Thursday, 18 September 2014

Healthy hooves - the new barefoot film!

While we were at the RRR we had the same awesome camera as last year but - instead of hiring it for a day - we had it for a week.
We were incredibly fortunate with the weather and the sun shone every day which gave us fantastic filming opportunities. "We" in this context is me plus critical filming buddy Steve Leigh who not only is as obsessed with hoof footage as I am but generously came down to Exmoor before the RRR so that we could have a trial run with the camera - couldn't have done it without him! 
Another essential helping hand came from Matt who (on day 1 of the RRR and faced with a panic-stricken Nic and Steve) sorted out our issue with over-exposure (we had never used the camera in such bright conditions before!). Massive thank you Matt - it could have turned out very differently without your help.

Healthy hooves from Nic Barker on Vimeo.

You are more than welcome to share this wherever you like. The aim is to show how well healthy hooves can cope with hard work, tough surfaces and the demands of jumping, schooling and roadwork day in, day out.
When you view this you need to remember that ALL the horses in the video were previously shod and all but 2 have had serious long-term lameness - from DDFT, collateral ligament or navicular injuries - and were given a poor prognosis from their vets for a return to work.  
The fact that we have horses coming to the RRR year after year and getting better each time is due to the incredible dedication of the owners who, together with their horses, work so hard to ensure that they can continue grow the healthiest possible hooves day after day, week after week, year after year.  

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

It wasn't all happening at the RRR...

...because look - Patsy (who was here in 2011) and Hannah went show jumping and won their class!
Many congratulations, the pair of you - a fantastic photo and amazing jumping :-)

Monday, 15 September 2014

RRR 2014 - the photos!

Its going to take me several days to get to grips with the photos and footage from the RRR but it was, as ever, a fantastic weekend. 
The sun shone nearly all the time (though apparently not as much as it did on Exmoor!) and the horses were all on magnificent form - it was wonderful to see them looking so well and moving so beautifully. 

Our new venue, Boomerang Stables in Berkshire could not have been more welcoming or provided more brilliant facilities for us or the horses. 


Special thanks goes to Kay Humphries who arrived for a short saddle-fitting appointment with Claire and Holly but graciously and generously spent an impromptu 5 hours with us giving us a saddlery clinic and demo of how dramatically saddle fit can affect stride length, movement and soundness.

In order to capture what we needed on film both horses and riders patiently jumped, cantered, stopped, did the same thing again and were incredibly patient and co-operative - thank you all of you and I hope our filming will do you credit...!


We played silly games and did serious schooling, drank gallons of tea, ate mountains of cake and sat round the campfire at night with a fridge and bar so well-stocked they would have done credit to a pub, let alone a marquee...




We were so grateful to Edward who came all the way from Exmoor on Sunday morning to judge our silly games and keep us all in line. None of the filming could have happened without Steve Leigh who not only filmed throughout the RRR but came down early so that he and I could have a trial run with the camera beforehand - if any decent footage comes out then the credit is his!
 Not all the horses fully understood all the games but it didn't really matter...

....they certainly grasped all the important points...

















Our biggest thank you has to go to Krista who did a heroic job of sorting out the admin and organisation and Buddy did her proud by looking a million dollars! Sara-Jane Lanning was an inspiration on Friday, teaching horses and riders she had never met before and getting the best out of each and every one - thank you!






 It was a great party - and there will be more to come!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Sorry, you can't come #maybenextyear

One last post before the RRR...
...the ones who have to stay behind, at least for this year...
 Ruby and Filly...
...Lucky and Columbo...
 ...Felix...
...Alfie...
and Wiggy.
 Don't worry, guys...
 ...after all...
 ...there's always next year!