A Filly Writes Her Farrier

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 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, http://www.AnnaBlakeTraining.com

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

7 thoughts on “A Filly Writes Her Farrier

  1. I guess there are some places where politics just don’t belong, as much as it pains me (an ex-D.C. politico wannabe) to admit it. Glad you wrote this, because he deserves all the praise you give. I think farriers are the bass players of the barn band: in the background, but they hold everything up.

  2. I’ve been through six farriers in my three decades of horsekeeping, not because they fire me and my horses, but because the farrier moves on to something else because of how crippling the work is. So when I find a good one, I pay them very well for their efforts. My current farrier for the last eight years is such a gem. He is a big guy and strong and he does baby talk the horses and enlists their undying loyalty by scratching and loving on them before he touches their feet. My stallion is putty in his hands. And he is willing to train, working with the foals from early on to just practice picking up their feet, patting and tapping their hooves, learning to stand in place rather than leaping and thrashing around. He is also apprenticing younger farriers and I am happy to let our calm horses be subjects for teaching.

    And he comes when he says he’ll come. He’s gold.

  3. Clap clap clap clap clap!
    I agree.
    When you get a good farrier, hang on, treat him like a God, and make sure you visit him if he gets stuck in traction. Difficult, difficult job.

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