Friday, June 1, 2012

Greetings from the Hat (Warning: Picture Heavy Post)

Hello all! 
I'm currently posting from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.  

I arrived Sunday evening in Calgary International Airport, and drove home with the other 3 students in this trim course and our teacher to the tune of this beautiful sunset. 

Monday morning we headed to the piece of land where our teacher Lisa keeps her herd of horses. She owns three horses, and boards two more. Above, left to right is Jack, Sierra, Rico, and Soleil. We trimmed them all to some extent that day (some full trims, others partial). 

Above is Billy

The land here in Southern Alberta is flat desert land. In New York where I live, the land is hilly and green, mixed with forests. Here it is a pale green and brown, and flat, flat, flat. So queer to get used to! In between are what I call "inside out mountains", the proper term for which is "coulees". The land dips down suddenly, so as you look over the broad expanse you don't actually see it. Lisa's horses are pastured on land like this. It's hard to capture the steep incline of the coulee in the above photo where the horses roam, but it's pretty incredible. 

And there are cactus!

New York boots on Albertan soil. 

Above are the horses of the pasture next to Lisa's. The horses climb up and down the steep coulees.... so different, but very cool. 

Tuesday morning we went out to trim a couple palominos. Above are two of them, a mare and her yearling colt. 

After which we headed back to Lisa's farm to trim a mini and a miniature donkey there. I have yet to capture a good picture of "wind walls", but the above picture gives you an idea. Instead of run-ins, they have simple walls to block the wind, because there isn't enough rain to require rooves! 

I had the pleasure of trimming "Rico de donkey". He is so cute! I would totally take him home. Compared to the horses we had trimmed that morning who were naughty and mean, he was a safe fellow to work around. Due to his small stature, trimming meant literally kneeling on the ground beside him. When he'd get impatient, he would buckle the front that you weren't trimming and simply attempt to lie down on top of you or on the ground, which would obviously be a naughty thing to do, except he's so little his attempts don't amount to much and we could only laugh. He never kicked out or tried to bite. 

Such were the horses of day three, above, sans one that didn't make it to the collage. Nothing really eventful there. 

Hey look!

It's yours truly. Trimmin'.
Those were borrowed chaps, I am the proud owner of a burgundy pair now.

Day four, yesterday, found us in a field with 3 chestnuts and a bay mare. Trimming them went pretty uneventfully as well. Yesterday was the day where our lack of adequate rest caught up with us, and we were all tired and sporting sore muscles. Apparently day three or four is always like that during course weeks.

And today. Day five! We're gaining speed more now. 

This morning found us at a farm on the edge of a reservoir. We trimmed one f the two minis there. Most of the photos are of the mini we didn't trim, Spirit.

What a life, eh? They didn't need a fourth side to the pasture because the lake took care of that. Pretty neat!

Above is the mini we did trim, Lizzie, post trim.

After which we headed to a different farm with four horses and two donkeys. We partnered up to trim. First I trimmed Sterling, above. He was great with his fronts, but quite impatient with his hinds, so he took awhile.

Jimmy and Buffy, the miniature donkeys, looked on.

Sterling was followed by the stout (chunky), Joey. He was a cutie, and relatively well behaved. 
I'm coming to really love trimming. Farrier barefoot trims are relatively flat, as they are meant to be formed to have a shoe applied. The trim I learn is much more concave and carefully formed, so trimming is like sculpting. It's so interesting to learn how forming a hoof one way causes the pressure to shift a certain way, and why we form the hoof a certain way, based on the bone structure below the surface of the sole. Trimming in this style is truly an art form.

Joey was followed by Jimmy the donkey, whom I trimmed sans a partner. He was such a good boy! So far, I've met only nice donkeys, and it makes me want one some day. 
Trimming is a bit addicting, especially on the days when we have the pleasure of seeing the dramatic change in a horse after the trim. This stuff works. And steel horse shoes nailed to soles are not necessary, for any horse. 
I'll leave you with that.


Gudl said...

Very interesting read! Great photos, too! I am so happy you love what you do. Nice country side, too!! And all those nice horsies and donkeys!
You just have to love them all!
And I love you. Take care. Love, Mom

Ruffles said...

Awesome pics!! It looks like a really nice area.
Sounds like your having heaps of fun and getting a lot of experience trimming.

Sand. said...

Welcome to Canada! Yes, Alberta is a strange looking place if it's your first visit, that's for sure! Looks like a great course and great experience!

Raz Darnell said...

Wow, the horses are gorgeous!! And I love donkeys, they are so adorable!! It sounds like you enjoyed yourself. I used to ride, and I never did any trimming, but I loved being close to the horses. All animals are great :)

Michaela said...

I totally admire you. I still pay someone to trim Indigo's hooves because I'm way too afraid to mess them up. Plus it hurts my back. So basically you should travel the five hours or whatever it is to come do it for me. ;-)

Mellimaus said...

Michaela. . . It's not hard! Although the course was quite expensive. But I absolutely loved it! I can't wait to start trimming for others. . . which will be very soon. Your back doesn't actually hurt much, you learn to bend down at your quads, so they hurt but they toughen up fast. My back never hurts; just my legs and my arms occasionally!


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