Well, just as I thought, Mommy gave me today off – since I had such a tough jumping day yesterday! It worked out perfectly for me to have today off, too; my friend, John the Farrier, showed up today to trim my hooves and give me new shoes. New shoes for a new adventure!
Mommy never rides me after I’ve gotten new shoes; she always gives me the rest of the day off, because she knows that I often feel sore afterward.
You see, getting new shoes for us horses isn’t like getting new shoes for a human. Humans try on a bunch of different shoes, box them up, buy them and carry them out of the store. But for us horses, well… it’s an entirely different process!
Not only does the farrier have to take out all of the nails and then pull off each shoe, but he then has to trim my feet at exactly the right angle (because trimming too much will really hurt me and can cause me to go lame, and having my feet at the wrong angle can cause problems in the rest of my legs, too).
Then, once my feet are trimmed, the farrier has to shape the shoes to fit my feet perfectly – and my farrier knows that he also has to grind down the corners of my front shoes, because I have a big stride and I step on my feet a lot, which sometimes means that I pull my own shoes off my accident!
After he fits the shoes to my hooves to make sure they’re perfect, he also has to nail the shoes on – and he has to make sure the nails are in the exact perfect spot, too. A nail that’s even slightly in the wrong position can cause an abscess – I’ve actually had one of those before – and can even cause me to go lame for a long time!
Anyway, putting nails into a hoof is no small task – not for me, either. Just like any nails, they have to be hammered in – but with horses, that means hammering against our feet! And that can be a little painful sometimes, leaving us a little sore. That, and the fact that we’ve had our hooves trimmed and new, tighter shoes put on… Not to mention the fact that we have to put our feet up on these awkward stands, which means that we have to stand in funny positions for a while at a time, with each foot in turn. That’s why Mommy always lets me have the rest of the day off when I get new shoes; she knows I’ll be a bit sore afterward. She always does what is best for me!
Nailing in the shoes isn’t even where the job ends, though. After that, my farrier always clips off the little edges of the nails that stick out from the wall of my hoof, bends them and sands them down so that they’re flush with the wall of my hoof (and so the nails can’t come out), and then he puts this putty stuff on my hooves to fill in the nail holes. Last – but not least, I’m sure – he polishes my feet with shiny hoof polish!
And then I get to go back out into the field and eat more grass!
Speaking of which, it’s time for me to head back out to the paddock now. My new shoes look and feel wonderful, but my legs and hooves do feel a little stressed after all that hammering! So I think I’ll go catch a nap in the sunshine before I fill my hungry belly with more grass; I’m sure Mommy will be back in a little while to “oooh” and “aaahhh” at my new shoes before bringing me in for the night. Have a great day, friends – I’ll catch y’all tomorrow!