Monday, September 29, 2008


This is me decked out in all my ranch finery. Except you can't see my New Balance hiking shoes. That thing in my hand is fly spray. I thought a spray might be easier. Judy thought we should get the wipe on kind. She was right.

Besides everything else we had to have our horse's hooves trimmed.

Who do you call? The farrier if you don't do it yourself. And believe me I don't.

So we called a farrier and he came and it is a good thing he knew what he was doing because I surely did not. I am getting considerably better at putting on a halter though. Would not go so far as to say I have mastered the art but definitely better than when I began.

We have one halter that is really limp. I'm still not smart enough to put it on. I need a horse that I can just hand the halter to and say "buckle up" and then walk off.

Judy said her dad would be so embarrassed at our combined ignorance and inability. I have to take most of the credit for it because I am well below zero on this scale. Judy can barely reach the buckle of the halter for her Jet unless he lowers his head. That is an accommodation that one cannot count on.

Our farrier arrived on Saturday afternoon. He is a really nice fellow. His normal job is welding and around here it is a really busy time. But he tries to keep his farrier trade up when he can. His tools were quite simple really. I never had seen anyone trim horse's hooves before. It is a little like trimming your fingernails. Very little that is.

Getting the horse to cooperate is not so easy if the horse is not so inclined. One of ours was not inclined either. Trimming hooves is backbreaking work. First you have to get the horse to lift his hoof so you can get hold of it and while turned around you keep it kind of between your legs. It is hard to describe but probably harder to do. Then you have these big clipper like things that you use to cut off and shape the hoof. After that you get the horse to put his foot up on this little tripod like stand and use a really big file on the hoof. If it sounds easy I haven't properly described it.

It reminded me somehow of trimming dad's nails during my caregiving days.

If the horse decides he or she doesn't want this done then it gets a whole lot harder. One of our horses was pretty easy and the other three were not. The last one was especially difficult. Her name is "Dial A Bully." Horses have funny names.

Eventually "we" (used in the most liberal sense) succeeded. Actually my job was to hold the head of the horse by the lead rope which is attached to the halter which is attached to the head. Now the horse is about 10,000 times stronger than I am. That's an approximation. I may be off a few zeroes one way or another. Just suffice it to say that horses are exceedingly powerful animals.

In holding the horses head apparently the first rule is that you are supposed to let the horse know that you are in charge. I was about as in charge as I was during the caregiving days. I was even more ignorant.

But that did not, of course, deter me from walking into the unknown.

Judy actually is pretty much in charge but there is only one of her.

The farrier had more halters than we did and after he watched me halter one of our horses he proceeded to halter the other three in about 1/2 the time I had used. I think he took some pity on us.

He had to show me how to tie and untie the lead rope to the fence. Amazing how much stuff in the world that there is to be ignorant about.

After the farrier left we came home for a short rest. I'm telling you my body is sore as all get out. It is interesting how doing different things makes you sore in different places.

Then we had to go down to doctor again. Finally we are done with the antibiotics but still have to give this albuterol and some other stuff called "bute" which is some kind of pain reliever and anti-inflammatory drug. We have these syringes that you use to put the stuff inside on the back of the horse's tongue. Judy is very good at this. She says it is like giving stuff to babies. I don't recall ever doing anything like this to a baby. I am not very good at it in case anyone was wondering.

Jet's cough and respiratory issues are much better. He is still hobbling around though. The vet said we should give him only grass hay for a few days so we have some of that now, too.

Later that same evening our neighbor had to come over to round up some of his calves that had somehow escaped across the creek. Our horses are a little afraid of calves. Our neighbor looks like a cowboy. He has a cowboy hat and is tall and slim and wears boots. I don't know if he chews or not but the farrier did. That is one habit that does not seem appealing to me at all. Must be something I fail to appreciate about it. Our neighbors "regular" job is a trucking company. You have to have a very good job to be able to afford to have a farm and ranch. That has not changed in a while.

The article about the fire station land was in the paper on Saturday. It was not too far off from what I said. But they did mention the value of the land. That is very embarrassing.


~Betsy said...

It looks to me as if you are learning very quickly how to care for horses! You've even got the outfit down!

Glad to see Jet is on the mend.

Lori1955 said...

So horses actually get a manicure? Very interesting. You're turning into a real rancher but I have to question a white shirt. Does is stay white? Having horses sure does seem like a lot of work to me.