Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Derek the Farrier

This morning when I completed my chores I also put halters on everyone, flipping the attached lead rope over each back and leaving them to eat breakfast. Derek the farrier was coming out to do our bimonthly ritual. Every six to eight weeks Derek comes out to my place to trim, shoe or reset my various horses feet. While in the dregs of Winter my horses generally run barefoot. All this means is he trims their feet much as we trim our toenails. Like it is for us, it's uncomfortable for a horse to have too long of toe nail (hoof). The foot is literally the foundation of the horse. If there is something wrong with your horse's foot, the likely-hood of your horse being lame is quite high.

Derek is a cowboy who always entertains me with a story or two and his opinions. His current story circles around his new (1 month old) baby boy. It's funny for me seeing someone like Derek get googly eyed over a child. Today Derek and I started with my babies. Buddy was up first. Because Buddy hadn't been touched prior to July when I bought him he sometimes tests Derek. Buddy had been showing improvement with daily handling but the weather means I've been neglecting his training. Buddy of course had to try to mouth Derek and myself. While I'm trying to hold his head off of Derek's back and my arms, Buddy is doing the leg jig. Derek has been blessed with unlimited patience when working with young horses.

Roxy (formerly Stella) came next. Roxy also had had no handling prior to my purchase of her. I was geared up for a battle but she was a little superstar. Stood there like a champion. Whiskey my old campaigner was the last horse of the day. By this time my hands and feet are cold, Derek looks up and dryly wonders if I'm as cold as he is. Whiskey is normally easy to maintain. Unfortunately because she's been sore on her hind she's compensating and the pressure on the remaining feet is causing a strange growth pattern. This means she will need to be trimmed more frequently.

While Derek was working on Whiskey we got to talking about some current events. Making news here is an outdoorsman who abandoned two horses in a somewhat remote mountain clearing. Remember the weather has been brutal north of the 60th these past few weeks. Derek went off on how this man is a disgrace. This past week the horses were discovered by snowmobilers. The snowmobilers who lived in a nearby community organized a rescue operation for these horses. I'm attaching a link to the Edmonton Journal for you to read the story. Will it upset you as much as it upset Derek?



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