Tom is gearing up for the busy season of his farrier business again. Early spring is problem time. We will receive a dozen or more calls about lameness and have already gotten one call this week about a lame donkey. Outdoor horses are the most susceptible and those that would rather stand outside in the mud rather than in a shed or stall suffer lameness the most. So now that the temperatures are getting up in the 40’s and 50’s the rush will begin. Tom will work his day job and work in clients as he can on weekends over the next couple of months until he is able to get a few done in the evenings after work starting in June.
Most of the spring lameness we see is a mixture of soft hooves in wet muddy conditions. Sadly no horse owner can really avoid mud at this time of year. Today was unusual because the ground was still frozen while Tom worked on three friendly Paint/Quarter horses.
This chilly day was a wonderful time to visit Crossover Creek farm their was no rush to get to the next farm and next group of horses. Today we talked and laughed and got caught up on the local news. A Farriers job is shoeing and trimming horses hooves, but in reality he is also the local story collector, much like a bar tender who hears all the gossip. Tom sees and hears the stories of people’s lives, their animals and families. He watches children grow and marriages end. He sees farms being built and others sold off over years that he stops to care for a favorite pet or show horse. Since horses should have regular trimming he builds a bond with many of the families he works for. This family and their horses are no different.
Marshal and I have been friends almost 12 years, he is a Vietnam veteran who has farmed off and on his whole life. Time and injuries have made it almost impossible for him to take care of a farm now. Even walking on the snow this day kept him in his truck. At one time he owned 21 head of horses,a couple of dozen cows, took care of three farms and several hundred acres. He loves his horses but is unable to ride them anymore and is now just the owner of three friendly pets. He still maintains them to the best of his abilities but needs some extra hands to do the work these days. That’s where the whole family comes in.. Christopher and I usually spend our time with Marshal in the barn or house as Tom and his wife Donna do the physical labor. We are a team, working together for the animals and for him. It is really is something wonderful to help a friend and a horse out at the same time. I am so happy that my husbands love of horses has brought us closer to our friends and helps us stay in touch with people all over the state.
As we left Crossover Creek farm and said our goodbyes Tom suggested that we stop for lunch at a local hotdog shop. As soon as we walked in the door a voice came from the corner of the little cafe… “Your just the man I needed to see” came the voice addressing my husband. It was one of our oldest customers at 85 he is still active and holds his donkey and horses that need trimmed every few months..”I have a friend who is 78 and just got a horse and I told him about your work” said Estel. “I hope you don’t mind ?” This is how our daily lives go… from farm to farm, from friend to friend… so advertizing is really unnecessary as the word of mouth keeps us hopping. As long as a horse needs a trim and a farm needs a farrier I am sure Tom will be their.