Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Search For A Farrier - Part 1

In 2003, when we bought our first horse (in my adulthood) for my daughter, I used a farrier that trimmed at where I boarded at the time.  He was supposedly "THE BEST" in the area, was not taking any new clients, but trimmed mine.  I felt privileged to have him work on my horse.  Within two years, we had four horses.  The old granny mare, my Appy, the grullo mare, and a buckskin yearling gelding, and all the world was right.

Then the day after I'd have THE BEST out to trim, I arrived at the facility to find Jazzy, the grullo mare, so short in front she couldn't walk.  In 24 hours, she'd gone from barefoot and sound, to completely crippled.  I called THE BEST, told him about my mare, and he came right out and put shoes on her front hooves.  And this started years of frustration for me. 

Some times, the frustration was immediate, other times it was delayed for weeks, months, or years.

We bought our small farm in 2005 and the horses were moved first.  I once again went on the hunt for a farrier.  I asked people I knew and the recommended THE BRAT.  He was a roper, young, and unbeknown to me, had a horrible temper.  His first, and last, time doing my horses, he lost his patience and hit my Appy mare in the belly with the handle of his rasp 5 times before I could stop him, or she could move out of reach.  I asked him politely to pack it up and leave. (Not really, I screamed at him like an old fisher's wife, cuss words rolling off my tongue in quick succession.)

One of my western pleasure show friends recommended THE KID.  He was also a roper, young, but was patient and kind and did a good job.  So began a relationship the me, THE KID, and my horses.  THE KID was the one I called in an emergency.  I depended on him to keep my horses sound and comfortable.  I sent baby gifts when each of his four children were born.  Then things changed.  See, THE KID was finishing his Engineering Degree.  Sounds great, right?  Well, not so much. 

When THE KID finished his degree, he went to work at a full-time job using that degree.  Trimming horses became his "hobby".  He kept a few of his clients, just enough to keep him busy on Saturdays, for extra spending money.  He showed up on time, trimmed the horses as quickly as he could, and off he'd go.  I began having lameness issues.  Jazzy still required shoes, he'd take too much heel off, too
much toe, wouldn't ensure the hoof was balanced, and other things.  I also started having a LOT more incidences with thrush, something I'd never had before.

Now bear in mind, I live in the desert.  We get MAYBE 7 inches of precipitation PER YEAR.  The ground where I live is sandy.  My stalls are open.  HOW was I getting thrush?  (More on this later)

So I started looking.  I found JOE, who was a complete MORON!  I won't go into all the details of this boob but will share that it took him 45 minutes to shape and set ONE shoe on my Appy mare's club foot.  So he didn't come back.

Next I tried CHAD.  He was rough, hiked the horses up, but did a decent enough job so as not to lame anyone.  Problem was, the horses didn't like him.  The first time, everyone good.  The second time, everyone fought him, pinned their ears, and two of the eight he worked on took a kick at him.  He was also fired.

Then I found John.  He was over an hour late with no phone call or explanation, which of course, forced me to cancel my plans later in the day.  His arrogance oozed out the truck ahead of him and he spent more time posturing and being "studly", than actually working on my horses. FIRED!

Becoming desperate, I asked around AGAIN.  "CJ is cheap!" said one friend.  I find that you usually get what you pay for, and I'm not opposed to paying more for someone who knows what they are doing and doesn't lame my horses.

My new neighbor uses STEVE for her two horses.  I observed him working on hers, but before I could really GET what he was about, Mike called for me for something and I had to leave.  Several months later, Bullwinkle was lame in front.  He was a little long and needed trimmed anyway, and my neighbor had STEVE coming on a Wednesday.  I had to work so I arranged for my neighbor to come get Bullwinkle (BW) and put him in the lineup with hers.  She texted me and said BW had thrush, really deep and really bad.  I called and sent Mike to get some Koppertox so I could treat BW when I got home.  When I picked up BW's foot, none of the sole and frog had been trimmed.  I had to use a brush to remove the dirt and stuff.  I treated his foot and in a couple days, he came sound.  At the time, I figured the Koppertox worked! (More on this later)

So I decided to give STEVE a try with the rest of the herd.  I trimmed four of my own on Wednesday, and the boarders on Friday.  The results?  Check back for Part 2.

1 comment:

Nikker said...

Finding a good farrier is worse...well it's worse than dating and hoping to find Mr. Right!!
When Jake's done with his trade...I'm gonna cry a river...