Tuesday, February 24, 2009

trim notes for the end of winter

Our trimmer arrived at 8:30 this a.m. and since it was so cold I'd gone out early to feed breakfast tubs in hopes that everyone would be warmer as a result. I think it helps that they are not waiting for breakfast while being trimmed!

The geldings went first, and then the pony. This six weeks I not only touched up Keil Bay's hooves but I also did Cody's. So far I am making some positive difference. No one is getting long and ragged between trim times. All three had huge amounts of wall growth, and considering the wet winter we're having, they are all hanging in there wrt thrush/yeast. I have a feeling the diet balancing is going to do away with that issue once and for all. Should know by the first trim of the summer if that's indeed true.

Salina was next after the geldings, and we opted to do her trim in the little barnyard, in the warm sunshine. At one point B. was doing her hind hoof, and Rafer Johnson was behind him, resting his donkey head on B's shoulder, while Redford was in front of him, resting HIS donkey head on the other shoulder. We all got the giggles at the idea of donkeys that refuse to be caught for trimming. Ours will not leave B. alone - they get as close to him as they can, and seem to consider it a privilege to have a turn.

When trimming Rafer Johnson, B. said "if you could put what you've done with this boy in a bottle people would pay a thousand dollars for it." Rafer was standing quietly, relaxed and snorting with donkey happiness. It was a meditation in contentment. After all he went through with his broken leg, it makes me very happy to see that Rafer is so at ease with having his feet and legs handled. We tried hard to make that experience one that would have no lasting effects, and I think we have succeeded.

And I can't say enough about how much B. adds to everything we do. His demeanor is always calm and easy, he wants the process to be positive for the equines, and he goes out of his way to do things that attend to their comfort. It is not uncommon in our barn to see the horses drop their heads to lick and chew while B. is trimming. We're so grateful for that.

Redford was waiting for his turn and he too stood quietly. He was not quite as relaxed as Rafer, but you could see he was trying hard to be. Salina stood and nickered to let them know she was there, almost as if she were being an encouraging mother.

Overall, everyone is doing well and we are hopeful that when B. returns the beginning of April we might have some warmer weather!

My daughter and I came inside for cocoa and pumpkin cake. I am still not completely thawed out, but am getting there.


the7msn said...

B. is my kind of farrier. That image of the Rafer and Redford resting their heads on his shoulder is priceless.

I keep meaning to forward an email to you from our driver's ed teacher -- I'll try to get to that this afternoon.

Grey Horse Matters said...

B. sounds like a wonderful farrier. We've been lucky in that department too. I love that the two little guys are so well-behaved for him and that Salina is such a good mommy watching out for them. I do wish you could have taken a picture of their heads on his shoulder. What a great picture that would have made. He could have put it on his Christmas cards. I only mention that because once our old farrier did that with a really cute picture.

It certainly sounds like you have everything hoof related under control. I also have an award for you if you would like to stop by when you get a chance. There is as always no pressure if you don't have time to pass it along.

billie said...

Linda, you would love him - he's wonderful with the herd and does really nice work.

And you would have been the perfect person to have had here this a.m. - I would have ended up with amazing photo coverage of the very sweet sight of two donkey heads on a trimmer's shoulders! They were precious.

billie said...

Arlene, that is a great idea - a gift for us and B. - I need to remember the camera next trim visit.

And thank you for the award! I'll come check it out.

jme said...

your farm sounds like the most amazingly peaceful place. wish i could have seen those donkeys - they are too sweet.

there should be some kind of farrier/trimmer appreciation day. some of these guys are just wonderful. we've been really lucky in recent years to work with some great people. when we moved recently, i was nervous about finding someone who not only did feet well but worked well with our herd's unique challenges. one of our pssm horses has always been panicked about having his feet trimmed, but our farrier is so good with him that the horse nickers to him when he comes in the barn now. what a difference it makes when they have good experiences to build on each time.

billie said...

jme, I agree - it makes such a difference when there is no rush, everyone is calm, and the equine realizes that's the tone being set. No escalation, no drama, no big demands being made.

ponymaid said...

Billie, as usual your boys are shining examples of stellar donkeyhood. We had our feet done yesterday too - coincidence? I think not. There is obviously some sort of karmic connection. Our footman is kind and quiet as well and even Jack, who was most suspicious at first, stands quietly to have his feet done. Our footman has bought a mule in Missouri and is bringing him home at the end of March. I think our good donkey behaviour and intelligence influenced him, as well as seeing how traumatized TJ is. He wants to show people just how wonderful a mule who is brought up with kindness can be. Did the boys have pumpkin cake as well?

billie said...

Sheaffer, I love that you and Jack were getting footwork done on the same day as Team R&R! I agree - a karmic connection.

How wonderful that your man has been so impressed that he went out and found himself a mule!

Every professional of any kind that comes here exclaims repeatedly that they had no idea miniature donkeys were so amazing. I think they must only have encountered severely traumatized ones to have such a skewed idea of what donkeys are like.

Rafer and Redford did not get pumpkin cake, but our trimmer brings cookies that each equine gets at the end of his work. I will confess outside the hearing range (I hope) of the horses that Redford and Rafer got a bit more than their share. He just couldn't resist.

I guess I should explain that he trims Salina and the donkeys all together. We have halters on them all, but they are free to be as close as they like, and to move around, as long as they are respectful of the space and work being done. Which they always are! I guess I really do need to take photos next time, so I can share how wonderful it actually is.