I’ve been sitting on this post for a while for two reasons.  The first being that I really didn’t do much during my time with the farrier so there’s not much to write about.  And the second being that it is ungodly muggy in our parts lately and I’ve done little more than read, stir about and nap the days away alongside my cats.

I made a deal with myself that if I finished this post, I can grab my book and retire to the coolest part of the house without a pang of guilt for being and unproductive lump.  So let’s get to it.  The cats are waiting and they hate it when nap time is delayed.

We’ve already established that my primary job was to lug around the anvil.

So let’s take a step back and look at the whole picture.  Every day for three weeks Robbie, the aforementioned farrier, would pick me up and we’d head down to the racing stables.  I’d haul the anvil out of the back of the truck and follow him around from horse to horse until we were finished.  And then I’d put the anvil back in the truck and we’d head home.  Exciting, I know.

I had very limited horse handling experience prior to this gig so I was pretty much useless at the beginning.  Over time I would hold the horses for him while he shod their hooves.

Horses are very much like juvenile delinquents.  They love to mess with the bright eyed, bushy tailed newcomers of their world.  They really enjoyed their time messing with me.  They reared, they stomped, they bit, and the biggest insult of all, they leaned on me.  It’s a subtle but effective alpha technique.  By leaning on me, they’d wait and continue applying pressure bit by bit until I was off balance and had to take a step to the side.  Then they’d skooch closer and lean on me again and again and again.

The primary objective of holding the horse for the farrier is the distract the horse from all the banging and filing going on and keep them calm.  For me, that came in the form of letting them sniff me.  With their giant nostrils, the horses inspected the inside of my ears, my nose, my eyes and every strand of hair.  Oh my, how they loved to sniff and chew my hair.  So long as they were occupied and standing still for the farrier, I let them chew away.

By the end of my third week, the horses and I had become good buds.  I could trust them to behave and they could trust me to let them nibble on my ponytail (for old time’s sake).  It’s pretty cool to stand there and have a horse come and hang out next to you, just because he enjoys your company.

In closing I’d like to give a shout out to all the little fuzzy creatures of the stables.  The ridiculous rooster, his fussy hens, the shamefully overweight yellow lab and all those sly little barn cats.  If at first you don’t see critters in the stables, look again, they’re there.  They’re just doing what they do.

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