Roland’s nags and nails: ‘I fear I might get mud fever myself’

  • It’s a quiet time of year for us (I use the term lightly of course!) as hunting is beginning to wind down and the summer events are a way off still.

    The ebb and flow of shoeing follows the seasons and, whilst those who have worked with horses for some time will have an affinity with these cycles, I have yet to know what’s round the corner.

    I do know, however, that at some point the showing season will be upon us and as will polo and eventing, but I have yet to suss out which discipline will demand earlier preparation.

    It seems to me that there is always something going on and I suppose the advantage of being a farrier is that there will be horses to shoe all year round.

    One thing for sure is I am ready for some warmer weather. It feels like I have been working on wet and muddy horses for far too long now and that I might start to suffer from mud fever myself!

    There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight so mud, wet and cold will continue to dominate my world for the time being.

    According to the Farriery Registration Council we are not obliged to shoe any horses that are not clean and dry, sheltered or stabled in a well-lit environment, free from rain and on level, dry hard standing. Sounds like a fairytale to me. If that were the case, we’d shoe one horse a fortnight.

    It does amaze me though, the number of customers who do not pick out their horses’ feet for us. Fair enough that the legs are likely to be muddy and wet, but to not bother cleaning the feet up a bit before we arrive is beyond me.

    Do they brush their teeth before seeing the dentist? I bet they do so why don’t they clean their horse’s feet before we arrive? (Not sure that analogy works, but hopefully you know what I mean!)

    Anyway, speaking of being long-suffering, I think I may have come across the most long-suffering horse ever this week. Whilst its hind feet were being shod, its owner was using the clippers on its head. It didn’t even bat an eyelid. I’m sure the Farriery Registration Council would also have something to say about this though!

    Until next week,



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