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May 25, 2012: Come here Hossy, Let me Trim your Feet

Joshua Morris, Farrier Par Excellence, arrived at our place at 8:30 a.m. this morning, to a wee bit larger work roster. In addition to having to shoe Siggi, Raudi, and Tinni, he had to trim Signy and Hrimmi. We were ready to go when he got here. I had Tinni tied to the hitching post, and had just finished cleaning his hooves and brushing him.

Pete held Tinni as Josh worked him. I then retrieved, tied up and brushed Mr. Siggi. After, Josh then moved on to Signy and Hrimmi, who were watching the activity from the safe vantage point of their stall/shelter. I felt bad for them both – how do horses make sense of it when two leggeds, talking loudly, converge on them in a small space?

Signy did a fine job of keeping her wits about her, repeatedly positioning herself as Josh was working, so that she could keep an eye on Hrimmi, who was by now bouncing around like a ping pong ball. He quickly rasped all four of her feet, then moved on to the newest member of the herd. By now, Nancy was also spectating.

Hrimmi was initially very nervous about having all of us her space. I tried using a body rope – not the best time to do this – I quickly realized this, and went back to using the wand, stroking it firmly all over her body and legs, and tapping her feet. She liked that. Josh then moved in, and began petting her firmly, working his way down her legs. Watching this, I thought, this is why he’s our farrier. Josh has never seemed all that interested in the asides that I pass on about the horses themselves. Rather, he’s having an ongoing conversation with them as he goes about doing his job. Thus, my stories are extraneous. Josh, for instance “told” Hrimmi through the use of body language that he was not going to harm her. This was a very good lesson for her, and one that she’ll refer back to the next time he visits.

Josh triming Signy's feet
Josh triming Signy's feet

Josh aquaints himself with Hrimmi

Josh shoes Siggi

We next moved on to Raudi, who I’d previously tied to the hitching post. She was a bit antsy at first whle Josh was shaping the shoes. (We have our horses hot shoed—this way, they adhere to the hoof better). However, she stood absolutely still when Josh trimmed her feet, and then nailed the shoes in place.

All the while, Josh and I talked a bit about homeschooling, barefoot trimming, and light versus dark hooves. As we chatted it occurred to me that Raudi knows Josh well, and also knows that she’s supposed to hold still. It’s an unspoken expectation on his part. And she always rises to the challenge. I told Nancy, who was standing close by, that if Raudi acted up while on Josh’s watch, that it would be because something was amiss. Physically, it might be a stone bruise. Mentally, it might be a moose or some other kind of odd distraction.

I have heard several stories about farriers jerking horses around, and also hitting them with a rasp. And I’ve seen some put twitches on horses. This has not been the case here. Josh began shoeing our horses when Raudi and Siggi were young. Back then they were antsy. But he never, ever raised his voice, or raised his hand to any of them. Rather, he on occasion has stopped what he’s doing, stepped back for a moment, and let the horse both calm down and rebalance itself. It’s always worked, and I suspect will continue to work.

Josh finished up around 11 a.m. I put Raudi away, and Pete paid Josh and made the next appointment. After, I said to Pete “well, once again the horses were shod and it was without incident.”

Next: 169. 05/26/12: A trip to Hatcher Pass