Saturday was blustering cold, but I was determined to make it out to the barn so Moon could get his hooves trimmed. Despite the heavy snowfall the night before, and the -30 celsius temperatures, I was there 30 minutes before my appointment was scheduled. Which was perfect to give me time to bring Moon over to the hitching post, groom him down (he was covered in half-frozen snow and less then impressed as I tried to scrape the frozen chunks from his back with a shedding blade or my fingers...I wonder if he's got a bit of a sore back?), and pick out his snowy feet.
The half hour flew by quickly, and no farrier...In hindsight, despite the google map and google directions, apparently the street sign on the highway is only for the North side, and thus, not the road the farrier was looking for. Whoops. Still, the google map should have pointed her right to the property, but I guess she didn't bother to print it out since the directions seemed pretty straight forward...
Anyway, she showed up eventually, surprisingly, driving a car. That's something you don't see everyday.
And she was great.
The perfect mix of old tried and true techniques, with just enough scientifically proven technology to have me onboard. I know that the biggest debate in the horse world right now is barefoot vs. traditional farrier work. I personally (and I'm sure that will be another long post), don't favor barefoot trims. Farrier on the other hand, did a really nice classic trim, but used a special hoof rest when working; which seemed a lot nicer then trying to hold up a horse's hoof the whole time you work on him. It also seemed to make things a lot steadier, which I thought was great.
It probably didn't help, that the first thing she did was compliment my dog, which for me, is big brownie points!
I asked her about his overgrown hooves, and she said she'd seen a lot worse. Moreover, the fact that they haven't split or chipped was awesome, and vouched for how strong they were. I had always been under the impression that white hooves are weaker then black hooves, and Moon'er has four 80-100% white hooves. Farrier actually informed me that while a lot of white hooves are weaker, every once in a while they're not. And his were one of the nots. : ) Which was just awesome.
She agreed that this is likely the reason why he's not as 'ouchy' on gravel (I have some friends whose horses hate walking on roads with a passion), while Moon only seems bugged when walking on really big stones. Fair enough. To make Farrier gain even more points, she informed me she's the only one in the province using this new epoxy that you fill in the sole of the hoof with, that acts as a natural guard against road stones, making it even better then shoeing for road riding. This was exactly what I want for Moon; something that spares me the headache of worrying about shoes for a horse that's on pasture 24-7-365, where he could throw one and continue running around with it off or half off for days. Or another horse could step on the shoe with nails in it, and get injured before anyone is out to pick it up. Or he could loose it on the days I want to ride, and then I'd be stuck waiting around for the farrier.
The other surprising thing, was that every other client of hers, cancelled because of the cold...and they all had barns to work in! I suppose sometimes when you have the luxuries, you get a little spoiled. Plus, I'm sure their horses didn't need the trim nearly as much as Moon did.
She assured me that the dish shape of his feet was more typical of the QH breed (I dealt with too many TB's and Arab's in the past), and the the little bit of flaring would go away with regular trimming. So I set him up to be on her regular rotation, since she did a great job. Even with his frozen hooves, she trimmed a bunch off the toes, and sanded them down so what chips did exist (this is natural hoof trimming for horses, as the longer bits break off on their own) would slowly work their way out.
I was thrilled with his newly pedicured feet, as they looked all spiffy and nice. She promised to give me some exercises to do with him this summer, since he's stiff on the hind end and doesn't like pulling his back legs up to his chest. Again, she assured me that this is fairly typically of the QH breed, especially those that are ex-reiners or barrel racers (which I don't think he is). Hopefully with continued work, both on and off the ground, we can get him all loosened up and feeling great.
The best part, was when she praised him on his manners. Despite the other horses harassing us (the one half-blind horse in the paddock just continually tried to goad him into kicking her!), he was an absolute gentleman. He stood nice for her, and she commented on how compared to a lot of horses she deals with, he's a farrier's dream. No bruises, no injuries and no time at all to finish. Man, I love my MoonSox.
And that was that. I wasn't sure if one should tip their farrier, but considering it was frigid out, I was her only client of the day and she had to work outdoors instead of in a barn (plus I really like her), I gave her a little tip just under 20%...hoping that she'll gladly continue to come back in the freezing cold (and this summer, in the scorching heat) to trim him up to perfect.
Sadly, by the time she left (took about an hour, what with how frozen solid his feet were), I had been outside for 2 hours, and was a popsicle! I couldn't feel my toes, my fingers were numb, and my face could no longer move. I gave Moon a final carrot for his good behavior, and then let him free in the paddock.
...and then bolted to my car to crank the heat up on high!!! BRRRR!!!
Moon's Hooves Before:
And AFTER: (remember, we'll be cleaning it up slowly...)