Sunday was a long day of cross-country at Bromont International in southwestern England. We did not start our division until around noon, so our last horse ran around 4:30 p.m. After that, we had to pack up trunks and horses and drive north for an hour and a half. The day started out sunny, not typical English weather, then turned windy and very cold and overcast. Although it was July 1, it felt like March — with a little of every season in one day.
The footing was quite good, though many horses lost shoes. Out of the 12 U.S. team horses, three ran out of shoes! One even came out of both fronts! So repairs were in order before we shipped home. Fixing shoes with a stall jack in the mud is challenging to say the least.
Going into the event, I knew very little about the feet of all of these horses, or what to expect from each horse and rider. I was told that for the horse that lost both front shoes, this was a typical problem. They chose to run on wet grass with Equithane, which may have been why she was slipping all over the place, which could have been a factor in shoe loss.
Some of the riders had me glue the heels, a type of augmentation of the hoof wall in the heel area to help prevent shoe loss. The horses we did this for kept their shoes on, so maybe it helped. Going 700 meters in a minute did not help matters.
After a long drive back to Winchcombe, we got some much-needed rest.
Evaluations started early Monday at 7 a.m., with the purpose of assessing the horses for soundness after the weekend run. This will factor into the selection of the team. Riders and grooms are very stressed about this, as it takes all day and you are never quite sure how you horse will look the day after the run.
We spend about an hour on each horse, trotting, lounging, flexing and performing a hoof-tester evaluation of the front feet. We had some idea of how the horses looked the night before. Several were slightly foot sore. Most improved by the following morning with nothing more than a reset, ice and Magna Paste.
As a farrier, this tells you so much, and gives you a good idea of what you might be in for when the Olympic Games roll around.
The team was picked late in the day. Congratulations to Phillip Dutton with Mystery Whisper, Will Coleman with Twizzel, Tiana Codray and Ringwood Magister, Boyd Martin with Otis Barbotiere and Karen O’Conner with Mr. Medicott.
Team members will need final confirmation from the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Pennsylvania farrier Steve Teichman has helped provide hoof care for the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team in Sydney and Athens. While in England participating in the evaluation and selection of horses for the 2012 U.S. 3-Day Eventing team, he provided updates as the Olympics progressed. Click here to read more from Olympic Shoeing With Steve Teichman series.