Saturday, January 10, 2009
The farrier finally was able to put the borium shoes on my horses’ front feet yesterday. He takes regular shoes and adds little cleats to help give them more traction in the snow and ice. On Silk’s front feet, he also covers her frogs with special pads to protect them. Since Siete’s shoes are still on backwards, we decided not to use the pads so ice and snow wouldn’t get caught in the front, and he did a borium wash to rough up the shoe instead of making the cleats.
We’re about a month late with this essential winter project. The weather just wouldn’t cooperate. Every time he was scheduled to come, it snowed. Yesterday was sunny but very cold and windy. We still have ice on the trees from the storm earlier this week. We were able to pull his truck into the pasture, close to the barn so we didn’t have to walk the horses down the icy paths to the slippery driveway. Siete was first, and until John nailed the shoes on, she was fine. Each time he tried to add a nail, she yanked her leg out of his hands. It was really difficult. I kept thinking that maybe she was still sore on her front feet. We stayed calm, and although it took about a half hour just to put the nails in one foot, I really appreciated how John never lost his temper. He just kept reminding me that no matter how long it took, we had to finish the job.
It was most important to me that Silk get her shoes, since I didn’t want her to fall on the ice. As we started to fit the shoes and pads, the wind really kicked up and ice chunks rained down on us. Silkie got very nervous, but she never spooked. We weren’t under the trees, but the wind was blowing the ice off the branches all over the place. As it hit the top of the farrier’s truck, it would make these sharp popping noises. While he nailed the shoes on, Silk really tensed up and I noticed her neck started to shake. We realized that the cold nails must be hurting as they went into her hoof. So, Siete must have also been reacting to that painful feeling. I felt really bad, but I knew that for their safety, we had to get these shoes on right now. As soon as Silk had the first pad and shoe on her foot and set it on the snowy ground, she visibly sighed and relaxed as if to say, “Aahh, that feels much better.”
After two hours of standing in the bitter cold, we were finally done. My fingers and toes didn’t thaw out until many more hours later. I’m going to go through my calendar now and plan out the schedule for next year so we get this done the week after Thanksgiving. Next farrier visit is the first week of March, and we’re all hoping that it will have warmed up by then.
Meanwhile, this morning, we’re preparing for the next snowstorm. They’re predicting eight to ten inches, and I still don’t have my hay stored for the winter. I’ve been picking up ten bales each Sunday morning from my favorite farm about a half hour away from here. My hay man lost a big part of his second cut this fall when he mowed and it rained. He’s been working his way down the list of customers that he’s had for 30 years, and he tells me that I’m the next delivery. The problem is that he wants to sell me good hay and everything he’s been getting recently is pretty funky. The last thing I want is to waste money on hay that the horses don’t want to eat. It’s always something. I’m going to see if I can pick up my weekly hayload a day early so I can rest assured that we’ve got enough to make it through this snowy week ahead.
This is our fourth winter in New England, and it’s teaching us some new lessons. We’re definitely getting more snow, ice and cold than we’ve had before. This morning, I was thinking about how some Saturdays, I really wish there were magic fairies who would feed breakfast to the girls. I just didn’t want to put on all the layers of clothes and walk out to the barn in the dark at 6:30 am. When I saw that the temperature was 9F degrees, I changed my attitude. I thought about how Silk and Siete were eagerly waiting to get some hay in their bellies so they could warm up. It was so crisp and clear, and the horses were very glad to see me. It reinvigorated me to get a move on and do what needs to be done before the next storm comes in this afternoon.