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October 31, 2014: Farrier Visit, etc.

Halloween day. I would not know this was The Day except for the candy corn (the other day) in the dentist’s office. No excessive amounts of candy were eaten here, nor did I see any ghosts. In fact, it was business as usual at our end of the woods.

Josh, the farrier, arrived promptly at 11 a.m. He first trimmed Hrimmi. Raudi was next – he first trimmed her, then made her a set of new ice shoes. This in part involved his heating and adding Boron to the steel shoes. After making sure the shapes were correct, he then nailed them onto her feet. He then did the same with Tinni.

All the while, it was windy and chilly. The horses didn’t mind. This is because their ancestors (and Tinni, directly) are from Iceland, where the wind blows all the time. All they lack there are what he have here, creaky old trees. Rather than jump around, the horses hung out, ate their mid-morning hay, and listened to Josh and Pete’s man talk. I faded into the background, first brushing the horses, one-by-one, and then cleaning up around the place. I did catch Josh’s story about a horse who when he was to be shod, repeatedly reared up and struck out at the trainer. (The owner needed a trainer in order to deal with this horse). I then tuned out the subsequent truck talk.

I was okay with my role – I was just glad to be able to give Pete a must-needed assist. I still suffer a bit from what I call “farrier visit dread,” a deep seated condition in which the horse owner gets apprehensive in anticipating upcoming farrier visits. My fear is that our horses might behave like the one Josh described. Before visits, I picture this extreme or a variation thereof. I (for example) envision Josh, straight lipped, face muscles tight, as he steps back and waits for me to get my very dangerous animal back in line. After Tinni’s third outburst he remarks in his sotto teaching voice “you really do need to find someone who will teach you ways of better managing that horse.”

My fears have always been unfounded. In fact, if one our three horses did act up, this would be because something was wrong. The horse in question would have either a physical or a mental issue. If it was Hrimmi or Raudi, who are both mares, this would most likely be related to hormones. Instead, the horses do as requested because the farrier visits are now, to them, just a matter of routine. They know Josh, the sound of his truck, the sound of his propane burner, and the sound of his voice. They are also familiar with his way of handling them. He’s quiet and moves with intent. He never, ever uses twitches or brandishes the rasp, as many other farriers in this area do.

Farrier visits are also stress free around here. This in part is why there are never any problems. In addition, the horses are in general used to being handled. And yep, it is the breed. Icelandic horses are not as reactive as, say, Arabs.

I was glad to get Raudi shod because for the past six weeks, since getting her previous pair of shoes off, she’s been extremely tender footed. So after Josh left, Pete and I went for a ride on Peaches Trail, Siggi’s trail, and on the lower trail system. I got cold and walked the last bit. The horses are now very used to being on these trails. So we are going to surprise them. Tomorrow we’re going out and expanding upon our existent trail system so that we’ll all have new ground to cover.

Next: 292. 11/1/14: Jenna