Dear Mr. Farrier,

Remember me? My friends call me Clara. You may call me Claro d’Luna. Please pronounce it with a Spanish accent.

I heard you ask Anna to work more with my back feet. Are you nuts? I have perfect back feet. They work nicely with my perfect butt -and every other perfect part of me, all the way up to my perfect nose. I repeat, are you nuts? After all, I am going to be a DRESSAGE HORSE when I grow up.

Maybe the problem is with YOU. Maybe you are getting old and weak. When I feel weak, I eat more. Maybe you could eat more and stop complaining about my perfect feet.

Sincerely, Clara   ~Soon-to-Be Elite Dressage Horse

Clara does not suffer from low self-esteem- she is the sort of horse who might try to reprimand her farrier. And she is only one of the individuals here at Infinity Farm. We have old creaky horses who cant hold their feet up for long, and recovering abused horses who don’t trust easily, and still others who need corrective horse shoeing.  We are a tough crowd for a farrier, and yet, it’s uncertain footing; lots of horse owners have horror stories of bad farriers.

In the beginning I had low standards; I would’ve settled for any farrier who didn’t listen to conservative talk radio. I tried the excuse that it spooked my Arabian, but still Rush Limbaugh ranted on. I soon learned it wasn’t about politics- that farrier saved my horse’s hoof by treating a rare disease that I’d never heard of. Okay, a pause for tolerance. We forged mutual respect, literally.

Shoeing horses is a dirty, dangerous, exhausting, and exacting job- requiring perception and finesse. Experience matters, my farrier has been at it long enough to have had both his hips replaced.

Generally farriers aren’t prone to baby talk or flattery. They don’t care about your aspirations, your new saddle, or your marital problems. I avoid talking politics.. They do like a good joke, I usually score with a witty line comparing and contrasting barrel racers and dressage queens.

It isn’t their job to train your horse, but some of the best training advice I ever heard was from my farrier. He said, “I get hurt every time I start a fight with a horse.” We agree being adversarial doesn’t work -with arrogant fillies or Dressage Queens or veteran farriers.

And when that Arabian died- the one ‘scared’ of Rush Limbaugh- I found flowers and a note in my barn the next day.

Keep a sense of humor,  peace is possible.

Anna, www.AnnaBlakeTraining.com

(Photo: Clara (Does my nose look big?) Iberian Sporthorse Filly.)

 

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Comment by Marlene Thoms on August 18, 2014 at 11:32am

My horse does not reprimand his hoof trimmer, he is more passive aggressive and can just have very heavy feet if he isn't in the mood. Usually he stands like a lamb though and seems to enjoy the attention, which is a lot better than when this trimmer began with him about 8 years ago (before I had him). Apparently a trim used to take "forever" on this guy, he was a very naughty boy and had tender feet. Now he is doing all rides barefoot except exceptionally rocky trails.

Comment by vickie lawson on January 9, 2011 at 2:48pm
many farriers i have come across in nz are real gossips, they DO like hearing about your new saddle, show results, and generally have a few stories to tell as they shoe your horse.
Comment by Anna Blake on January 9, 2011 at 8:25am
Horses like Clara do like to be heard from. Mr. Buck, I guess the good news is you have a job that is never boring!

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