Here's mud in your eye

The photo is of a member of my support crew during one of his horsemanship lessons. His teacher is working with him on cleaning out his horses hooves. Notice it is a nice dry summer day....not so today.
Yep, it is muddy and all of our hooves are delightfully packed with pooh, pieces of hay, and mud. It was a bit like the mixture that Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs used when they were building pooh houses-if we had time to bake the bottom of our hooves in the sun we would have had some good building material. At this point the stuff was just plain nasty, that is where the fun came in.
The DOR decided that we all needed our feet cleaned...oh goody! The thing you must know is that the first horse the DOR owned as a child loved to kick when you are in range of her hind feet and she was in "a mood." So the DOR has been dealing with a bit of hind hoof fear. I worked with her on this over the summer and she is now comfortable cleaning all of my feet, she doesn't worry at all. She is still working on not being "hind hoof shy" with the other horses in the herd. So she has been picking out the other horses front feet at liberty and their hinds when they are haltered and being held. She will do all four of mine at liberty, after all I am her teacher and she trusts me.
The DOR came out with a hoof pick and no halter, so we all knew that only front feet were being cleaned on everyone but me. She started with Harley, front feet and a good back scratch. There she stunned the pretty boy by asking for his back feet...Harley was so shocked that he just gave them to her with no problem. She cleaned his hinds getting only a bit of mud on her sleeve. Hmmmm, looks like she is going for the gusto today!
She came over to do my feet, I was going to continue being a good teacher so I didn't give her a bad time. I did however manage to have to stomp my foot in a mud puddle and splash her with mud, darn fly! She was still pleased with herself and not a bit upset about the mud.
Freedom was next and he can be a tough cookie at times. She asks for his front feet and he makes her have to work to get them. He is being a bit of a brick wall, pretending he doesn't have a clue what she wants-he also figures if he keeps refusing she will leave him alone. Well the DOR believes that brick walls exist to keep out the people who don't want something bad enough and she really wants Freedom to pick up his front feet. She stuck with it and Freedom finally cooperated. Then she went to his hinds. Woo hoo, Freedom is thinking he is going to sit on her and she will land face first in the mud. The DOR lines him up to the panel and gets between him and the panel. When he tries to sit on her he ends up landing his hip on the panel...smart DOR! She goes to the other side and doesn't even try to line him up to the panel. She picks up his hind foot and when he tries to sit on her he runs into her elbow that she has up like a chicken wing. The old guy blew a few marbles and stood like a good boy the rest of the time.
Salty was last, he had plenty of time to plot his strategy. Now remember we aren't doing this to be naughty, we are trying to make a better horseman of the DOR-all of this is for her own good. Salty did some dancing around, it was a great way to ensure that the DOR had plenty of mud all over her. She got him to stand still and then she surprised him by starting with his left hind, moving to his left front, and the proceeding to his right front. Salty's right front is his bad leg and he will act like he can't pick it up. Salty thought that he would try teaching the DOR about toe stomping, he forgot she deals with Hank the Tank and could see that one coming. He then picked the hoof up but kept it so low she just about had to stand on her head to see what she was doing. She then went to his right hind, this is the hoof that Salty is really giving the farrier a bad time about. So she asks for his foot and he refuses, she tells him she wants the foot and he says "Nope, no way." So she starts kicking his hoof with her toe, he decides that he will lift his hoof and when she reaches for it he takes a gentle swipe at her. We all suck in our breath, we figure that will be too much for her. That it will send her right back in time, back to her first horse the "kicking queen." We watched to see what she would do and we were amazed. The DOR took a deep breath, rolled her shoulders, and started humming the "horse lullaby" her grandfather had taught her. She reached to the offending hoof, picked it up and finished the job.
If we had hands we would have all clapped for her. I am so proud of her! She was smart, cautious, dealt with her fear, and went out of her comfort zone. She had mud and poop all over her and a big old grin when she was done. I often wonder if the DOR knows how hard we work to help her learn and to make sure she is pushed out of her comfort zone, yet making sure that she is successful.
I am thinking that the DOR needs to get an English saddle now. She rode English for a bit in her younger days, but got a bit of a scare when the horse she was on had a major "fall apart." She decided that a western saddle was felt more secure. Wish me luck...I am going to have to do some work on this one. Maybe if I act like the western saddle hurts my back she will give it a try.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Rambling Woods said...

That is a major undertaking for a pedicure Jack..

Cheryl Ann said...

That sounds like me and Sunni today! I, too, am er..."cautious" when picking up my horses' feet, especially when I'm ALONE! But, I did get Sunni's two front ones cleaned today.

LatigoLiz said...

Mike Rowe ROCKS! Just ask the Little Cowboy! Looks like Dakota worships him, too!


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