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Remembering Ace...

a memorial from Ace's owner

Remembering the little horse who went up the cliff to rescue the silly young mare who got herself up, but couldn't get herself down? Ace went up calmly, willingly, and brought that mare to safety, simply because the man he loved and trusted asked him to.

This horse would carry anyone like it was his sacred duty, because it was. Beginners were tolerated, advanced riders tested, children were cared for with eggshell sensitivity. This guy thought out everything he did, or at least it seemed that way.

Recall the horse who wouldn't connect, would not trust, would look the other way when I walked into his stall. This, for a whole year after I bought him, despite cookies, daily feeding and scritches in all the right places. I thought I might find him a new home; one he might like better. The folks who came to try him out didn't appreciate him at all. I dismissed them summarily, and ever since then Ace decided I was a good guy after all.


What a quirky guy; one day walking out on the trail as if he was king of the world (because he was), tail swinging with each stride, ears pointed so far forward they would've flown off his face if they could've. Eager, willing, looking around the next bend for ??? The next time on the trail he'd be grumpy, sullen, unwilling to walk out, head tossing, for no apparent reason. Sometimes he'd be so nervous he'd carry the side of his bit in his mouth, or roll the roller unceasingly. Could it be that the yet unnamed disease was already doing it's work inside of his body? Horses cannot tell you when their back hurts, when their insides are hurting, when they feel bad... not with words anyway.

This guy was an escape artist. It seemed every time I put him in the hotwire paddock to graze he would come ambling down to the house with a "what, me worry?" look on his face. Most horses make a big deal out of it when they manage to get themselves free, running around and screaming. Not our Ace. I guess he knew he'd get to stay out longer if he was real quiet about the fact that he'd snuck out. He never destroyed a fence. I swear he must've slipped between the wires when nobody was looking.

This horse has been one of my greatest teachers. Unraveling the puzzle of his comfort and behavior has brought me to a new level of patience, intuition, skill of observation, willingness to try new things, tolerance and love. From saddles that fit, to removing those "constricting metal bands of death," trimming his feet with my own two hands, spending hours while he "sat" in the dentist's chair, trying bit after bit to find just the right one....we finally found the right combination.

And now it's time to give him the greatest gift of all; that of a peaceful release from pain and suffering. I sure hate this "playing God" thing, and yet it is the only choice I have. So, Mister Ace, thanks for blessing my life with your rich and varied personality. I've loved every minute of it.


Ace - a Tennessee Walker - See Update Page


This fellow is a middle aged gelding with no particular gait anomalies or problems. He had contracted and under run heels on his front feet and wedge pads behind that disguised his under-run rear heels.

His shoes were removed with two weeks of wear on them, which meant that the walls were too short to do much with and his soles were still thin from the shoeing process. I added a slight bevel and pulled back the toes.

He lives in a stall with a paddock that is bedded in rice hulls and gets ridden or ponied weekly in Epic boots.

In some cases I was able to move the heel buttress back or level the heels significantly by shaving off thin slivers of heel, but I had to be extremely careful because there really wasn't any extra heel to spare.

Before Trim
Setup Trim


Several Weeks Later... October 27th

10/2005 - I've been trimming the owners four horses (Ace, Grandar, Rio and Stretch) every few weeks, taking lots of pictures and... the saying "watched pot never boils" comes to mind!

All four horses all had the whole walls rasped excessively at the toe and in the quarters so their wall wore down much faster than we'd like it to. In the ideal world, this fellow would have grown at least 1/4 in of sturdy wall (note the movement of nail holes down the wall) however its broken or worn off almost as fast as it touches the ground.

What we're seeing in each case is getting much better... their walls are thicker, and they are starting to get a scoop in the quarters naturally as the weaker wall wears away. Their heels are all getting stronger, their coronets all are smooth, and their frogs are extremely tough.

These guys are all bedded on rice hulls which may be why their soles aren't looking calloused. They had been extremely thin due to excessive rasping and paring when shod, and are now getting much more durable.




Linda Cowles Hoof Care
Serving the greater SF Bay Area & Northern California
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