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Equine Pedicure

July 20, 2010

July heat combined with June-type humidity is brutal. There are some jobs, however, that must be done rain or shine, oppressive heat or bitter cold. Things like moving fence, putting out hay, and filling waterers. Most of my ‘jobs’ on the farm can be broken up into tasks that last an hour or less, so with the weather we’ve been having, I can work on something for an hour, then come in and get cool for awhile before going back out to work on something else.

However, some folks have jobs that require them to be outside all day long, no matter what the conditions. Our farrier, Wayne, has one of these jobs. Even if he’s able to work in the shade of the barn at whatever farm he’s visiting, he’s still outside, working long, hard, physical days. Yesterday was one of those days, and he made his every-6-weeks trip to Cordero Farms to tend to the horses’ hooves.

Wayne uses nippers to clip Sadie's 'toenail.' Notice how much strength this task requires.

Getting regular foot work is important to a horse’s overall health. Sadie distributes over 1700 lbs of horse across those four feet, so it’s important to take good care of them. Last summer, she foundered (overate) on the lush grass we had in August (it had rained, ok?), and that threatened to damage her feet. Having Wayne and his crew take good care of her hooves really helped her recovery. Sadie likes having them trimmed about as much as I like going to the dentist, and she was always very difficult with other farriers. When she’s in a snarky mood, she can rest a large portion of her 1700 lbs on the leg that is being worked. But with Wayne, she has transformed into a horse that is at least cooperative with the farrier. I think she likes him, and I admire him for how well he works with her and how patient he is when she’s acting like the world’s biggest diva.

Next time you are complaining about our hot weather, think about how it could be worse: you could be a farrier.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 7:16 pm

    Wayne deserves a cold one. My cousin was a farrier for many years before he started making custom cowboy boots. That’s definitely a hot, hard job.

    • July 22, 2010 9:39 am

      Stephen, it never occurs to me to offer, since he’s usually here in the middle of the day. If I can catch him towards the end of his day sometime in the future, I’ll make sure he’s amply supplied!

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