Jared Brown, my farrier…or rather my horses’ farrier, came by last week to trim the feet of Peaches and Lightly, mother and daughter. Jared gave me a hand crafted hoof pick, a double blessing because it’s a gift of his talented hands and, just a few weeks ago, I mentioned to God I really needed another hoof pick. This pick is meant to be used either left or right handed and the curve means it fits into the palm of my hand easily. It also means I’m able to do a better job because the tool fits quite handily, giving me the benefit of all the weight brought to the task. Did I mention what a real gift and blessing this tool is?
Both Peaches and Lightly are American Curly horses and Peaches has lived here since 1996. The next year, Lightly was foaled (born) here and has never stepped foot off the farm. Lightly is an “easy keeper” and has always had problems. Years ago, an extension agent told me pasture is richest in three places in the world…Argentina, Kentucky and southwest VA. Most of the year, Lightly is kept off the richest pasture, put on the poorest pasture, and still, she founders. It’s a trial for both of us. In addition to hand feeding her medications twice a day, I keep pads on her feet. These pads are made of plywood, trimmed to her specific hoof size and put on with duck tape. When weather is wet or, as evidenced above, when I’ve not put them on with enough duck tape, they pull off her feet.
sigh. All that hard work for naught. Her feet are tender so I choose the hoof that’s less tender, lift it, hold the plywood to the bottom and, quickly, begin applying duck tape. The pads give her support, and, when stepping on stones, prevent her from additional pain. Once one hoof is finished, I give us both a few minutes to recover (my back, my back) and then begin on the second hoof. True, it’s a stop gap measure but will give her relief from the pain of tender feet, give her additional, pain free time to continue healing and allows me to give her one on one time…sorely needed for both of us. Lightly is a good mare, she helps as much as possible by standing quietly, not fidgeting, then nuzzling me when I’m finished.
American Curly horses have extremely curly hair, are hypoallergenic and have calm, gentle, sweet dispositions. They are the perfect horse for children and old women -smile-.
A lot of people I know, in the evenings knit, spin, embroider, quilt, clean guns or some other work. It comes from wanting to keep busy, it comes from having so much to do, it comes from being industrious. In the evenings, I vary between all those things and, lately, have been on a leather cleaning mission.
The cleaning and polishing takes the better part of a month, beginning with boots, then including shoes, luggage and finally handbags. It’s a pleasurable task, one I take true enjoyment in and am left with good looking results that also feel good when in use.
I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve not done any of my leather goods since Dave’s death. But, time has moved forward and now seems a good time to begin again. I’m fond of Ariat boots, above and filthy, and Tony Lama boots but can’t remember ever paying retail for much of anything. Do you know about Sierra Trading Post? You should…it’s a fine place to buy just about everything…foot wear, clothing, home goods, camping and sports gear and all at great prices.
These Double H boots have had only one treatment and the difference is clearly visible.
Same with these boots…all the treated boots will be allowed to sit from one evening to the next and then the process begins again. They’ll all be treated several times before I’m satisfied and the next load of leather goods brought downstairs so I can watch DVD’s while working. The other good news is, I have no need of new boots
in the next couple of decades ever. Most of these boots are twenty or thirty years old and, when properly taken care of, will last another twenty or thirty years my lifetime. A good cobbler can put rubber tapes on heels or soles can be replaced.
I don’t have a photo but gave a pair of Dave’s combat boots to Dalton, son of friends, and we spent a few nice hours cleaning and shining our boots. He wears the combat boots to school where, he says, he’s the envy of other thirteen year old boys. Dave wore those boots while in the Army, in the 1960’s and now, close to fifty years later, they’ve been given another life and purpose.
When I’ve finished the boots, shoes, luggage and bags, the saddles and tack will be brought to the house and I’ll start on them. By the time winter is over, all the leather goods should be finished and most, if not all, put back into use. There are those who might find such work onerous or dirty but I do not. Taking care of equipment means, in the long run, spending less money and, ultimately, taking care of me. When my equipment works at peak performance, it leaves me time to worry about the work needing my attention, not the equipment. That and it just plain gives me enjoyment and pleasure keeping my equipment nice. It makes me happy to know I’m being a good steward of what God has entrusted me; I believe it makes Him happy as well.
Merry Christmas, God bless us everyone.
P. S. For those who read this post when first published, you noticed several spelling errors, now corrected (at 4:34 a.m. When I get a bee in my bonnet, it must be answered.) All I can say is, that’s what comes of exhaustion and watching a movie while typing…my apologies.
Blessings ~ hoof pick ~ Jared Brown ~ Kiwi products ~ leather boots, shoes, suitcases, bags, saddles, tack ~ small things giving great pleasure ~ Lightly, my sweet mare ~