Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New England Horses Test New Shoe Design for Frozen Landscape

Posted by Fran Jurga | 16 December 2008 | www.hoofcare.blogspot.com

I hope these shoes fall within the parameters of the model rule for toe grabs and traction devices. Would you classify this as a rim shoe?

All we talk about around here is the weather, it seems; the forecast is for more ice and frozen rain here in New England. There is a storm predicted to hit here every two days for the next ten days.

For those of you unfamiliar with US news, the northeastern corner of the USA, where I live, is a tangled mess of frozen, solid and increasingly immovable debris. The worst ice storm in a century has changed our landscape forever. I wonder if we will ever trail ride again! There will be a lot of work to clear pastures, let alone trails.

Well-known farrier John Blombach told me tonight that the roads are so blocked where he lives that they literally plowed the treetops, branches, telephone poles, and power lines out of the roads. There are no ambulances, no firetrucks, no open stores.

A tree went through the roof of the porch of John's lovely old house, and another through an upstairs window; he was coming and going through the cellar. But he has a generator now, and lights, and he sounded very upbeat.

Southern New England Farriers Association President Garth Bodkin lives on a beautiful lake in central Massachusetts. He said he has trees "all over the place" and no power. It took him three calls to get through but he too was upbeat; as John said, "No matter what happens, it can't get any worse."

Farrier/microbiologist Shirley Fraser of Pepperell, Massachusetts, had been out using her truck for friends who needed to get water to their horses. She may be in great demand: she was hitching up her Percheron to "go move some trees around".

Only one of the farriers I heard from today has had power restored, and that was Allie Hayes of HorseScience, who lives about 25 miles from here. She rehabs wildlife, in addition to makeing leg models, and I wondered how she was coping. The key to her business is a huge freeze drier that she uses to prepare her hoof specimen; it runs on electricity. I was envisioning a big defrost event, but luckily I was wrong.

"The cold weather was my friend and there was no damage to product in the dryers and they survived the outage and are up and running again." she wrote in an email today. "We got power back some time in the wee hours Monday. I was up at 3 a.m. restarting the freeze-dryers."

Over in New York state, things were pretty bad in the Saratoga area, and it sounds like Troy was hit particularly hard.

In many communities, schools are closed until sometime in January. (A good thing, since people are living in the gymnasiums.) Some people may be without power until the end of the year.

This image was entered in the "Photoshopped Horses" contest at Freaking News, and brought to my attention by theequinest.com. I hope to show some of the others in the days to come. This one is by Michael Bendler of Seymour, Connecticut. I hope he won!

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