The forecast was for snow all day and then temperatures were supposed to plummet. Willowtrail Wild Rose was due to have her hooves trimmed, and the job required precise timing. Not too wet (no precipitation that would soak my tools), not too cold (it’s hard to hold the nippers with gloves on), just right!
I always approach trimming Rose with some trepidation. Not only does she have the good feet of a Fell Pony: “good size, round, and well-formed, open at heels with the characteristic blue horn…” (1) She also inherited her mother’s Sleddale hooves that in my experience with Fell Ponies are larger, therefore further around and do seem harder to me. I can still remember the first time I tried to trim Beauty’s feet on a summer afternoon. It was immediately clear that farriers are worth their price.
As I watched the weather through the window, I was thrilled to see the snow let up mid-afternoon. The sun came out, and the temperatures warmed. Perfect! Warm snow would soften Rose’s hooves, and it’s always preferable to handle metal tools when it’s not frigid.
Rose was a nearly perfect pony, and the job progressed well, if not easily. That good blue horn was still tough to nip even with some softening from the moist snow. Fortunately, I take pleasure from seeing the end result of a trimming job and especially so when I have a pony with some age that is therefore well accustomed to the job and cooperative. When it was all done, even Rose seemed pleased with our time together. And when the temperatures did indeed drop below zero by evening, I was even happier with my good timing that enabled that job to not only get done but to get done enjoyably.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2015
If you enjoy stories like this one, you might also enjoy the books A Humbling Experience and What an Honor, available internationally by clicking here.