Sunday, February 19, 2012

Horse feet

Hot iron being bent is a joy to watch

The foot of a horse is so much more than the the hard thing at the end of their leg that often ends up squishing the softer thing at the end of their owner's leg. All happy horse owners know that hoof care is crucial for domesticated horses and as a truly obsessed horse owner, one of my favorite things is to watch the farrier come out and do feet. The whole process fascinates me, from pulling the old shoe, to trimming, to balancing that new shoe on the foot. And if the forge is involved, well that's an extra special bonus.

 Unfortunately, my work attire is a few steps above jeans and sneakers so going to the barn to watch the farrier involved not only time but a complete wardrobe change. Sigh. Basically my shoes prevented seeing my horses get shoes, because high heels and mud are just a bad combination. 

At least until this latest chapter of my life. Part time is kind of a blessing, all things considered.

So Friday afternoon found me enjoying the sun and waiting for my farrier to arrive.

Bar's mismatched front feet--upright left and nice right pre-trim 
Calabar was first and was (surprisingly) well-behaved. This has not always been the case, so this was a nice change.

Calabar's upright foot, the worst of the bunch
His feet are in fairly good shape, but he's got thin, flaky hooves. In a normal winter, with mud and too much moisture, we are constantly playing "keep the shoe on the foot." This winter has been quite a bit drier--which causes Californians to worry about the Big D (drought)--but shoes have been on feet quite consistently, so that at least is the good news.

Lena's dream foot, thick hoof wall and all

Lena on the other hand, has feet that make farriers swoon. Thick hoof walls, big feet that fit her body, good soles, healthy frog--the feet of dreams. Notice the difference in her hoof wall as compared to Bar's. Sigh. That does explain why Bar is so very sensitive to a nail being just the tiniest bit off.

Love a hot forge

Farriers can come and go, but Mike has been there through thick and thin (and I don't just mean hoof walls). The very best part is he is there when he says he will be and will come when you need him. Oh, and my horses' shoes stay on and they are never lame. 

Since that hasn't always been the case with my farriers, here's hoping he isn't in the mood to retire any time soon. 

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