I have noticed lately that "Hoof-trimming" is becoming less and less important in the sum of all things that I do. OK I do still trim hoofs, and I do teach people about hoofs, but before I can even start on that, I have to find people who "want to learn" and get the horses to "want to have their hoofs trimmed".
So here are some pictures from at home and my last couple of trips to Europe. The common factor of all of these horses was that their feet were bad, because no-one knew how to "handle" or "train" or communicate with the horse.
Then I want to add some pictures of the way I talk to the horses, and a few of "my heroes", most of whom are NOT famous, who have taught me, and learned with me, that the way to a horses hoof, is through its heart.
There are big horses, little horses and all other types of horse, but I think they all need to be treated like horses.
Here are some little horses.
Taffy could not be caught for over a year after four farriers "Caught" her and trimmed her feet.
She could not allow her back feet to be touched for two years.
In this case I needed help from Lana who had learned good horse communication with her own psychologically damaged horse.\
See here how Lana is taking the place of herd leader and I have taken the place of obedient herd member, Lana's soft, open, hand is telling Taffy that she is "free to go and free to stay" Lana is actually under my leadership here but I am being humbly submisive to her doing the job I have given her to do... So is Taffy!!!)
This Shetland Mare (in Shetland) had badly twisted feet, but her owner did not think she would allow anyone to trim her.
After a little "dancing together" she became a lovely soft, helpful little horse.
Notice how this little horse has her ear "tuned to my station"; My hands are soft and open, the right hand leading her forward and the left hand keeping her hindquarters out and active. If you look carefully you can see that the "drive" is primarily coming from my hips and the "lead and steer" is primarily coming from my shoulders. My head is not threatening and my eyes are soft . At the time I was not particularly thinking of all these things, I was just looking to see the best response from the horse.
This is her seven month old foal whose feet were just starting to go "steep".
He was too old for "imprinting" and too young for "dancing" so we had to "sing", and "cuddle" him into having his feet trimmed.
Here are some big horses:
This owner of these two Shires (in Aberdeenshire in Scotland) could not get the farrier to come back to work on the horses
as they were apparently "too big" and "dangerous".
Both had been beaten and emotionally traumatized (by previous owners or handlers).
After his trim Warrior (the Worrier) demonstrated that he was perfectly trustworthy,
and that if treated fairly he would help as much as he could.
BTW I usually make a point of walking underneath horses when I meet them.
It is not often that they are so big that I do not have to go on hands and knees to do so.
Al is another horse that was saved from being killed (by hours) because of "incurable"
cracks in his feet.
This three year old, 1000kg, Belgian gelding (in Belgium) had never had his feet lifted.
He was so big, and scary, that the vet would try to tranquilize him from behind a brick wall.
But on the inside he was just a big baby who was terrified and just wanted a leader that he could trust.
There is the first time for everything.
And the Big Scary Objects have all gone away.
Some horses are beyond my skill level on my own, and I either ask for help,
or ask someone else to solve the problem, before I try again.
Farouk is an unbroken (and untrained) six-year-old Arabian stallion who had very badly twisted feet.
His owner is doing a great job on the feet after attending a four day clinic in Sterling Scotland.
However I was there to check up on them about five months after the clinic.
Farouk has been put out in a large paddock with a large, and fairly bossy, mare to teach him some manners.
(He was locked, alone, in a stable for five years and his manners, and feet, were understandably atrocious) however he is still a real handful.
Fortunately for me, as it was also at the first clinic, I have a secret weapon in the form of Anni (in the red jacket)
who is one of the best horse trainers I have met anywhere in the world.
Here we can work as a team with Anni leading the herd, and Farouk and I doing our respective jobs.
And just to prove that we work with middle sized horses too, here is a nice horse in Gascony (in Southern France)
who just need a little "dancing" to learn to be relaxed and to "hold the horse" for me.
And here is another of my "heroes". Tracy is a traditional or classical trained English lady who can dance far better than I.
What a privilege it is to be able to work with these folk and to learn how to understand and communicate with horses better.