|What farrier day normally looks like|
The answer is no.
But I seriously considered it.
|What I expected|
You remember how Courage threw his shoe a week ago? Well, my life is an ongoing shit show (cross your fingers it gets better in two weeks!) and the farrier was booked up, so we just kept our normal scheduled appointment for this past Monday. No big deal, right? The little man is probably a bit body sore and five days off wasn't going to make or break us.
I wrapped his foot in highly attractive duct tape with flying pigs on it (Thanks J!) and let him live his normal life while I dealt with other things.
Then came Monday. I pulled Courage out of his stall for the farrier and was surprised to see that my little bay horse was showing the whites of his eyes.
Huh. Never seen that before.
It pretty much went downhill from there. Despite neither the farrier nor I doing anything offensive or crazy or weird, Courage just progressively lost it. We were trying to keep things calm in hopes of his brain returning to orbit. I even took him back into a stall to eat hay and chill out for a good 20-30 minutes to see if that would help, and nope.
How bad was it?
At the end of two hours, he had one shoe on and I legitimately thought I was going down under him on cement. Oh, and he was rearing/leaping straight up in the air every time the farrier picked up his foot. And kicking.
We had to abandon the entire idea. We scheduled another appointment for Wednesday and I was given strict instructions to work that ****** down.
But here's the thing:
I'm an ammy. I absolutely 100% refuse to own an animal that behaves like this. Yes, I understand that I could just drug him every time he needs shoes, but I am not willing to go that route. A horse like that gets his ass sold down the road with full disclosure. I realize other people are willing to deal with that, but I'm not.
It's dangerous. I'm not interested in dangerous. I don't care how talented Courage is and how much fun we've had. If this is a thing for him, or if he learned from the experience how to get out of a shoeing, then we're done.
Plain and simple. I don't play games with this stuff.
|Now known as "riding weather"|
The next two days, I worked the shit out of Courage. In one shoe. In a wet arena. Til he foamed. I don't really think I've ever just intentionally worked a horse down for the hell of it before, but it was very productive. I'd actually venture to that my pent-up rage made it very easy to be clear and directive and not take no for an answer from him.
I rode like a total badass. "OH YOU WANT TO SPOOK AT THAT ******** WELL I'LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO SPOOK AT". I felt totally secure in the saddle and Courage was bloody brilliant. We had prompt, crisp transitions and correct bend and counter bend and leg yields both directions on and off the rail and lots of ring figures. I kept changing the questions which kept his brain engaged.
|Correct work is exhausting|
Honestly, those are probably the top two best flat rides I've ever had on him. He was light and connected and responsive and forward and even floaty. It was pretty great.
And then the farrier came out again on Wednesday right after our ride. I had just enough time to curry the foam off and take some deep breaths so I wouldn't be channeling any extra nerves to him.
And Courage dozed on a loose rope and was perfect. I probably could have ground tied him and walked away, but I still want my farrier to like me.
So. Little bay horse. Not getting turned into hamburgers or sold. Definitely is going to step his flatwork up to the next level, though.