I thought, "I just HAVE to trot a little" and ended up on the ground when my horse tripped on the poor footing (shame on me, I know) and stumbled to his knees. Needless to say, I haven't tried trotting out there again. The hard ground is very unforgiving...lesson learned.
As for their turnout, they seem to know what's best. Their stalls are open for them to decide when to be in or out, and they have been spending a great deal of time inside in their matted stalls.
Best wishes to all to get through this drought season!