Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

My highest respect is reserved for craftsmen. They think, therefore they do.

I don’t. Do, I mean. I just think and think some more.

Here’s my salute to the farrier. Weak name for such a macho profession. Sometimes English fails its subjects.

Meet Matt Carava, the artist of the hoof. He likes horses and horses like him, well, my mare certainly does. That’s important, because it involves nails, files, red hot iron, and lots of time measuring and fitting. Though shoe material has more variety and the modern farrier uses an oven rather than stoking his own fire, the basic process of horse shoeing hasn’t changed over the centuries. Hot-shoeing means shaping the iron (or whatever material) to perfectly meet the hoof, with adjustments to improve leg weaknesses and irregularities.

What makes a farrier great? The ability to keep a horse on all four pins long after nature would have pulled her down. And, gaining the trust of the horse. With Matt at work, Vandy half closed her eyes and gave an occasional relaxed and deep sigh through her nostrils. It sounded like this: “bdbdbdbdbdbd.”

Vandy’s a girly-girl. She likes to get her nails done.

And Matt's a stand-up guy.


  1. I pray we get more craftsmen, and men, who think before they say I do.

    Pray for Ken.

    That's a sharp looking horse you serve there!

  2. It seems like it should hurt. Why doesn't it hurt?

  3. What a great post and I love your photos. What color did Vandy get on her "toes"? I like "Bubblebath" myself. I'm also partial to "Second Honeymoon" but you know I'm the hopeless romantic. I like Mark. Let's keep him and give that creep Ken the hoof!

  4. You have a horse?!

    Someone who can work that closely with that size of animal gets immediate respect. Or they should. I've always found it amazing that it doesn't hurt the horseys.

  5. Vandy is a beauty. You can just tell that she is a girly-girl.
    & what girl would not like a pedicure AND new shoes without the bother of a trip to the mall.
    Ditto on deep respect for Mark.
    wv: pawlie

  6. Ciao bella. Nice pictures! Yes, your baby needs shoes. It's important. When I was child it was one of my favourite things: sit on a tree and watch at my neighbour he made " Shoes" at his horses.

  7. Haha Virg and Tash, she gets basic, shiny black.

    Amy & Margaret, no, doesn't hurt. It's working with dead tissue (like cutting your hair or fingernails). Horses cannot tolerate pain of any sort.

    Italo -- I like that story.

  8. Talk about back breaking work. I used to assist my farrier when he worked on Nia. I could drive a mean nail back when; sort of. I think it was around 16 bucks then. Bet you paid more.

    Funny, earlier tonight I ran into my old pal Marcial at Trader Joes. We both got our horses at the same time a day apart (Marcial was also my pity prom date)

  9. Hold on to your hat PA and multiply that by close to 10. That's the going rate for just about every farrier I know.

    You're right about the back -- it's a young man's job. (I'm not being sexist, by the way. Very few women take this up.)

  10. Hold on to your purse, KB. Then, just what are you getting for all the dinero?
    I mean after your investments, what's left??

  11. Under a spreading chestnut-tree
    The village smithy stands;
    The smith, a mighty man is he,
    With large and sinewy hands;
    And the muscles of his brawny arms
    Are strong as iron bands.

  12. Now I need a drink

  13. You're a horse woman? Well, now. I knew we had something in common. *smile*

    I looked into becoming a farrier a few years back. Tough job. It's also difficult for women to break into the field because most horses are owned by women and they want a man bent over their horses' hooves. It looks like you got yourself a good fellow there.

    I so admire people who "Do". I'm not much of a doer either. I can talk a good talk and come up with great ideas, but I fizzle when it comes to manifesting any of them.

    Your horse is beautiful and looks like she has a nice temperment.

  14. From Merriam Webster
    Etymology: alteration of Middle English ferrour, from Anglo-French ferrour blacksmith, from ferrer to shoe (horses), from Vulgar Latin *ferrare, from Latin ferrum iron

    Wikipedia says they couple a subset of blacksmith's skills with a subset of veterinary skills. I guess that makes him an equine podiatrist, and wearing Wrangler jeans, of course. I'm sure Vandy was greatly relieved, as were you. I was always fascinated to see the frog getting trimmed.

  15. KB, seems like many commenters didn't know you were a woman horse. There's an idea for a future posting!

  16. Mr Earl, I adore that poem and had forgotten all about it. Thank you.

    PA: Too early.

    Carolynn: Then we have more in common than horses, though I'm really working on that one. Please post about your horse sometime. I did have a woman farrier once, and she was very good. But when Vandy hurt herself and needed designer shoes, she referred me to someone else.

    PJ: OK, then. And yes, great relief, and her tootsies have never looked so swank.

    CO: Thought I just did.

  17. Even horses like a good pedicure. I'm not surprised.

  18. Karin, shouldn't that be two pair of shoes? Or did you just get the front done?

    WV: behazing

  19. My grandmother used to recite The Village Blacksmith as long as anyone would listen.

  20. MG, aka MH, DP, and GH, et al.
    Gotta go eat!

  21. Did Vandy really attend Vanderbilt? I'm impressed!

  22. I don't own a horse, myself. I have many surrogate horses. I take riding lessons once a week and use their school horses. Until very recently, I worked part time at a local stable as a stable hand and, while I was there, they were all 'my' horses. I miss them terribly...hmmm...maybe I should go visit them today. I've written about 'my' horses on my blog from time to time. They're all wonderful and each one has taught me so much. Truly, gifts from God.


    More photos from South Pasadena.

  24. I was there a month ago and they had a pretty large selection of Gucci shoes...which I was pretty unimpressed with. Wonder if this shipment is any better.