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Sunday, July 22, 2012

What a Farrier Sounds Like (When Horseowners Stop and Listen)

Horseowner, author, actress and comedian Pam Stone gets (somewhat) serious as she explains how something as simple as her horse losing a shoe can remind us of the people we depend on...and that how we communicate with them is what really matters. This was originally written for a daily newspaper, to be read by non-horsemen. Pam should add "storyteller" to her list of skills.

The panicked feeling of hitting a pothole while driving and seeing your hubcap bounce and roll through two lanes of oncoming traffic is not unlike being in the saddle, feeling your horse trip, hearing a metallic “clunk,” and leaning over, just in time to see a horseshoe flip through the air and land somewhere in the tall grass.

Those suckers cost $35 each and you make a mental note of where it is to retrieve it, on foot, after you get back to the barn.

Last Monday, this is what happened to me and I sent a text to my farrier (that’s “horseshoer” to all you high-falutin’ city folk who don’t have to change your sweat soaked T-shirt twice a day at your job) that same evening, reading: “Lost r f shoe” (lost right fore shoe).

Within minutes came my reply, the only reply one will ever hear from a farrier in such a situation.

“Do u have the shoe?”

“I no where it is. I heard it clunk.”

To this, he quickly texted back: “U r beginning to sound like a farrier.”

“No,” I retorted, typing feverishly and venting at the same time. “Farriers say things like, ‘I’ll be there tomorrow at 9am’ but neglect to tell you they’re speaking in farrier years, which are much longer than dog’s.”

My fingers began to cramp but I knew my point was taken when he succinctly replied,
“See you 2morrow pm.”

In conversation
Conversation isn't always easy. You have to really listen, sometimes.

2morrow pm arrived on the heels of an enormous storm that blew up, out of nowhere, immediately following lunch. I was clearing away the countertop of bread crumbs when a sudden crack sizzled through the sky followed by a cymbal crash of thunder. Having noted the sky was beginning to fill with the odd thunderhead and hour earlier, I had brought the horses (and donk) out of the fields and into the barn.

Now, with the wind beginning to howl and the tree tops bending at impossible degrees, I ran like a madwoman the short distance to my horses to pull close the sliding barn doors and close the windows. Hail was pelting down as I made my dash back to the house.

My phone dinged and a text appeared.

“B there in 5 min.”

I gave a snort of laughter. Sean loves a good joke.

“Yeah, right,” I wrote back. “Where are u?”

“2 min closer than I was,” he replied. “I can barely see ur road”

“Go home!” my fingers barked. “2 dangerous! Lightning everywhere!”

“Do u have the shoe?”

“Hell, no, I don’t have the shoe! I’m not going to run through the field with a metal shoe!”

“Pulling in now.”

And he was. I couldn’t believe it. Coming down my drive I could make out his huge Dodge and farrier’s trailer, containing forge, propane, tools, pulling up to the front of the barn.

I threw on enough gear to rival the Gorton’s Fisherman and ducking for cover, ran blindly through the orchard, lightning exploding somewhere behind in the woods and saw Sean, bent calmly over Tino’s front right leg, filing the hoof.

“You know, there’s no lightning rod on this barn, Captain Propane,” I informed him, pulling the door behind me.

“Aw, I’ll be all right,” he said between a mouthful of horseshoe nails. “So what did you think about the Supreme Court ruling?”

Because that’s the kind of relationship we have. Sean’s a Republican, I’m a Democrat and, while sitting on a bale of hay, holding my horse, the skies exploding above us, we crack jokes, talk about health care, gossip, and ask about our respective families.

“How’s that baby of yours?” I ask. “Is he driving yet?”

“Teething,” he said. “So no sleep for any of us. Once I’m done here, I got two more barns to go to, then I gotta swing by the store and get home to do my share so my wife can have a break.”

I smiled and nodded knowingly.

Because that’s what sounds like a farrier.

Pam Stone lives on her farm in South Carolina with countless horses, dogs, cats and one alarmingly territorial donkey. She is the author of “I Love Me A Turkey Butt Samwich.” Contact Pam at

Photo at top by the talented California photographer Eleanor Anderson. Horse and sheep conversing by Gillie.

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1 comment:

KD said...

Great story.... reminds me of why I like my farrier and my vet.