Life Can Be Bittersweet

As we grow older it is inevitable that we will face the fact that those tasks in life that we were able to do are no longer within our capabilities. Believe me it is a hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately we tend to refuse to recognize this. We are in denial and keep telling ourselves we can do it. By choosing this path we don’t always do what is best and prolong the inevitable. Just recently I found myself guilty of doing this very thing.

In 2003 I became a full time farrier. I built my business up to a point where I was doing around 1400 head of horses a year or roughly 30 head a week. During the summer you would find me under horses six days a week. During this time I saw so many horses that were never trained and wasting away in a pasture. Something I said I would never do, or so I thought.

I had purchased a cutting horse bred filly. She was quite the handful but managed to break her and had her going well under saddle. I lost her in a divorce and figured I would never see her again.

I began having breathing problems and my energy levels suffered immensely. This was a part of my life for three years, off and on. Finally I couldn’t go anymore. My “get along” had got up and left. It turned out I was bleeding to death internally. My body only had a third of the blood it needed circulating through my veins. The whole time I was struggling to stay under horses to make my living. The doctor told me he had no good explanation as to why I was still alive and that there was probably some damage done to my organs. To make a long story short I recovered but my pulmonologist informed me she thought I had some lung damage. It was evident in my shortness of breath and lack of energy.

Then one day I was given the opportunity to buy my filly, now a mare, back. She had a filly on her side. I brought them home thinking I would break the filly. My health issues changed everything. I kept telling myself I would get better and have the horse I had always dreamed about.

Unfortunately I was in full blown denial. I was becoming one of those people I had always despised just letting her talents go to waste.

Then in January I lost my beloved ride dog Kate. Reality slapped me square in the face. I wasn’t being fair to my filly. At the same time I was wrestling with the realization that I was no longer able to do what I could once do.

I finally admitted my training days were over and I made some phone calls. Some very good friends who I knew would give them both a good home, agreed to take them. They are going to use the mare for breeding and break the filly. I guess it is only fitting that the mare would be the last horse I would break.

Equine Ownership

As a retired horseshoer and horse owner I have learned a lot about the equine. They, like people, all have their own personalities. They are also a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for.

A lot of responsibility comes with ownership. There is a lot of work involved and it isn’t cheap. If you don’t own property and have to board your horse it can be quite expensive. If you keep your horse in a stall the stall needs to be mucked out daily. They also have to be fed hay daily. Depending on the horse and what you are doing with the horse you may need to feed grain twice a day every day.

“I’ve often said there is nothing better for the inside of the man, than the outside of the horse.” – Ronald Reagan

Now if you show your horse, compete in rodeos or trail ride you are going to need a trailer to haul your horse in and a truck to pull it. Now this could be a rather large expense.

Let’s not forget veterinarian expenses and annual shots, worming, hoof care and unexpected events.

All in all equine ownership isn’t cheap. In my opinion though the reward is worth the expense.

Retirement

“Retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway.” – Author Unknown

After retiring you will ask yourself how you ever got everything done when you were working. Never seems like there is enough time in the day.

I really didn’t want to retire but one day in a boarding barn I was putting shoes on a horse, that in 6 years of shoeing him, he never gave me any trouble.

Well that morning someone was working in a stall next to the shoeing area. Not thinking they pulled the trigger on an electric power wrench and all hell broke loose. I was underneath of the horse’s right hind and it launched me toward the wall.

Well while heading for the wall like I was trying to break a land speed record I thinks to myself, this ain’t gonna end pretty. I just know it.

Seconds later my face makes contact with this not so soft wall. As I bounced off the wall I could see one of us was bleeding. Yep you guessed it. It weren’t the wall! It was my nose. Bleeding like a stuck hog.

I landed on my back thinking, well that wasn’t too bad. Then it happened. That’s what I get for thinking. The horse decided to stand on my left shoulder. I laid there trying to figure out what MacGyver would have done. The horse finally got off my shoulder and you would have been amazed at how fast an overweight old man can move. I looked like Secretariat coming down the back stretch.

As I started assessing the damage done to me 2 boarders came around the corner and saw the blood. Now I know my brother farriers know exactly what they said. “Oh my God! Is the horse ok? Should we call the vet? I bet my head could have been 5 feet from my torso and they would check the horse first. As I stood there still dazed I relayed to them that it was my blood not the horses in unison they said “Oh”. I am standing there and my nose looks like a ketchup dispenser that won’t shut off and all I get is “Oh”! Then a miracle happens. One of the ladies said “You are bleeding. “. Yes ma’am I am.

