Monday, June 1, 2009


You will never guess what happened today!

I invited Spencer into the paddock to go to work. I had lots of enticements, carrots, Winnie's cookies and sweet feed. All his favorite things!

I explained to him what we were going to work on...again. The same thing we've worked on for a number of hours. It has been baby steps, but he's made some small improvements with each session.

His devoted fans watched and gave him encouragement. They were shouting in their silent horsie way, "You can do this!" (Not really, they were complaining, I think, that they don't get all that cool stuff just for picking up their feet.)

Once again, we went to work. First I made the request. Which is normally followed by a quick peek of the bottom of his foot. I would reward each new try, but would ask for more, each time. He started getting it. He's so smart!

I really didn't expect to get what he offered today! No way! But this was closer to the hoof stand than we've gotten yet. Could it happen? Is there any chance he will set his big ol' ugly foot in that stand? Not likely, he hasn't even come close before.

But wait!

What's this!

It's in!




This hoof hasn't been touched since June, 2008. When I got the call to come trim a draft horse with terrible abscesses. He was drugged and it took two of us to hold his hoof on the stand. We got the job done, for what it was worth. But seriously, trimming a doped up one-ton, unhandled, draft stallion was probably one of the dumber things I've done in my trimming career.

Our first nip! I'm so excited.

I so wanted this to happen just the way it did. We had considered sedating him and laying him down just to get the job done. It would have been a huge ordeal and even though it might have gotten him trimmed and possibly without injury to me, I knew that he wouldn't have learned anything.

I considered using ace on him, which is how I trimmed this hoof last year. But even that only works on some horses. I'm thinking we just got lucky last year. He was in a new environment and had just gotten the you-know-what beat out of him by another stallion. You can still see some of the marks on his body from that beating now that he's in his summer coat.

Since he's been here, I've focused mainly on this one foot. I figured if we could get this one done, the other hooves would come faster because he would understand the task.

And the amazing part to me was that when I give him the cue to lift his foot, a gentle squeeze of his chestnut, his foot pops right up! He’s so cooperative once he gets it!

Some of you may wonder how is it that an old lady could get such a thrill out of seeing the bottom of a draft horse's foot.

Well, I can't really explain it. All I know is that we just have 3 more to go!:0)

Stay tuned.