One more week to go until I return to college. In some ways it’s a break from work and a chance to get back into a 9-to-5 routine (instead of 7.30 to 7.30), but it’s hard work of a different kind. I have three weeks to exams, assignments and assessments to look forward to, plus further anatomy and physiology lessons.

It’s vital I revise everything I’ve been taught as new layers of complexity are being added and, if the base layer isn’t there, life gets quite difficult. The pace is pretty relentless!

I’ve finished my homework which I have to hand in on the first day back. It includes a sample of shoes, work-based assignments with photos and written up explanations of various foot conditions (sidebone, thrush, bruised soles, thin soles and false quarters), as well as an assignment on conformation with drawings depicting each example. There has been a lot to get ready for this college block.

Mounties need shoeing!

You may have seen the Canadian Mounties at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in this week’s Horse & Hound. Well after Windsor they moved on now to Devon County Show for a three-day display, where Kris Parsons, my training farrier, has been running the shoeing competitions as well as being duty farrier.

It’s been the most gruelling and busy few days imaginable, made much worse by the number of shoes the Mounties have lost. It’s clearly been a while since they were last shod and, with the sticky conditions and close quarter riding, they managed to lose an average of three shoes every time they did their display.

I helped Kris with a few of these lost shoes and it was really terrific to get close to these horses. They are lovely friendly creatures and it was a pleasure to work on them. Who knows where they are off to next, but they need shoeing badly. If they are not shod soon, I feel very sorry for the next duty farrier!

Finally, I took part in my second ever shoe-making competition and, once I mastered the nerves, I really enjoyed it. I made some really basic errors which have been annoying me ever since, so I will have to chalk that one up to experience. Onwards and upwards!

Until next week,

Roland

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