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My Zimbio

Not Always easy being a Farrier / today was one of those days
Friday 1st of April 2011 03:05 AM

Hello and hope everyone's getting ready for some great riding.

No pictures today , just a short ( i hope ) story.

One of my clients called me last nite , says a horse he recently got ( borrowed ) is lame and wanted to know if i could come out almost immediately, i said yes tomorrow. Last time i shod the horse it had abscesses in both front feet , that was 8 weeks ago so everything should be fine by now.

Now's where the fun starts : I meet my client and he's a BIG guy 6'3" 260 lbs. He starts in " so and so at this ranch says the toes are too long ( like it's my fault ) so and so at this ranch says the shoes are too small for the horse ( again as though it's my fault )  And look the foot's overgrowing the shoe , and there's no heel support - and the horse is lame , and he's probably sore in the bulbs , and the attitude is it's all my fault.  Oh and , it's like this horse hasn't been shod for 12 weeks the feet are so long ( my fault again ).

So i look at the horse , the feet aren't unnecessarily long for 8 weeks in fact don't really show that the feet have grown all that much , and i mentioned that to my client standing right there next to me. The Response " So and so says the feet are long way too long " and he's looking at me like he's dead sure it's all my fault and whatever this other "So and So" has been telling him is fact !  I couldn't control myself , i told him in almost these exact words " I'm so F'ing sick of other peoples attitudes about my shoeing , they don't know what the "F" they're talking about"!  And he's still sure everything's my fault.

Now this "So and So" happens to be on the ranch , and he's kinda checking things out while i'm right there having to defend myself and my reputation - let me speak on my reputation here with you for a second or two .  My Reputation is for the past 20 years that i've been shoeing horses i've not had one single lame horse from the methods i use. I happen to think 20 years is enough time to pretty much validate my methods of shoeing work. In fact it's really unquestionable in my mind at this point , that's how much confidence i have in what i'm doing.

It's so funny ! Now i have two guys - the one BIG guy and the other guy that i have to defend myself with. Remember there's a lame horse here and it's my fault you see " LOL " .... Oh boy.  I take the shoes off the front feet and the second foot i notice that the horse has yet another abscess , making for a total of 3 since my last visit with the horse.  Well that takes some pressure off me because now there's a reason for the lameness, but the accusations of everything else is still heavy in the air.  The toes are long the toes are long - you get the idea. So i clean the foot as normal and see there's very little hoof wall to cut off. Now i have bonafide proof the feet aren't long in fact the horse is a slow grower of hoof , so that makes another hurdle overcome.

Now as i go into explanations with the BIG guy he's asking questions of me as though he's deliberately working on CATCHING me in some wrong doing or in some kind of MISTAKE i'm making , it's like this guy's on a witch hunt and i'm the suspect !!

So i give an explanation and he immediately looks away from me to look at the other guy standing there looking for verification of what i'm saying. The Big guy looks at me - he looks at the other guy - then looks back and me then back at the other guy - you getting the idea ?   This is INSANE !!!

The horse has no heels - well i answer " that's because the horse was brought to me two shoeings ago with Bozo the Clown feet and as a result the horse has sheered heels now. Well his toes are too far out in front - my response is "Yes that's the way you brought him to me and that takes time to fix - it doesn't happen in one or two shoeings many times " ...  He looks at the other guy !! the other guy nods in approval of my response.

So i point out - "You see the hoofwall at the toe and how it's growing straighter up and down" - he's like "yes i see that" - i say " that's because i've been moving the shoe to the rear of the hoof and the hairline of the hoof is now growing new hoof in response , when it's done growing out ( one year ) the hoof will be much better and much more balanced".  BIG guy's like " yes i can see that - OH i get it now "..  whew !!! another hurdle conquered ....

But there's still some explaning as my method of shoeing unfolde right before their eyes . Every move i made i gave an explanation ( the method to the madness )...  And every time i did so the BIG guy looks to the other guy for approval , my reputation still on the line right before my eyes .... OMG !!!  

So try as he may to catch me in some kind of wrong doing he failed !  thankfully ! And i got to walk away holding my head high.  You know the problem i had was i just was alittle put off by the BIG guys attitude - i was guilty as charged  - it was ATTITUDE !  Being a farrier , at least for me , my reputation is important to me , it's not like farriers just want to say " ah screw this and screw you i'm out of here think what ever you want about my shoeing ". That doesn't go over too well because now there's a former client running around possibly saying negative things about me .  It's the compulsion to address all the negatives and defend oneself . LOL ..... It just wasn't easy !

What if the "other" dude has different methods that he believed in for shoeing - there are other methods out there besides mine. Can you see the conflict that could have erupted !! The BIG guy looking at the other guy who's not quite agreeing with me . It would have been a freeking nightmare !  I've been there done that.

As it turned out today after the smoke cleared i felt hammered on pretty seriously and merclessly - the good part was it all worked itself out for everyone , including the horse.  When the job was finished and everyone stood back and looked at the result of the work that had been done everyone was in agreement and the many complex processes needed to accomplish the desired result were obvious - and that was because of ME ! I'm the one who did the work it was all my responsibility my doing . 

You see in a situation like that when everything i was doing was being questioned i had to TAKE CHARGE !! i had to sieze the moment and be the leader . I had to pull it ALL up by the bootstraps and lay everything out . If i would have taken a more layed back role and had i let the others to take control it all would have come across like i was just doing what i was being told which would have not proven my credibility , they would have looked at me like THEY were the ones running the show and the only reason the horse was done right was because they told me how to do the work. That wouldn't have been good. I would have still been suspect of not knowing what the hell i'm doing.

Today was a good day !  Wasn't an easy day but it was a good day (-:   Haha !   The challenges of everyday life right ?   What challenges are you facing , i'd like to hear , really i would !  please responses very welcome here.

as usual happy and safe riding.

John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira

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