Thursday, April 28, 2011

I've washed my hands four times

And they still smell like thrush. Oh and I took a shower so they smell like thrush and shampoo.

Today so I thought was going to be a relatively event-less day. I really only had one thing planned that had a certain time. I felt like I had nothing to do and like usual when I feel like I have nothing to do I get swamped with more stuff than I should be able to do.

I was eating breakfast and puttering around when a friend called me. He had some horses that were in dire need of a trim and correcting. After a brief conversation I made plans on short notice to trim some horses later that day.

I cleaned out the rest of the calf barn which needs to be done by hand. I cleaned it maybe a week before I went to Oklahoma. Straw was added mostly every day so horses weren't lying or standing on soaked bedding and there is enough ventilation and stall dry added that it isn't a problem to go a few weeks. Well let me tell you about 14 weeks of two horses pooping (Sheba and Indigo) turned out to be a bit much.
When I was in Oklahoma I think I cleaned one stall in total. This meant when it came time to clean the shed I was totally out of stall cleaning shape. Sure I could wrestle and shoe a large horse but cleaning stalls just killed me. My old shoulder injury of the torn rotator cuff started throbbing. I admit I only got 2/3 of the shed done and quit and I've never quit. So today I finished it with the help of the broom eating horse, Indigo who seems to still have her taste for corn brooms.
The wind here is unreal. The back barn door blew off and the wind took the aluminum shovel right out of my hands! The good thing about wind is it will dry up the really crazy amount of rain that has occurred here. Who thinks I should go back to 95 and dry in Oklahoma? Meee!!

After finishing the shed I brought the spotty horse in to work on her feet a bit more. She was ouchy a little bit still but her soles are exfoliating more. A little visitor came to brush and sit on Indigo before I was on my way to my new job. Yep another job.

Right before I went to Oklahoma I got a phone call from the head instructor of our local therapeutic riding center. They just got a lot of money and a biiiiig government grant to build a new facility since their old one was being built up around just outside the city. I never handed in my resume, they hand picked me.

Long story short I came in a couple days and they hired me, part time for now but before long they said it will likely be full time. I am going to get my NARHA certification and teach riding and hopefully driving lessons. No one else in this county can compare to the program they run of over 200 students! So in August I will go to get certified which I am pumped about. They said if I take an apprenticeship for shoeing they will hire me on as a farrier when I come back to do all their horses feet.

After I was done there helping with lessons and tacking up horses I scooted over to trim some badly balanced feet. Ever seen thrush squirt out of a horses sole before? For the life of your fingers and nose I hope none of you ever do. It smells AWFUL! Hopefully the horses will be on a more regular trimming schedule this time. No pictures, it was too dark and rainy. Soon though.

It seems everything is falling in place, but the anti thrush stink soap.

Monday, April 25, 2011

This is a good reason...

To come home.

Just as I am reconsidering my trip back to Canada from Oklahoma because of the cool temperatures, still naked tress and mud, mud, mud, I hopped on the spotty horses back.

I rode her but not before doing her feet. I mentioned about her feet being a mess, well they were and still are not correct. When I left she had lovely concave feet with good toe callouses for a barefoot horse. Her frogs were big, healthy and she was sound without shoes on, not even ouchy over big gravel.
I came home and before I even picked her feet out I noticed she was off just leading her into the barn. I picked her feet and to my horror I found flares in all directions, medial-lateral balance completely off and soles that had appeared to pancake completely without any exfoliation. She was tiptoeing around on flat ground.
I got to work right away and found the complete polar opposite of Oklahoma "granite" feet; swamp feet. Her feet were picked frequently wile I was gone and she had 12 weeks to be a horse and not be worked. She did not have thrush but her soles mainly concerned me when it came to her being very tender footed. There was too much sole pressure on her circumflex artery.
I knifed and knifed and knifed and nipped and rasped as much as I dared for one day, making her feet somewhat more concave. Her soles hadn't so much as thought of exfoliating with the wet Canadian winter and spring we seem to be having. With some luck since I have been home and trimmed her (Thursday the 21st) I noticed yesterday that her soles have started to exfoliate again and her frogs almost overnight have expanded. Concavity is starting to come back to her feet.
Because Indigo is a little toed out, as a very alarming number of horses are due to them never getting trimmed as foals (topic for an upcoming future post), she needs balancing more often than other horses. Her feet were trimmed wile I was gone and I am thankful for that but I should have paid for another time because though 6-8 weeks is what farriers gripe about, most barefoot horses need to be maintained and balanced which means more frequent trimming intervals. This goes a long way towards your horses limbs well being, especially a horse you plan to use regularly. You can let them go 8,10, 12+ weeks but by the time your farrier comes by and has to hack off a ton of hoof on one side, heel or toe because your horse isn't balanced, the horses limbs will suffer the sudden change. Tendons tighten and loosen, ligaments are strained and muscles thrown out of whack. From what I have seen in the horse hoof world now that I have been more educated is that not a lot of farriers put thought into medial, lateral balance, no matter how well they can put a shoe on. I wish more owners seen it. Before I went to school I seen it but never paid any mind to it. So do your hoofcare provider a favor and look at your horses feet regularly and note any changes.

