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    Surbiton, Surrey UK
  1. It has been a long while since I posted on the QS forum but as Nektar has now just enjoyed his second anniversary of being barefoot, it seemed the perfect opportunity to drop by to share his progress. Perhaps if there are some of you out there thinking about starting out on the barefoot journey or are going through the dilemma of whether or not to continue, Nektar's story may encourage you to hold on in there and be brave. It is worth reading the earlier posts which give some flavour of how tough it was in the beginning. Nektar needed many months of care and kindness to help him through and it took a lot of faith and patience on my part to allow him the time that he needed to recover from all those years of being shoed and to not expect too much too soon. But I am so very glad I kept believing it was the right thing for him to go through, as two years on, my 21 year old beautiful boy, is happy, energetic, very sound and struts over cobbles when previously he could barely stand on them. His hooves are growing rapidly now, so much so that he has gone up a size in his hacking boots. His frogs have straightened and his biggest achievement was to be given the "best hooves on the yard award" by the barefoot farrier. Who would have thought that would have happened two years ago Monica! So if any of you are thinking about it, worried about it, or experiencing the painful transition stage of letting your horse go barefoot, Nektar and I would just like to encourage you to keep going and have no doubts that it is the right thing to do. A good balanced diet, lots of love and buckets full of patience will get you through. Nektar and I have not progressed too well with our level 2, although I hope to continue with it again sometime soon. I discovered the wonder of horse therapy after being trained by Rupert Isaacson, the author of the Horse Boy last year, so we will be spending our time bringing a little joy into the lives of autistic and special needs kiddies for a while but will certainly be back continuing our QS journey in the not too distant future. Happy barefooting. Zoe & Nektar
  2. You all look soooooo amazing. Feel so proud of you all and only wish I could have shared the smiles x
  3. Hi Nicky, I'm a great lover of the Cavallo Simple Boots and they have proved invaluable to Nektar. I tend to use them with the gel pads and it offers all the protection he needs on all types of terrain. Good luck! Zoe
  4. Huge congratulations to you and the lovely Trooper. No one deserves it more than you two do. Much love from Zoe and Nektar xx
  5. Hello Nicky, I'm the mum of Nektar that Monica mentioned in her post. I know how special it will be to Monica hearing that you are thinking of going barefoot with Max as I know how much it means to her. It's hard to know where to begin as I fear once I start talking about my barefoot journey with Nektar, I may never stop. So forgive me if I ramble. For me its a beautiful story that leaves me not only proud of my own strength but also of Nektar's. On the 31st January it will be 12 months since his last shoe was taken off and placed on my shelf at home as a gentle reminder of what I was trying to achieve if things got tough and I've never looked back. It really was a truly special day for Monica, Nektar and I when we took his shoes off. Monica had tried 6 months before to take his 2 front shoes off and he could barely stand so the shoes went right back on again. We decided to look at his diet and take our time reading up and learning and when the time felt right, we'd try again. I was loving doing my QS level 1 so it was hard to imagine having to stop all of that as I expected Nektar to be out of action for a long time but I figured that was just plain ol' selfishness on my part. And then one day I started out on a hack and his shoe just started to come off, so much so that I had to turn back. Monica and I felt it was a sign that the time was right to try again as he'd never lost a shoe before. So I took the biggest deepest breath I possibly could and decided to take both shoes off and start my barefoot journey. Aside from the guidance of Monica which was invaluable, I decided from that moment on I was going to listen to Nektar. If I could be brave enough to forget my own needs for a while and just believe in all that I had read and been told and hear what he had to say, I figured we'd both get through it. We went for gentle walks, played in the field, hung out together and just took our time, building things really slowly. We'd walk him the long way round to his stable so as to avoid too many cobbles, protected his feet as much as possible with slippers as Monica says and just let him be a horse for big chunks of each week. I even decided to let Nektar just have me on his back the very first time I rode him rather than me and a saddle in the hope it was a little less weight for him. Yep I took everything to the extreme to try and help him along! That high wither was something else but I experienced my first