Wednesday, September 14, 2011

trim notes september 2011

Today my son and I had trim lessons. We learned how to balance the heels, how to assess the sole, white line, and wall, how to address flaring, and we actually did the 3-week touching up on both the pony and Keil Bay.

The pony was not exactly thrilled that we were rasping and trimming his hooves. He was a handful for the front feet, rearing (a very controlled rear, more like a levade in hand than anything else) several times. I have no idea where this behavior came from, but it finally occurred to me he needed some in-hand work to get him focused and he was perfectly, and I do mean perfectly, behaved on the lead line as we took a few turns around the barnyard, walking, trotting, backing, halting, yielding, etc. Interestingly enough, after that bit of work, the hind feet were very easy and he was very well-behaved.

Keil Bay was his usual self. He took his hoof away a few times, bobbed his head a little, searched everyone for horse cookies, and fell asleep.

We stopped at two because that's honestly all I could do, even taking turns with my son. Our teacher/trimmer did lots of sketches for us along the way, and answered questions with terrific examples and explanations. We're fortunate to have not only a good trimmer but a wonderful teacher who is glad we want to learn and is happy to get down on the dusty barn aisle floor and guide us through the process.

I have some rasp marks on my left hand. I'm not sure what I did that made these, but they're like hash marks that barely break the skin. I wore gloves! I also must have held the rasp under my arm at one point and whipped it out too quickly - there's a 3-inch swath of rasp markings on the inside of my right bicep.

We'll do Cody on Friday and at least one donkey, and will probably leave Salina to her regular 6-week trims for now. With her arthritis she doesn't need us fiddling with her hooves - maybe when we get better at it.

It takes some strength, but more than that it takes dexterity with the tools. My son is much much better than I am already, since he has used rasps before in his woodworking and seems less nervous about making mistakes. He's careful, and very focused, but more willing to try what he's been shown.

This evening the pony gave a riding lesson and was the king of good ponies. I was surprised at his anxiety earlier in the day when putting his very healthy hooves into our novice hands. Although on some level I don't blame him at all!

I'm looking forward to the day when I can do this with even a modicum of confidence. But until then I'm excited to be learning more about the hooves and trying a new set of skills.


smazourek said...

Don't worry, it gets easier :)

billie said...

Whew! Keep telling me that! I had the ice pack in bad with me last night!!

Matthew said...

Very cool story. Looking forward to learning this skill too!