On the way home I did some thinking and I decided it was time to hang up the apron. I didn’t retire completely. I kept around 18 head on my books. Then about a year ago I completely retired from shoeing horses.

Now days I make horseshoe art, Dutch oven cooking and fish a lot. I try my best to avoid real work. I miss the people. I had some great clients.

The following pics is a little sample of my horseshoe art.

Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read my blog. You are appreciated very much.

Equine Laminitis

 

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Rotated coffin bone.

 

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No rotation.

 

Somewhere in time’s own space there must be some sweet pastured place

where creeks sing on and tall trees grow, some paradise where horses go.

For by the love that guides my pen, I know great horses live again.

Stanley Harrison

Well it is that time of year when the pastures start to green up and the sugars come to the top.  Some horses can’t handle this sudden onslaught of sugar and the result is laminitis.

Laminitis is inflammation of the laminae of the foot – the soft tissue structures that attach the coffin bone of the hoof to the hoof wall.  The inflammation and damage to the laminae causes extreme pain and leads to instability of the coffin bone.  When the coffin bone rotates it becomes founder.  The only sure way to know if the bone has rotated or become founder is by taking a set of x-rays.  Unfortunately the term “founder” is used loosely and what is just a case of laminitis is labeled founder.  You cannot have founder without laminitis but you can have laminitis without founder.

A good owner, veterinarian and farrier team can do a lot to help these horses if caught early enough.  In severe cases they can have a bad ending though where the coffin bone drops through the bottom of the foot.  It is usually in the front feet, all four feet can be affected.

Symptoms

  • Reluctant to move and they rock back on the hind quarters.
  • They will lie down a lot.
  • It will be hard for you to pick the leg up because of the pain  in the opposite limb
  • The hoof wall and coronary band are often warm to the touch.
  • A hoof tester will reveal pain  particularly when applied over the toe area.
  • The horse will have a strong, rapid digital pulse.

Laminitis can be caused by insulin resistance as well as retained placenta, overfeeding grain, septicaemic  conditions, obesity, and lameness which prevents weight bearing on one of the legs.

I recommend taking the horse off grain and put on dry lot until you are able to get a vet out to evaluate the situation.  The vet will figure out what has caused the laminitic episode and then devise a plan to get the horse on the road to recovery.  He/she will take x-rays and if there is any rotation they will get together with the farrier and decide what kind of a shoe package they want to use.  Steward clogs and heart bars are a common prescription.  I use a Myron Mclane pad and a bar shoe.

I have been lucky enough to work with Dr. Don Walsh founder of the Animal Health Foundation.  The AHF is dedicated to supporting research and education about the disease of equine laminitis.  Checkout their web page at http://www.ahf-laminitis.org.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.  I appreciate it.  I just did the highlights about laminitis/founder.  I hope you enjoyed it and it was helpful.  Remember to spread the love.

 

 

 

Farriers Have Heroes Too

 

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Charlene Mahood and Bob Schantz

 

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Marleen Schantz

In September 2013, Marleen lost her battle with cancer.  She is remembered and loved by the hundreds of farriers that came to her horseshoeing supply store.  I was one of those and it didn’t take her long to become my hero.

I started Double D Acres LLC in 2003.  I lived in Desoto, MO.  I bought my first anvil, anvil stand and forge from Bob.  Bob’s shop was quite a few miles away so I ordered most of my supplies.  Then I moved to Arnold, Mo at which time I started doing business with Bob because I was closer to his place.  It was the best move I made in my business.  The three people pictured above were my heroes and always will be.  I will never be able to thank them enough.

 

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Spanish Lake Blacksmith Shop

 

A Little History of Spanish Lake Blacksmith Shop

The original blacksmith shop was started in 1874 by Jacob Wilhelm.  In 1976 the blacksmith shop passed its century mark.  Robert Schantz became the blacksmith in the old shop.  Bob moved to Tennessee in 1973 to attend horseshoeing school and practice the trade.  Bob then moved back to his native St .Louis and opened the Spanish Blacksmith Shop with the help of his father Chester Schantz, who was a carpenter.

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By the early 1980s, Bob had developed and patented an atmospheric propane forge.  He manufactured the forges in his shop and entered the realm of selling horseshoeing supplies with his wife, Marleen.  Bob then made the decision to cut back on horseshoeing and spend more time blacksmithing.

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It wasn’t long before the shop became too small and outdated for what Bob wanted to accomplish so in 1993 a new shop was built on a parcel of property in Foristell, MO, owned by Marleen’s family.  It was then that a full scale farrier supply store was born.

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In 2004, Bob’s peers elected him to the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame located at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.  In 2013 he would retire from blacksmithing and sell that part of the business.   Marleen and Bob continued to keep farriers supplied with horseshoes and supplies and I will always be grateful they made that decision.