The day after I got home I trimmed Indigo and went for a quick bareback ride across the alfalfa field. She was ouchy even on the soft ground but obviously not feeling bad enough to pass up a good ol toss of her head, hump of her back and a launch off all fours into the air in an attempt to land me on my butt in the soggy field when a van went by making a startling noise. Silly spotty horse, you just keep thinking I don't know your tricks by now. Try again.

As I mentioned her feet are looking much better just after a few days so I hopped on her again. Before I even got to the driveway the spotted pill made an attempt to trot off. I don't think so. She was tender on the gravel but the soft grass sparked something in her as she gathered herself up and tried to slowly jog her way into getting away with murder.

If I had come back just to ride this horse it would have been worth it. I rode quite the bit in Oklahoma but nothing is quite like this little DIRTY


Ok, seriously Indigo I had to deal with enough S^&% head paint horses in Oklahoma. Giving yourself a mudero coat pattern is so not necessary.

Real funny.

Can't someone make the weather go back to 95 and dry already? I would really fancy an afternoon ride wearing a tank top right now.

All pictures in this post by Sarah

Friday, April 22, 2011


This is so not fair... So not fair.
The day I left Oklahoma I could have been in shorts and a tank top but I had to shoe ponies so jeans it was. Safety sandals don't work as well as they claim anyway.

I got my diploma, sweaty in a t-shirt.
So much has happened at school.

I spent a few days in Missouri with a certain cowboy.

"Hey, whatcha doin' over there with that camera?"

"Are you taking my picture?"

Why yes, yes I am. Hold still the lighting isn't that good.


I spent a few days wandering around seeing the lovely country and rolling hills before traveling back home where the trees are still naked.

Back home it is so strange. I go away a few times a year usually for a few days or a week or so but never three months. I go away for a week and it's like new buildings go up overnight, people get married or move away. I am gone for three months and it's like time never touched this town. Everything in the barn is in it's place (minus a few barn cats), the horses were muddy and happy to see me. Indigo nickered her way over the moment I yelled out. It's like time stopped just for me to go to school and now has resumed in a tidal wave of people needing my help, horses needing to be ridden and job offers.
I plan on taking an apprenticeship. I have a few offers here in Canada and a couple in the US, some close, others far.
So far I have been trimming. I am going to pick up an anvil next week and can work in the local homestead's coal forge whenever. I inherited a bunch of useful hammers that were my grandfathers. I wish I would have known about their existence before school it would have saved me oh...$300 or so.

I trimmed Indigo's feet yesterday. She was trimmed wile I was gone but the winter was not kind on her feet and she was ouchy on them as I led her into the barn. When I left she had lovely, concave, healthy feet with big frogs. When I came home I found her soles had splatted, frog's had shrunk in size and the medial (inside) sides were sky high on her fronts and the lateral (outsides) were sky high on the hinds as well as the quarters on both front feet strait instead of nice and round. There was nothing level about them and lots of flares. However it was so nice to be able to take my hoof knife and nippers to a sole and not have to chip at a foot like it was made of granite (AKA: Oklahoma feet). They are going to take a few trims to correct. I am thinking the really wet winter was to blame for the soles and contraction. Only time will tell.

Everyone missed me. I have been getting call after call and e-mail after e-mail from everybody and their dog. Just when I think I am getting a vacation from school the real work starts. Anybody need a trim?
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