This blog is sponsored by the PRO FEET range of hoof care products from NAF

A horse gave me a dead leg this week. Not entirely sure how it happened, but I was glad when I was clear of him.

There’s an art to holding a front leg between your legs. In my first week as an apprentice farrier, I was thrown into the bank of straw at the back of a stable, landing face down and extremely disorientated.

A big horse can pretty much swing you backward and forwards whilst you hold its leg between yours. It’s a bit like riding a swing. The trick is to go with the flow and know what is happening.

When I was thrown on my face, I didn’t have the skill to ride the leg, so just fell over. I do remember that the horse panicked when he saw me on the floor. I expect he’d never thrown a human on the floor before and didn’t really mean to anyway.

Anyway, a year and a bit on, I’m much more adept at riding the front leg. Horses will sometimes rag you about for fun and, however hard you try and stand your ground, they’re often too big and heavy to resist, so backwards and forwards and backwards and forwards you go.

In the majority of cases, it’s important not to let the foot go. That’s exactly what a micky-taker wants, but it reinforces the habit. It’s quite rare that I bail out or get chucked out, as I can usually ride most trick legs now, including the “snatchers”. A horse will suddenly snatch its leg forwards and, because you’re gripping the hoof between your knees, you suddenly get jerked backwards. That can really hurt, but if they are successful in putting their foot down, they will do it again and again, so the trick is to hang on.

So back to my dead leg. It was another big horse and it suddenly decided to get rid of me. I had its front leg between mine and we started moving very fast around the stable. I would have bailed out, but I somehow got my leg stuck between its elbow and knee. I think it had tucked its leg up so high that it had trapped me by my thigh.

Anyway, we traversed the stable together for a while and then I was fired out at a rate of knots. I stayed on my feet, but only just. That was no novice ride and I’ve got a big bruise to remind me of it!

Until next week,

Roland

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