Toby, aka Nannies Rio, is the best. He's my confidence-building-been-there-done-that-man. Riding him is like sitting down in an old familiar favorite chair. As Forest Gump would say "We're like peas and carrots".
Toby came to me in a round about way. For 12 years I had been away from horses to focus on my career in the golf administration world. My niece was into horses and showing in the hunter/jumper world. She was with my old trainer, Cindy Orr-Petherbridge, for several years. Then she lost interest but couldn't bare to lose Toby. My other niece, the younger sister, took a slight interest so I helped her learn to ride with Toby. Toby isn't exactly a horse for a beginner rider to get on. He's particular, wants to test you and once in awhile likes to let his inner-thoroughbred out. My young niece wasn't ready for that. So she lost interest in him too.
The deal was, I was to care for him until they sold him. Soon after this arrangement was made, he developed a noticeable limp. It turned into an abscess in his front right hoof. It broke and two weeks later he abscessed again. We knew there was something more serious going on. Off to Michigan State University we went. The only problem is that Toby doesn't like to trailer ever since he was at a previous boarding stable. It's a mystery but we assume he had a bad experience when he was sent to that stable. So one of the other horses in the barn had to go for the "road trip" just to keep Toby company. Toby was very well behaved for the 3 1/2 hour trip down.
After many x-rays it was revealed that Toby had a bad case of white line disease. His front right hoof had about 1/4 of it resected, as much as the doctor felt we could remove without compromising the support of the hoof wall. From that point I was to take a copper sulfate solution and squirt it inbetween the inner and outer hoofwall so it could kill the bacteria in hidden areas. Then I packed the area with cotton and wrapped it with elastikon tape to keep it clean. It was important that everything was breathable. We also made a special shoe with a very long and wide clip to protect the debrided area.
It took a long time to treat and regrow his outer hoof wall but now he has incredibly good/strong hooves. The best he's probably ever had! MSU had recommended I use Dr. Ric Redden's Biotin 100 as a supplement. There are many supplements with Biotin but you cannot buy anything with this strength of Biotin. I swear by this stuff!
Once Toby began his treatment, I asked my sister if I could have him and take on his treatment and bills. It was a done deal. So now I was back into horses and building a strong bond with a big goofy ex racer.
Toby got better, albeit slowly, and I ended up riding him all the time. He enjoyed going on the trails with our friends although at first it was a BIG challenge. He was convinced there were monsters everywhere. We have several Paso Fino's at our barn so we put him into the "Paso Sandwich". One friend on her Paso Fino in front, one friend on her Paso Fino in back and Toby in the middle jigging away. Eventually his jigging stopped and he would only start it up again once we reached this one big sand dune. He loves to run up the dune, then parade around like a peacock at the top. I tell him he just won the race and feed his ego. He seems so satisfied with himself after that. Keep in mind, we avoided this dune until he seemed used to going out on the trails.
I began to notice that riding Toby as much as I wanted was a little tough on his joints. He had a life at the track, then a life in the hunter/jumper world. I had hoped to get him back into jumping but then I realized his joints and his disposition called for true retirement. He was just worn out from his years of working. Now he's all about fun and friends.
And being my fun guy to ride!
Toby and I have many stories and adventures together. We are two very good old friends. So when I'm feeling down about my riding with Jag, all I need to do is get on Toby. Quickly I realize I'm a very capable rider and I have the proper abilities and tools to get Jag to turn right!
Thank goodness for the Old School Masters!