Saturday, October 24, 2009

Smokey's First Trim

Friday October 23 2009

It was a landmark day in four-month-old Smokey's life: her first encounter with a farrier. She got her first hoof trim.

Steph's been working on halter breaking Smokey, leading her, picking up her feet. I like working on moving her off pressure, front end, hind end, backing. She's very good, ("smartest baby ever," says an unbiased Steph), though she can show an attitude at times. Like when she's hungry - she'll double barrel when she's waiting for the hay breakfast to be delivered, or she'll balk during her lessons, if you catch her at a bad time - like when she just gets up from a nap and is crabby and needs some of Mamma's milk Right-Now.

Linda and Mike of Perfect Balance Shoeing were very patient with Smokey. They recognize that taking your time at the beginning will save you hours, days, years of headaches down the road.

Steph haltered and held Princess close (who could care less about Smokey now, it seems), while Linda held Smokey for Mike. At first Smokey objected - strangers holding her, a man trying to pick up her feet, and she was just not in the mood to deal with any of this. Fortunately she's still small enough she can't out-muscle a human, so when she tried to get away from Linda, she wasn't able to, and realized she had to yield to pressure - i.e. not try to pull or push away.

Once she stood for Linda, Mike used the approach and retreat method,

and, as soon as Smokey did what he asked - picked up a foot - he used the quick release as a reward. With enough approaching, asking, and retreating, Smokey was soon, without objection, and without further trauma, lightly picking up her feet and letting Mike hold them up and trim and rasp them while licking her lips.

First a back foot:

Then a front foot:

Afterwards, however, as soon as Linda took off her halter,
she ran right to Mama to nurse.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great documentary on a baby's first trimming Merri. Nice to see how patient and kind everyone was as well. And what a well behaved Mama to stand so still while Smokey was being handled. :)