Before the Deluge Recap – The Coming of the Farrier

Rylee, facing the camera, talking to Kim Martin, NH Barn Manager, by the Farrier trailer.

By Dan Roark   The farrier comes every five weeks. The last time was on May 20 – before the torrential unforgiving rains. Joey was substituting for the regular farrier, Wyatt, who was in the hospital with health issues. Joey’s assistant was Rylee, affectionately referred to by Joey as the “Dutch Hammer.”

One of the things I remember from the old western movies (maybe the new western movies too, but I haven’t seen them) is the blacksmith shop. It was mostly open in the front and had this huge anvil in the middle of it. The blacksmith would heat up the metal, lay it on the anvil, and beat the crap out of it with a sledgehammer.

Joey at the anvil shaping Libby’s shoe. You can see the heat of the gas “stove” over his shoulder.

So when I got to New Hope, I was surprised to see what amounted to a blacksmith shop on a trailer. Complete with a gas stove of sorts – to heat the horseshoes – and the aforementioned anvil, a fraction of the size of the one in the movies, that pulled out of the rear of the trailer.

When volunteering for New Hope, you learn things that it never really occurred to you that you actually needed to know. It would take considerably more space than I have here to list all the things I’ve learned at New Hope. And the list is constantly growing. But of concern here is the fact that it never really occurred to me how long it actually took to shoe a horse.

It’s a good thing that all of the horses, and the mule, don’t need new shoes at the same time. It took three hours to effectively and completely shoe Libby, all told. In the meantime, Rylee, “manicured” the other horses hoofs. [Insert commercial about the Farrier’s visit being expensive and donations being needed.] If we spot shoes in the color and size we want, it can take no more than half an hour to buy a new pair. Libby needed all four and she had no input as to color. But Libby was a good girl and was patient. She was getting a lot of attention, which helped. Sharla spent a good part of that time clipping Libby, due to Equine Cushing’s disease – more about Libby in an upcoming post.

First, Joey had to take the old shoe off and file the wall. Taking care not to disturb the sensitive parts of the hoof, yet still cognizant of any needs the horse might have as far as the hoof and leg might be concerned. Then, when the farrier is satisfied, the shoe goes on the wall.

The shoe is heated in the stove before it is put on. When it is put on, the following picture is the result:                                                                                                                                                It also stinks! But what I don’t understand is that the tremendous heat doesn’t bother the horse even more than it does. I know it doesn’t bother the horse, but it seems like it would bother me. Which is probably why I’m a volunteer, not a farrier. I’ll leave you with a picture of Flash getting a “manicure” from Rylee.



Ride on and ride for hope.

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The post Before the Deluge Recap – The Coming of the Farrier first appeared on New Hope Therapeutic Riding.

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