I had another really nice ride on Billy tonight. He did a beautiful collected then lengthened trot combination for me and seamlessly navigated between the two modes, keeping himself “through” the whole time. We just floated around the ring a few times and I was looking around trying to find out where the clouds were because it truly did seem that we were floating.
This lovely circumstance made me think it was probably time to take a few comparison photos just to see how much he had changed physically. As you can see for yourself, the photo of him last March (above, on the left) shows a weak-muscled horse listing to the right. Everything about him is crooked and off-balance. The photo on the right is from today, and shows (despite his shaggy coat trying to conceal it) all kinds of lovely muscle, which is enveloping some very straight, square-stanced legs.
The poor fetlocks look to be a little larger than they used to be, but that’s part of his disability and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Since he doesn’t seem to care, we’ll just live with it.
Fetlocks from the side don’t look as bad. I’ve been expecting them to drop, considering all the work Billy has been doing in spite of his deteriorating suspensory ligaments, but so far there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of change…left one has dropped a little, or maybe it just looks that way because it’s farther forward. I didn’t remember which hind leg was forward in the photo from June, so of course I got them reversed today. His crappy hoofs were halfway grown out in June, and now are completely new horn. He has great feet now, so I say “Fie!” to the farrier who told me years ago that not only could he never go barefoot, he would always need pads under his shoes. He’s been barefoot for well over a year, and loving it!