Over the years we have had various Blacksmiths, sadly the only reason why we have had to change them is due to them retiring. Upon the retiral of each one we had to assess a change which we absolutely dreaded purely because we never thought we would manage to find the ‘gentle but firm’ type of blacksmith again. We don’t do brute force here, we don’t do hitting, we don’t do, thumping, we don’t do twitching, and we don’t do shouting. However what we do do is 50/50 understanding encouraging all animals and humans to work together on an equal level and it is this that gives amazing results, unbelievable results sometimes.
Now a horse knows as soon as someone walks towards them or as soon as they talk what kind of a character they are and if they don’t then they will definitely know as soon the person picks up their hooves up and basically they will either. (It’s a shame many humans have lost this natural ability to assess characters). immediately react accordingly, often ending up in getting a thumping or a prod or an EH STOP IT!
To date any way we have to admit we have been extremely lucky and managed to find one each time, the special type of blacksmith, the one with a heart, the one who is there for the animal and not the money that they make out of you – who seem to be few and far between. We don’t dispute we did have to kind of head hunt them. For Lauder Lass, it was extremely important to have the right kind of Blacksmith. The type who, who would take time for her, stand with her silently, progress to standing with her with tools in hand.
Although each of our Blacksmiths over the years have been of different builds they have had the same technique – a calming character, a gentle touch, encouraging the horse to help hold their own foot in a position where it is not being held tightly or indeed being held at all by the human.
Lauder Lass’s hooves when she first came here, as was picked up on the Scottish Borders News reporter, were cracked, dry and ragged. Understandably her previous owner could not get to them, but on her arrival here, we worked out a way of keeping them down naturally – a rough concrete ramp – and a rough concrete area on her floor. Once she allowed us to run our fingers down her leg and after she was used to someone standing next to her while eating (which took 9 months) we were able to spread with our fingers some paste to give them some moisturising
Our present blacksmith is an amazing man, and we absolutely take our hat off to him because (since day 1 of caring for Lauder Lass) each time he has been passing , or visiting he would make a point of standing in Lauder Lass’s area, in peace, in silence, sharing her space in her time and in her way. It’s been very humbling to share and watch this natural non threatening/non controlling talent in an individual and we would absolutely commend him for any troubled horses (whether he has time to add you to his list though, is another question!)
So, let’s take Lauder Lass to start with, you couldn’t halter her or stand in her stable without her being petrified of any move you made, you couldn’t move a muscle or hand otherwise she was scared of what was going to happen to her next, well to get to this stage today was, well, you know, there is not a word in the dictionary that fits the bill but perhaps these photo’s will let you experience it for yourself.
As you all know it has been a long, long process for this horse to connect and once we managed to reach her hooves without her having the fear that she was going to be hobbled and restrained for ages (which we suspect has happened to her in the past because she has scars under her knees which can still be seen ). However a year and a half in we were able to get there naturally so have since been training Lauder Lass to pick her feet up firstly by just running one finger down the inside of her leg then by using numbers, 1 – for picking up and then 1,2,3,4,5 etc seconds that we would like her to hold her hoof up for.
All new stages are introduced halter free, so that we can work with her naturally and in a way that she is not forced to accept or indeed in a place where her memory bank could bring to the fore any forced periods of her life therefore produce a massive, ‘NO I AM NOT GOING THERE”
Picture No 1, Our amazing blacksmith runs his fingers down the inside and on the count of 1 she picks it up . Bless her. After a few seconds she put it back down, but we repeated the AND 1, and she did it again.
Picture 2, The third time on her picking her hoof up and resting it on his knee (no force felt by her this way) it was filed back for a few seconds, so that she could feel the sensation, then put back down and back to AND 1
Picture 3, This time, because she was getting the feel of all this, we stretched it to giving the hoof a clip, with the help of a carrot (so that the sound of her eating would deafen out the sound of the clip sound) and she was just amazing.
Picture 4, We repeated the carrot sound reducing theory and a second clip took place . . .
Picture 5, The process repeated
Picture 7, Well, you can almost see the smile on the Blacksmiths face . . he gently directed the foot away from it resting on his knee.
Picture 8, And down we go . . . WOW FANTASTIC, What a day, Thank you so much for taking Lauder Lass under your caring wing S.
What a week for the Worlds Lauder Lass . . .
A saddle and a blacksmiths’ pedicure – – – Video footage of her saddle going on will be loaded soon.