bareback canter, so I figure we were both smiling that day, albeit a wee bit painful for me! But the most magical part of all for me has been watching Nektar transform into the most playful and happy boy. So soon after he went barefoot, his heart seemed to sing so strong and it made me wonder what he had been feeling all those years with his shoes on. If at any point I had felt that he was suffering and gaining nothing from the transition, I would have put his shoes back on. But to suffer some discomfort that could be alleviated through patience and kindness was a small price for him to pay when he had all those hours living the life that I believe nature intended for him. And the more I read up about what shoes did and witnessed how deformed his feet had become, I knew I could find the strength to keep going. I have never looked back ... not once. So yes, Monica is right. If a 20 year old boy with very bad feet and his mum who was a complete novice and had nothing to offer but a huge bucket full of love for her four legged friend and patience could achieve it, anyone can. When we hack out I put boots on all his feet, which is my way of helping to balance out the uneven terrain and make life a little easier for him and it definitely helps but the rest of the 22 hours or so a day he's naked and shoeless with a big bear coat to keep him warm and finally his feet are growing. I believe that being selfless, brave and patient for a while was the greatest gift I could give to Nektar to thank him for all that he had given me and maybe you could offer the same to Max. Not really a sacrifice at all. Good luck. We're all supporting you! Zoe & Nektar
  6. What wonderful news Rebecca!! I am so so happy for you. Your red string is much deserved and I've seen you grow so much since you first joined me in the sandschool after discovering QS. Well done .... you'll be smiling for a long time yet. There is something really special about achieving level 1. Sending you huge congratulations from Nektar and I. xx
  7. Oh boy .... the tears are flowing even more than they were these past two days. What amazing words and I can see why it would have been hard to tell us your story this morning. So very brave of you to bare your soul .... thank you. If you were here right now I would give you a big strong hug and tell you that I have watched you grow so much this week and its so very beautiful to see. It almost felt like a light switched on in Ladina's eyes and you saw it too and really started to believe in yourself and what you could offer her and maybe how much she needed you to believe in her too. What a wonderful tonic you are going to be for eachother. No imaginary friend now. She's very real and you are sharing the most beautiful journey. Savour every special moment because watching it is awesome. Zoe
  8. Nektar has now been barefoot for just over 6 months and aside from an abscess in one of his hooves has been sound all the way through. Well done lovely boy and yes you look beautiful in the QS bridle. Guess I'm just gonna have to ask Monica to get you one of your very own. From your proud Mum
  9. Nektar and I were very sad to miss out on one of the Wenches special afternoons and meeting Shell and Andy. Hope you had a fab time in the UK guys. What a wonderful English tea party under the beautiful oak tree and such a fabulous group of smiles! We sure know how to celebrate the good stuff and not always with bubbles! Proud to be part of the Wenches and the ever-growing QS family. Zoe & Nektar
  10. Huge congratulations to our lovely friends Birgitte and Logic for passing their level 1. A lovely afternoon spent enjoying strawberries and bubbles in the sunshine.
  11. Hey Monica. How about adding a new post on success stories? That's how I uploaded our last 'bubbles' event ;o) Zoe
  12. Hey Monica, .... I thought the better group photos were on your phone so thought you might upload too. My head must have been too full of bubbles! Thank you for your lovely words Monica. You more than anyone knows what this journey has meant to me these past 12 months. I will forever be grateful to you for reaching out to me on that terrible day in February and inviting me out for a gentle hack and sharing your QS discovery. How different my year might have been if you hadn't. And although it was awful seeing Ladina so poorly, if she hadn't been, I may never have met my lovely Nektar and that's something I would never ever have wanted to miss out on. Here's to many more years of happy times and no doubt buckets of tears along the way on our QS journeys. Zoe
  13. There's no better way to celebrate that red string achievement than to share a glass or two of bubbles with your fellow Woodruff Wenches Nektar & Zoe
  14. Lesson 1.pdfLesson 2.pdfLesson 3.pdfHoliday.pdf A few more cartoons of my journey with Nektar for you to enjoy. Zoe
  15. Hi Avril, No he doesn't ride but is fascinated by QS and loves drawing cartoons showing his take on all my ramblings about Nektar. I feel a book coming on .... Zoe
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