Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Heels and Hooves

Today was one of those rare days that I really put on the I’m-a-big-girl-and-I-can-wear-heels-and-a-dress work. I even put on makeup this morning. I felt fancy. This really is a struggle for me most mornings when I really only wake up about 20 minutes before I must be out the door to get to work on time. I would be so much happier to wear my worn-in jeans, tee-shirt and chuck taylors for the rest of my days. Ok. I like skirts too...with the chucks of course.

I realized, however, on my walk to work this morning why exactly I do avoid wearing heels like the plague. I was feeling hot to trot and full of that professional Manhattan woman mojo until I remembered (or was reminded, rather) that I have grace of a baby giraffe. Mind you, I’m wearing 4 inch heals which is no where near the height maintained by some of my office counterparts, but for me, I might as well be walking on stilts--stilts with balloons underneath.

Here’s a clearer picture. There is no doorway I’ve passed through that hasn’t had its integrity checked by my shoulder or knee. That being said, these instances usually occur in sneakers. Now. Imagine this scenario with unnatural height under my heels, ultimately compromising my already shaky foundation of balance. Knowing that my feminine grace is something tragic I made sure to hold the hand rails down to and up from the subway. I carefully watched where I was going so I would not stumble on an uneven crack in the pavement and I carried my head high like a woman with a purpose--that is, until I reached the corner of Broadway and 54th street and my ankle buckled under me. 
I did the not-quite-a-swan-dive-recovery and was able to walk away without too many questioning glances and strode into work with my eyes lowered a tad. No one saw. I'm still in the green! I can do this! 
The day progressed with little else to report aside from the disbelieving double-glances from the more fashion-inclined of my coworkers. I think they were all waiting to hear me trip over my own feet and single-handedly destroy the office in my crashing wake but I defied them! I can't blame their skepticism. I can't hardly walk straight in sneakers let along high-healed platform pumps. I think I may have made them proud (until I return to work tomorrow in faded blue jeans and black chucks).
Unfortunately, I got a little head-strong with my new-found confidence and wiped-out on my way to my favorite lunch spot. It is embarrassing to think about it, but I was able to save myself on a lamp post before my knees hit the ground. One poor gentleman took pity on me and asked if I was alright and if I needed help. I thanked him and strode away thinking of Eclipse as I wondered how on Earth women can force such torture on their bodies to feel attractive. if anything, high heals certainly have the opposite effect for me. They make me seem more gangly and less womanly than I was already and certainly less confident.
I thought of Eclipse because, for most of the time I've had him until recently, I was convinced (by many people who seem to have an authority on these types of issues) that he had a club foot. For those of you who aren't familiar with this term, it refers to the development of a horse's foot (or feet) and the angle of the coffin bone and joint in respect to the hoof wall, making the hoof grow in manner that makes performance difficult in the future in some cases. It basically looks like the horse's foot has too much height in the heel. This can cause lameness but in most mild cases it will typically just cause the horse to trip every now and then.
Then it dawned on me. I wear heals that my body was NOT designed to wear and I trip. Eclipse has a higher heal on his front left hoof than his body was designed to grow and he too trips. (of course he's just got the one, making him walk like I would if I were only wearing one shoe, but you get the point of the comparison) Our bodies are meant to flow and move in a certain way, you fashion designers, so stop making us think we need to wear these damn pedi-death-traps to be attractive and let us be beautiful in the ways we were naturally meant to be beautiful for.
Me being me, I wasn't fully convinced Eclipse's foot was a true club foot by the photos I had seen and the cases I had studied. I had worked with a farrier for a number of months, with only a trim every 8-9 weeks or so and after his foot seemed to be getting worse I came across this blog by Christina at Barefoot Hoof Care. I was intrigued by her posts and decided to ask her about Eclipse's issue. Luckily for us, she has clients in our area and came out for a consultation. She was able to affirm my suspicions that the foot in question was not a club foot at all and completely reversible with proper trimming techniques! 
In only three trims, she took my poor off-balance, tripping Arabian and returned him to a completely balanced, non tripping Arabian! His first trim was so rewarding in fact, that as she was taking of the first of the bars on his soles he immediately began licking and yawning in relief. She definitely made a believer out of me.
Since that first trim he's been so incredibly happy to move around! His "clubby" foot is almost completely at the angle it should be and I couldn't be happier my boy is feeling good enough to rip and roar around the arena at a full gallop completely confident he's not going to trip and fall to his knees. It's a very liberating feeling. 
I took a page from his book and tossed my heals back in the far regions of my shoe pile. 
Good riddance to bad balance!


  1. Lol - Having never walked even a single step successfully in high-heels (literally NEVER - and after one spectacularly horrible attempt at the request of my then roommate, I will never try again) I totally feel your pain.

    Thanks for the link to Christina's blog - very interesting, and I can't wait to read more. In exchange, have you checked out Vibram FiveFinger shoes? After being a believer in barefoot for my horse for several years, I recently decided to try it out for myself, and I LOVE my VFFs.

    ~Sarah from Parelli

  2. So happy for your horse! I've never been able to wear high heels. I have a few pairs and call them my "two hour shoes", meaning that I can wear them for less than two hours! Flats all the way!