Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Change for the Better

Those of you readers with horses know its dang hard to find, and keep, a good farrier.  Especially when you live in the sticks.
The guys were back to mill the oak some more, last Saturday.
Up here, at Oak Creek, we have been using a farrier who was recommended to us when we moved in.  He worked at some of the larger barns in the area and, when I mentioned his name, locals would nod and say he was good.  And he was.  I liked how he handled the horses, with kindness, and they all did well.  He and Brett became good friends.  Over time, though, there was a change.  He was in a lot of pain while he worked (he isn't young and shoeing horses is hard, hard work).  The last time he came out, I was pretty unhappy but ... he and Brett are friends and he was the best in the area ... so I felt stuck.  I thought maybe my expectations were too high, considering that we don't live in an area with big fancy show barns and the hot-shot farriers they attract.
They are getting some gorgeous planks of wood from that tree
A couple of weeks ago, that farrier left a message.  He said that he had recently had knee replacement surgery and wouldn't be able to come out.  He called the day before he was due to come.  And the horses were already ridiculously long.  Brett's feelings were hurt at the short no notice and I was angry.  And I was a bit panicked.  Brett called a couple farriers but they were already booked solid.

My solution?  Contact a local fellow blogger, Elinor, who boards her horse close to our ranch.  She recommended the farrier that comes to that barn, and when she gave me his name, I had to laugh.  It was the same farrier that worked on Lucy and Winston when they were in training at Sandy's barn, over an hour away.  I said, "he isn't going to come all the way up here" but she thought he might be able to work us in, on the same day he comes to her barn.  He wasn't able to work us in, but he did recommend that we use his apprentice.  So we did.
Brett and the tree guy's ten year old son worked on knocking down fence.
The guy is local.
He is young and strong.
He graduated from farrier school two years ago and has been apprenticing since then with Sandy's farrier -- who is awesome.
He has experience working with vets and complicated issues.
He is passionate about his work.
He is currently applying for some advanced certifications around complicated cases.

He spent a long time with Jackson.  He took off a good amount and re-balanced him all the way around.  He didn't work for more than a few minutes on any one hoof, rotating around from foot to foot so Jackson wouldn't have to stand three legged on his tender feet for longer than necessary.  After he finished, Jackson immediately walked like a different horse -- and (see my last post) was able to do much more than his usual slow, careful walk.

He was very good with Tex; making friends and honoring Tex's insecurities.

Lucy was pretty straightforward.  He changed her shoes to be more consistent with dressage work. When Lucy went in for her stifle injections on Tuesday, our super amazing sport horse specialist said that she knew who he was, has seen his work, and likes him.

He tried to work on Finessa but said that he wasn't comfortable doing much without a vet evaluation.  She's got evidence of founder (she's got a long history of that) in three of her four feet and there are empty spaces and dead spaces and ... well, she's a mess.  We have scheduled an appointment for her. I was so embarrassed, and mad at myself, for not insisting on more regular trims for her.

Live and learn, right?


  1. With farriers, I've always believed the proof is in the results. You got good results! My own farrier is the one who told me that. I've been blessed to have the same one for ten years, and his younger former apprentice, backs him up if he's sick, and will take over for him one day. I'd be lost without him. For soundness issues, I even call him before my vet!

    I'm very sorry you may dealing with another founder issue. At least you have this talented, sensitive farrier on your side though. Makes a big difference. Update us on the results from the vet. I'm very interested in all things founder now that I have Little Joe and, to a smaller extent, Leah.

    1. I will definitely post about Finessa after her evaluation. She's already walking better with just the little bit of trim that he did.

  2. Score! Whereas experience has great value, a vocational passion and up to date knowledge can also hit the mark.

    1. I'm not sure that I'd want someone fresh out of farrier school, but this guy sees a lot due to the calibre of the farrier he is apprenticing with -- and his passion is refreshing.

  3. I just had an incident where a farrier messed my mule's feet up, but I was able to get her to my regular farrier and have him fix her. Having a good farrier is so important.

    1. Yes, that saying about no feet, no horse is so true -- for mules and donkeys too.

  4. Sometimes the universe works out.


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