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As I’ve progressed though my farriery apprenticeship, it has dawned on me that it’s not only shoeing and trimming horses that we do. Perhaps 90% of our work is to do with that bit of farriery.

The other 10% of our work can probably be split as follows; 7% dispensing advice on the management of horses, weight and stable management, sounding board on all aspects to do with horses and riding. For example, horse handling and training, condition and feeding. The final 3% as agony aunt, confidant and life coach!

With regards to advice on horse matters, that’s easy to justify. Many farriers will have had a great deal of exposure to a great many different horse issues. So why not speak to your farrier about your horse. He (or she) sees your horse every 6 weeks or so and will be able to tell if it’s lost weight or gained weight for example.

Also, farriers have a tremendous equine knowledge base built up over the years of being around horses, from a variety of customers, yards and horse disciplines, and from working with vets and other professionals (back specialists etc). They will also have a great many contacts and can probably put you in touch with someone on their round who has had a similar issue or is set up to solve your particular problem.

The life coach bit though is, perhaps, a little more difficult to justify! Maybe it’s because we’re bent over in a vulnerable position that makes us easier to speak to! I had my first real taste of being an agony aunt this week. I’m not sure I was any good though as I have to concentrate hard on what I’m doing, which made it difficult to follow the gist or think of anything sensible to say. Perhaps my grunts of sympathy were sufficient, as more and more personal information came tumbling out. A problem shared is a problem halved, so they say, even if you are talking to a mute farrier apprentice!

Until next week

Roland

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