Essays of an Equestrian

The title of this essay is probably the worst use of Latin ever. But it is my way of describing the ultimate diva of the horse world. Dressage queens move over. Rodeo queens step aside. Grand dams of the horse show world you aren’t even diva competition to this group. Bratty spoiled children you don’t even come close. You are all out-diva-d by this one group and every single horseman in the world today has continual contact with this elite group of equine divas.
 

So who is the ultimate diva in the horse world?

 
Horse shoers. Farriers. Blacksmiths.

 
Surprised that I’m saying this? Don’t be. If you doubt my word, just try telling your average farrier that the vet said he should trim or shoe the horse a different way. That’ll go over like a fart in church and you get to sit in your own pew.

 
No other group in the horse world is as unmovable as farriers. No other group is as responsible for the health and well being of your horse either. The only other one who comes even close is the person who feeds or trains your horse. But even the training part can come apart if the farrier has not done their job well.

 
There is little need for a farrier to advertise. It is almost solely dependant on word of mouth. And there are a lot of horsemen who would swear that their farrier is the best, yet ask the owner of the horse in the next stall down and they think that that farrier is an ass who crippled this one horse or another. Oh, and by the way it’s their farrier who is the best.

 
Even in the best locations the selection of farriers may be limited. Some barn owners compel you to use the farrier they have deemed worthy. Other barns let you use whomever you want. I would never keep my horse at a barn where I didn’t have choice of farrier or vet but a lot of ammies are bullshitted into accepting that limitation.

 

But few, if any, barns have more than four farriers who come to them, and even that number is pretty uncommon as far as numbers go.

 
Let’s say you’ve figured out which farrier will shoe your horse. The first thing you have to do is make sure you pay them timely. You can’t expect them to come timely when you don’t pay them timely. But in addition, you have to be able to walk that fine line when it comes to telling them anything regarding shoeing or sometimes to get them to come in between shoeings when Pookie has thrown a shoe.

 
This is how I find my situation works. I get a phone call from the barn worker telling me that Pookie has thrown a “chu”. He’s got typical “Thoroughbred with shitty feet” syndrome and despite the most expensive food additive for hoof health, still manages to throw shoes.

 
I immediately take my cell phone and send a message to the farrier. The message goes like this:

 
“Hi, it’s me. Sorry to bother but Pookie has thrown a chu. I know he’s a pain, but can you pretty please come and tack it back on? You’re da best!”

 
Then I wait for a reply. In the absence of one, I go to Phase Two the next day with a phone call message. But these are delicately worded. You never want to piss off your shoer. The last Phase Two I did was in a Mr. Ed voice and singing:

 
“My horse is a horse of course of course, and I must say with due remorse, that a shoe is gone and has been lost, please come and shoe my horse”.

 
Whatever it takes!

 
Now my shoer is a great guy with a good sense of humor so usually something like this gets me a response. Of course he also knows that if he doesn’t respond, I’ll just keep calling and singing.

 
I suppose you’d have to hear my singing voice to know how tormenting that can be. But to give you an idea, consider this: I once sang in my house while I was sitting on the couch. My cat came running over, jumped on my lap, and slapped me on the nose and that pretty much says it all.

 
The Mr. Ed singing worked and he responded. I told him it’s time to shoe him anyway and oh, could he do girlfriends horse too? She too had tried to get him, but didn’t resort to singing so she hadn’t gotten a response. He said he’d get out and shoe them. Two days pass and I go to the barn, hoping Pookie was done.

 
Instead, he wasn’t done and now had somehow managed to lose three shoes. Yes, that’s right, three shoes!

 
Cell phone whipped out – check. Text message sent – check. Wait half hour – check. Text he’s a little off on back right – check.

 
Then, the beautiful music of a returned text. Its contents: “SOB”.

 
Yes, I know dear chu-er that my Thoroughbred has TB feet which don’t hold chuze the best…..

 
I text again noting that the back right is slightly lame/sore and saying “twist/abcess?”.

 

The response was, “Likely a twist”.

 
My next message: “Still luv me even though my horse is a gigantic pain in the ass?”

 
No reply. Dammit!

 

So now I pray that the chu-er will come tomorrow and chu Pookie. But I mustn’t hound him, even though I want an answer. I want a commitment. I want to be able to call the barn guy and say “Hold Pookie in, chu-er coming manana”. But I can’t because I don’t know when he’s coming. I can hope and I can pray. But I won’t know until I talk to the barn guy and ask if the chu-er was there.

 
The last thing I want to do is piss off the chu-er. I’ve been there before and it’s an ugly, ugly place. It was with a dfferent horse and a different shoer, and it was years ago. My horse was getting old and the very expensive vet I paid for at a regional equine hospital said to shoe the horse a certain way, at a certain angle and balanced differently. I told the shoer, and what transpired was a thirty minute conversation about how vets don’t know nothing about shoeing.
 

In the end he seemed to comply…… I guess. But do I really know?

 
I wonder if I had the leverage of having twenty horses if it would be easier.

Gosh, I hope the chu-er is there tomorrow. I’ll have to call and check. Do they have a song for that?!

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The good will of the horse is like the scent of a rose. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.