The morning started with a phone call from our farrier.
"Say Val said she'd like to see some hots hoeing, well I'm going to be at Linda's and will be hot shoeing Thunder, would you guys like to come over?"
Indeed we did! To watch Dan work is like watching art in motion. He'd probably blush at that description.
We arrived and Linda told her border collies to sit in her 'Mule'. Her cattle dogs are incredible and they were our audience.
The horse to be hot shoed for a Wagon Train was Thunder. He would need shoes to navigate blacktop and gravel roads.
I'm not going to get into the the discussion of shoes vs. no shoes. In our area if you ride often on gravel roads and our rocky trails, shoes are pretty much a must.
Here he puts the hot shoe against Thunder's hoof.
NO, it does not hurt the horse.
Thunder never even had a reaction.
We however were warned that it would be stinky.
The purpose simply for hot shoeing is to create a smooth surface between the hoof and the shoe. It seals the horn tubules and as Dan told me makes the shoe lie nice and flat against the trimmed foot.
[Imagine putting on a pair of shoes that are lumpy and bumpy against the bottom of your foot. You'd get sore feet in a hurry right?]
Dan finishes up the first foot and moves around the horse repeating the process and custom fits his hand made shoes to each foot.
While doing endurance my mule's feet were cold shoed. After watching and understanding the process of hot shoeing, I'd never do cold shoeing again.
Dan makes his own shoes and that would seem to be a lot of extra work. However he takes a lot of pride and care with each shoe.
Dan is also a certified farrier. He understands the anatomy and physiology of the horse. I suppose I could list his credentials if I knew them all.
He does know feet and he does know horses, mules, and donkeys.
Dan can tell exactly how he has to adjust the shoe to fit properly when using hot shoeing method.
Here he determines where he has to make adjustments ...
And then he goes to his anvil and custom fits the shoe.
After a bit more work, the shoe goes on.
I'm not going to pretend to be an expert at hooves, horses, and shoes, or trimming. However I do know that taking care of the equine foot is so very important.
I like watching Dan work and I really like how he explains things as he goes along. Sometimes I have to stop him as I don't quite get all of the terminology and jargon that goes along with a farrier/blacksmith job.
I do know that my small herd of animals are much better off in having him take care of their feet now. He helped get Siera back on her 'feet'. So far she has been the only one we've ever had a with an issue.
Since Dan came to our farm as our farrier, things have gone quite smoothly.
Last but not least.
Our entertainment while we were visiting.
Sully, the mini donkey.