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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Liar Liar pants on fire

My particular moral compass that lets me take an extra tea bag from a restraunt without guilt, forbids me from lying.  I will wheedle, skirt around, and otherwise distract the asker, but when it comes right down to it, I try to avoid lying at all costs.
I really really really like my farrier.  He does a great job.  He's easy on the eyes.  He's non judgemental (or rather, he won't say anything, even though you know he dissagrees because he gets quiet).  He's good with the horses.  He's mostly on time.  He's polite and has a wonderful smile.  He's more than just competent at trimming and shoeing - he's fantastic. 
As with any professional I like, I want his respect. 
When he took off Farley's shoes in September, we talked about people who kept their horses barefoot at all costs (even if the horse was paying the price) and we both agreed that the barefoot extreme does no one any good.  I did not tell him I was planning on "going barefoot".
When he trimmed Farley in October, we talked about how it's good to let a horse to go barefoot when off work.  I showed him my renegades and he trimmed the back of my LF boot for me.  I did not tell him of my intention of riding a 50 barefoot and casually mentioned my next 100 was in February. 
Today he casually asked when my next ride was.  I dithered around and told him the end of February.  I started to make excuses of how I didn't know for sure because we hadn't ridden for 2 weeks, she had taken some funny steps 2 weeks ago etc etc.
Then I stopped. 
This was silly.
I wasn't fooling anyone.  Chances are I AM going to 20 mule team.  Chances are I'm doing it barefoot.  I need the farrier on my side.
I told Mike I didn't know whether I was going to shoe for the 100 mile race in February.
I told Mike I had ridden 2 50's in the fall barefoot.
Then I told him that if Farley told me she needed shoes, I would put them on.  And if he saw something, and he thought I should put shoes on, I would listen. 
His only comment was: "It's good to keep shoes off a horse as long as they are doing OK with the work".  (or something like that.  I was so nervous at this point I don't really remember the exact wording...) 
Whooo Hoooo!   What a relief.  He says her feet look great.  I watched him carefully as he trimmed.  Even though he trims the frog more than I would like, he didn't touch the sole.  He told me that I was letting the heel on the LF get to long, and the toe on the RF run away.  He doesn't seem to mind that I'm rasping between visits. 
I let him know I have no intention of being the sole provider for my horses feet, and even if I do much of my own trimming/rasping, I will still be paying him to look at her feet every 9-12 weeks because I value his professional opinion and his eye. 
I'm feeling good!


  1. Whew!

    My horse has been barefoot for nearly 20 months now and I've been through 3 farriers and about to move onto a porper barefoot trimmer. Tough desicion though but even though my last farrier had a huge amount of knowledge he didn't do what I wanted and wasn't ok with me touching horsey's feet in between trims.

    I wish you well and hope that your farrier continues to work out!

  2. I had a similar conversation with MY farrier this morning!

    (I fully intend to return Fiddle to shoes this spring, however Hana will continue to go barefoot either until we leave for a week of trail building in the mountains or until she shows signs of needing shoes)

    Mine was supportive of my decision(s), and SHOWED me where the trouble spots are on Fiddle's feet, so I would know where/how to rasp them to keep her more "even" between trims.

    A good farrier = gold.

    A great farrier = way better than diamonds.

  3. You never know Mel, you might just convert him to a believer (at least for some horses). People are doing some of these longer rides completely bare (no boot, not shoes). May not be for every horse, but definitely working out for some. Have you competed bare yet? Meaning no boots? Or are you still transitioning? Even though I train bare almost all the time, I still feel inclined to boot at a ride. Mostly because it makes "me" feel better if we hit a gravel service road. The boots give me the confidence to take gravel head on, where I'd be much more conservative bootless. Trail conditions here though are nothing like trail condtions where you live. We are mostly hard packed clay, with intermittent rock and then the gravel they throw down in the parks. ~E.G.

  4. Hahaha Mel...lying to a farrier sounds like trying to lie to your dentist and tell them you've been brushing and flossing....even though one look at your teeth will tell them everything they could want to know.

  5. I'm so glad that you finally told him! Even though I rarely put all my trust in a farrier or vet I do prefer that they know all the facts about my horse. Leaving out something like that is something that I am highly unlikely to do.

    Of course I am very lucky to have a very open minded farrier. I could inform him that I have decided to ride Lucy in pink ballet slippers and he would laugh at me (which he would do anyway) tell me good luck and give me advice!

    On your comment about him being easy on the eyes, after having my current farrier for over four years now I have a new appreciation for young farriers who wear tight jeans. Seeing as the view you mostly get is from the back, it might as well be a good one!

  6. endurance granny's comment deserves its own post, so I'll leave my throughts until then.

    AareneX - I totally agree. I'd rather have a good farrier than gold....or even diamonds


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