Trekking with The Tarq, preparations

10 07 2008

Going on a trek with a horse is a great adventure. And the fun starts way early, with the preparations!
In this case that included having The Tarq fitted with horse-shoes as we were advised on some bad roads the third day. I prefer Tarq to go barefoot, but I had to do something now. It has also been very hot and dry and even Tarq’s feet are cracking a tiny bit, so talking it over with my blacksmith, we decided going for light-weight quarter shoes.

So, ready to ”catch” The Tarq. It was half past two, very hot, and The Tarq was full into his siesta. I managed to drag him out of the meadow, but I don’t think he has really woken up during the whole operation.
And don’t underestimate that! All that hammering, fussing, customising the shoes…
And Geert was working hot too! That means he heated up the shoes in the oven and matching them hot on the hoof!

Quite a lot to deal with, especially as this is a first for The Tarq!

Tarq during the ordeal: He’s actually standing comfortably on only two legs!!! One is held up by Geert, and the other is at rest!

Geert customising the shoes

Matching the shoe on Tarq’s foot

While Tarq is trying to stay upright…

The shoe is nailed to the hoof

Tarqs second hoof is being prepped: Tarq is trying very hard to keep his head up

The nails stick out a few cm, and are trimmed to short stubs, so they can be bent back, thereby keeping the iron tight to the hoof.

To make the hammered back stubs flush with the hoof, little recesses are cut into it with a special tool. The stubs are then trimmed again, and bend into the recesses.

The stubs are being bend back

Two perfectly shod feet!

The hind feet are not shod, they only get a little pedicure

One horse trying desperately to stay awake enough to keep standing.
Yeah, this Arab thoroughbred is sΓ³ ready for a gruelling four-day trek!!!

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9 responses

10 07 2008
Haleem

Does it hurt for the horses when they hammer the nails onto the hoof? Is it removed every time after a ride? When do you put it on?

10 07 2008
~W~

Tarq looks very sleepy throughout. Interesting photo essay.

10 07 2008
Shahrzad

Aww, i used to think all horses should have shoes on.

haha, nice pedicure. Tarq seems a real sleepy gentleman while getting pedicure. So cute.. lol

10 07 2008
Tony

How come the back feet don’t get shod?
Just curious πŸ™‚

10 07 2008
Aafke

I’ve written a post on shoeing πŸ™‚
Yes, Tarq never really woke up, and couldn’t be bothered!

11 07 2008
Colloquielle

I always had Anzac hot-shod, too – far better fitting shoes were the result πŸ™‚ I also agree that your choice in farrier is a huge deal – I had a new farrier when I first got him (not the same guy who’d always shod my ponies as he’d retired) and I warned him that he’d never been shod before. Instead of (as a normal person may) taking it easy with my then gentle, inexperienced (but extremely placid and trusting) youngster, this horrible man tied his head up to the side of his truck with about two inches of leadrope to spare, so he couldn’t move even if he wanted to, and forcibly restrained him in case he lashed out.

It took my next farrier several visits to undo some of the effects of that cruelty 😦 But I knew he was the right guy when his first action, on hearing of my horse’s experience with his first farrier, was to walk calmly over and offer him a treat. I never had a problem with his shoes after that πŸ™‚

11 07 2008
Achelois

Very interesting to actually see it being done.

11 07 2008
Aafke

Colloquielle: Anzac? tell more about Anzac! Great name! First time shoeing is so important! As is a good and understanding blacksmith. As you see Tarq’s first experience was mainly soporific…..
Rabhar, who due to his bad experiences with men never trusted anyone, fell as a log for my Grandma’s smith when he came and said ”come here my son” That was very interesting!

Achelois: Glad you enjoerd it!

11 07 2008
Colloquielle

Couldn’t agree more – you have to trust the farrier!

Anzac.. hehe.. what to tell you! His name came from ANZAC Day – 25th April, which was the day he was born. I got my first pony, a palomino mountain pony, Honey, when I was about 9, and a few years later I’d almost outgrown her but couldn’t bear to part with her. A family friend had bred Anzac for his daughter to event on, but she’d lost interest in horses (discovered boys – ick! Except a few, obviously ;-)) and he gave Anzac to me. He was a 16hh Waler. Walers aren’t really known anymore.. you’d have to read up on them to understand why they’re so special. In short: they were an Australian breed, awesome working horses, they never wore out and were more successful than camels at transporting troops in the desert in the first half of the 20th Century. Of all the remount sent away from Australia, only one ever came back. So their numbers were really depleted, and it took a long time for them to get a foothold again. Even now, you can’t get them outside Australia.

And a few months after I got Zac, Honey was put to sleep – she was 18 and had pedal ostitis as a result of owners from her youth not looking after her feet properly. It’s where the pedal bone is eroded and rotated from lack of support – she never had good feet to start with, and without care and attention.. well. No foot, no horse.

Anyway, he was a baby. He was a big, gangling, gentle baby. He had three perfect gaits, could jump anything and would let me sit down beside him when he was lying down, and put his head in my lap and go back to sleep.

He was attacked by vandals once and had his ear slashed almost off – it was dark when I went to rug him that night and I couldn’t see the blood. I went to put his hood on and he went a little crazy, holding his head at a really awful angle so I thought his neck was broken. When my friend turned the headlights on we could see … he was bay but he had a white blaze and a snip on his nose, and both were soaked red with the blood. I think that was one of the most horrible moments I’ve ever had, trying to check him out completely in the dark and not knowing if I’d found everything they’d done to him.

Another time he was stolen, and my parents (I was at school, oblivious, because Dad had gone to feed him that morning for me) spent all day calling the police trying to find him, but they found where he was before I got home. (Some ANGEL had found him wandering along a four lane high road about 3am, wearing someone else’s halter and leadrope, and stopped to catch him and rung animal control to come and pick him up.) I was so glad I hadn’t spent that day not knowing – as it was, my parents were almost divorcing one another in their efforts NOT to be the one to tell me…

Another morning Dad went to feed and unrug him for me and he’d already been fed (a friend shared the paddock and we always fed all the horses together to avoid them fighting) so instead of walking over to the gate like normal, Zac stayed over under his shelter and made Dad walk to him to take his rugs off. Except when Dad got there, Zac decided maybe there might be food after all, so he started to follow Dad back, nudging him. Dad’s holding all his rugs and hoods, and Zac’s pushing him in the back, all the way to the gate, and dropping his nose over Dad’s shoulder, hugging him. Finally, frustrated with not getting fed (again), he nudged Dad sharply in the backs of both his knees with his nose, and pushed him over. Dad said he turned around and Zac was staring off into the distance like butter wouldn’t melt. He came home and his first words to me were, “You know you always say your horse has a sense of humour? Well, ok, I believe you now.”

Zac would follow me into the house, walk up stairs, play tag with me, drink water from a hose and turn it on me – he’d even turn taps on to drink from them – and then turn them off again. I think if you’re lucky, you get one horse like him in your lifetime.

Anyway.. I’ve blogged enough here πŸ˜‰ Zac was my baby, he was my Tarq. I had to give him back to his breeder when I moved over to the UK, after eight years of being his mistress, and it was hideous. I miss him so much. The breeder has moved, too, and we lost touch, so I don’t even know what’s happened to him.

Give Tarq a hug for me ❀

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