Farrier Freedom

An aside to begin with – the spell checker actually has the word farrier in it and rasping the hoofaccepts it as a spelled correctly word. You realize I have been using that word in various documents since at least around 2000, maybe slightly longer and none, not even the Microsoft Word dictionary, has contained that word. So my hats off to the folks doing this open source dictionary that I am using.

What I really wanted to touch base on was my weekend this past. It was hot. Saying that is such an understatement, using only three words and eight characters. It should have something like thirty characters to really emphasis just how hot it was. Anyway, I digress. I spent Saturday morning early AM doing a bit of tidying around the house, before heading over to mow my Grandmothers yard. It is a small yard and that was a nice thing done. I then headed over to my Mom’s, where I have the horses.

It was too hot to do much that afternoon, especially with the lack of shade short of the shed, where there is little breeze. So I lounged a bit in a the pool. Yes, I was lazy bum. The important thing to note during all of the day on Saturday is I spent maybe 15 minutes late in the day checking my personal email and nothing more.

Sunday I awoke fairly early (though not as early as I usually do) after spending the night there. I immediately got my tools and went to field and started with feet trimming – or farrier work.

For those not aware, horses hooves grow and are very similar to humans finger nails, except of course they are much thicker. Horses in the wild tend to keep the hoof wore down, but they move a lot more than a domestic horse, so we have to help them out and give them a trim on occasion. The basic process is nip off with a tool that is about eighteen long and looks a little like pliers with a cutting edge, file smooth on the flat and shape the outside of the hoof. Oh and I left out dig out dirt, manure, and muck from the rest of sole and take down the flat with a hoof knife.

It is probably the hardest job on the farm, and especially as jobs relating to horses go. I would ten times over rather put up hay all day then trim two or three horses feet. During the process a well-trained perfect horse will stand there, lifting each foot almost before you ask (and some actually do), holding it until you are done. Even with a well-trained horse though it is time spent bent over, knees bent against themselves, and in motion the entire time on your part.

Now the reality is younger, less trained horses tend to want to dance around a bit and see just what they can get away with. Older horses get lazy and instead of holding up the foot for you, lean 1/4 or more of their weight over on your already bent over form. And one horse I have likes to nibble at your back, hair, or shoulders whenever she can – and if she is luck she will grab something like a tool or apron strap and pull it out or loose.

It gets worse though. If you recall I have 7 miniature horses that needed to be trimmed. Good news – They have much smaller feet so much less trimming to be done. Bad news – They only stand on average 29 inches tall hence their feet can’t come up nearly as much off the ground, so you have to bend down even more to work with them. Even worse – three of these little guys are young or just have not been handled that much and they throw a fit when you getting a trim done.

So, if I am making it sound bad – well it was hard sweating honest work, that was very tiring. It left my shoulders, neck, knees, thighs, back, and arms tired and sore through even today (Tuesday). In just over four hours I trimmed eight horses feet, some of which were just rank.

So the rambling here leads to this thought. It was so incredibly nice to be out in the hot sun doing such work. Living and breathing horses for the time. No cell phone and no computer email and nothing that was otherwise interfering with the task at hand. My pure enjoyment of working with my hands, and while utilizing my brain, it was on a subject that was much lower caliber and enjoyable. It was just a breath of freedom that was much enjoyed and much-needed.

I am looking forward to the next bit of time I will get to spend time out like that with the horses with no computers around for a short time.