Roland’s nags and nails: water, water everywhere . . .

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Another week has flown by… but in a slightly irregular way. Our forge was flooded which meant that I’ve spent a good deal of my time mopping up and re-instating the equipment.

It was incredible that the river could rise so much — for miles around it was like looking out to sea. Luckily Kris was able to carry on shoeing, as well as dragging stranded vehicles to safety.

Dare we think that the weather has done all it can do and that summer will now resume? I have no idea what the forecast is this week, but I can’t imagine there will be much sun. In fact I’ve forgotten what the sun looks like.

Being based at the forge for most of the week has meant that I’ve been able to fit in a great deal of shoemaking practice. It’s a vital part of the apprenticeship. The more time at the anvil the better.

Basically, you can’t fit a shoe if you don’t have the skills of shoemaking. Adjusting a shoe to fit exactly where you want it to fit is a very skilled and delicate art. It takes years of practice and it begins by being able to produce a symmetrical and balanced shoe from scratch.

I am definitely improving and my confidence in my anvil skills is growing. I am also beginning to really enjoy the art of shoemaking. It used to be a source of huge frustration and anguish as, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the steel to do what I wanted.

I have, on countless occasions, lost my temper with the shoe I was making, but it dawned on me this week that I’ve, for some time, just been enjoying the art of shoemaking. I seem to have achieved some modicum of control and capability, which is really satisfying.

I now need to find this confidence when working on a horse. This is when I seem to be stuck in a rut and unable to move on. Although I tell myself that throughout the apprenticeship there will be periods of stagnation which give way to mini-breakthroughs, it’s still hard not to get a bit down.

Fingers crossed I will get the breakthrough soon!

Roland

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