Roland’s nags and nails: biting flies and ‘hedgehog’ whiskers

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

    This is the first summer I have actually noticed when the flies have appeared. Well, in Devon anyway. It probably took most of the day on Tuesday for me to realise but, after the fith horse of the day had swished its tail in my face (which is really painful by the way), it dawned on me that they weren’t trying to blind the “apprentice farrier” but that the midges were biting! My suspicions were confirmed the following morning with the appearance of lots of little bites on my arms and back.

    I’d never considered this aspect of farriery. One always hears of farriers having back problems or getting kicked but no-one mentions the sting of a tail swish or the irritations of biting flies. I now wonder what other unpleasantries lie in store — I dare not think!

    Anyway, I’ve worked out how to deal with the flies — insect repellent — and in future I’ll definitely be tying knots into any overactive tails, or maybe I’ll just wear a face mask. The problem with face masks are that they are too hot. Last week was a bit too warm for any additional items of clothing and, in fact, the less clothing the better, although I continue to resist the lure of the singlet — that’s a young mans game!

    I have had a few more opportunities for frog trimming and sole trimming this week and gained further confidence in using my sharp knives. Kris, my training farrier and boss, is back from holiday this week so I expect I’ll get more trimming opportunities with him.

    Finally, it is with mixed feeling that I welcome the new grooming regimes being adopted by owners hoping to make the most of the summer showing season. I’d never considered that newly trimmed whiskers were extremely prickly and that they can easily penetrate cotton polo shirts. When I’m clenching-up, it often feels like a hedgehog has just landed upside-down on my back!

    Until next week



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