Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Farrier Field Trip

Well, it's that time again - Dylan usually gets a farrier visit every six weeks or so. Since hooves typically grow out slower in the winter months (a lot of a horse's "growth" is directed at developing those winter woolies during that time) it had been more like eight weeks. He has front shoes because we have been patiently waiting for a couple of cracks to grow out of his front hooves.

I am homeschooling Josh this semester and thought it was a perfect opportunity for a field trip. AQHA has a wonderful program for youngsters called Junior Master Horseman. For anyone with kids, it is well worth checking out - we have had a lot of fun with it. They have their own web page: www.juniormasterhorseman.com. The day before the farrier visit, Josh got out his handbook and we studied the section on hoof care. He learned all of the parts of a hoof and even did an activity with aluminum foil and a spoon to beat out a "horse shoe" to the shape of the pictures provided. He was well-prepared for his visit with the farrier.

When the farrier arrived he also had a great handout for Josh that described not only the parts of the hoof, but legs and shoulders. The first thing we did was look at Dylan's rather muddy hooves. It has been freezing temps here in North Texas and the pasture is churned up and quite hard with frozen mud. While we were pleased that the cracks had finally grown out and Dylan could go barefoot again - we decided that considering the rough state of the pasture that we would do one more round of shoes to keep him comfortable until the pasture was in better shape. Decision made - the farrier turned his attention to Dylan and Josh.

Our farrier is a natural teacher and did a great job. I had to laugh at his first question for Josh: "How many legs does a horse have?" Of course he said four, and the farrier said, "Well, let's think about that. Yes. the rear legs are indeed legs but what about the front ones? See, a horse has shoulders, and humerus bones, both which are part of arms. So wouldn't we be more correct to say he has two legs and two arms?" I never thought about it but it makes sense!

Josh had a great time and learned a lot. Mom learned a lot too! And Dylan was his usually patient and sweet self. We are so blessed that our farrier is such an awesome guy who is so great with horses and kids. Josh's assignment is to write a report on what he learned. Did you know that cows can wear shoes too? Or that shoes can conduct electricity?

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