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Marlene’s niece Charlene Mahood now manages the Farrier Supply business which supplies many farriers and their reputation is impeccable.  The store is complete with shipping facilities and ships Nationwide.  Charlene is knowledgeable about the farrier business and Bob is always eager to share his knowledge and there to help a farrier with a problem.  Bob is a firm believer in Continued Education and in the winter hosts some roundtable discussions and clinics.  I can’t say enough good things about them.  You can find them at http://www.spanishlake.com.

 

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A clinic at Bobs

Bob is a wealth of horseshoeing knowledge and he knows his products.  I have overheard him more than once helping a farrier with a certain problem and do his best to help the young farriers and those just starting out.

 

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As some of you know, I am an Art Ambassador for Diamond Horseshoe Company.  The “How To” videos I have done are taped and edited by Bob.  He also went one step further and started http://www.horseshoecraft.com.  It is a great place to find plans and supplies  Be sure to check them out.

A hero is somebody who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people.  A hero to me is someone who saves people and really deeply cares.” – Debi Mazar

I thank everyone who took the time to read my blog and leave a comment.  It is very much appreciated.  Remember to share the love.

 

 

 

 

 

Equine Pics

 

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Baby Lady Peppy Lena and EJ.

“I call horses “divine mirrors” – they reflect the emotions you put in.  If you put in love and respect and kindness and curiosity, the horse will return that.” – Allan Hamilton

A short blog this morning.  Some pictures of bundles of joy.  Hope you enjoy.

 

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EJ says “the eyes have it!”

 

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I am sexy ands I know it!

 

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Divot wants to show off her eyelashes!

Got to have some pics of the barn cats.

 

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Pretty and her offspring.

Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Spread the love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lucky Horseshoe

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“For want of a nail the shoe was lost.  For want of a shoe the horse was lost.  For want of a horse the rider was lost.  For want of a rider the message was lost.  For want of  a message the battle was lost.  For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.  And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.” – Phil Jackson

It is said that early horseshoes were made to hold 7 nail holes; seven is considered a lucky number.  Most historians give the Greeks credit for the earliest horseshoe that resembled a crescent moon, a symbol of fertility and good fortune.  It was also believed that iron, which was what the horseshoe was made of, would ward off evil and weaken nature spirits.

The horseshoe got real notoriety when St. Dunstan gave the horseshoe special power against evil.  He was a blacksmith by trade before he became the Archbishop of Canterbury .   He was approached by a stranger one day who asked for horseshoes to be attached to his feet.  Dunstan noticed that the stranger’s feet were cloven.  Suspecting that this stranger was Satan himself, Dunstan agreed to honor the stranger’s request.  Dunstan told the stranger that he would have to shackle him to the wall.  The stranger agreed and once Dunstan had him shackled to the wall, he went to work.  At this point Dunstan took advantage of the shackled Satan and made the process so painful that it wasn’t long before Satan was begging him to stop, and to remove the shoes.  Dunstan stopped and looked Satan in the eyes and told him if he would agree to an oath in which he would agree to never enter a house where a horseshoe was displayed above the door he would stop.  The pain of the shoes was so great Satan agreed to honor St. Dunstan’s demand.  Now that my friends ,is the rest of the story.IMG_2201

It is said that if you find a horseshoe, if you rub it 7 times while making a wish your wish will come true.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to spread the love.  Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monsanto Lake

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Lake Monsanto – St. Joe Park -Park Hills, MO

St. Joe Park is located in the old “lead Belt” area and is made up of 8,238 acres that was donated to Missouri in 1976 by the St. Joe Minerals Corp after ceasing operations in 1972.  It has an off-road vehicle area, two campgrounds, equestrian camping and trails, hiking and bicycling trail, picnic sites and lakes for swimming and fishing.

The historic mill buildings still stand on the site and it has been designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site.  They also have a museum that houses some of the old mining equipment along with an impressive collection of geological specimens.

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Lake Monsanto

There are four stocked lakes in St. Joe.  Monsanto is the largest that is 30 feet at the deepest point and around 25 acres.  Then there is Apollo Lake, JoLee Lake and Pim Lake which is the smallest.  Boats can be used in all four but only electric motors are allowed.  They do rent kayaks and canoes.  One drawback to me, that definitely keeps me from getting too attached to this place, is the hours of operation.  From April – September the lake opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 8 a.m.; October – March 7 a.m. to 5 p.m..  I really wish they would reconsider their hours.

If you want to fish Apollo or JoLee lakes, you must obtain a fishing pass from the park office.  There are no launch fees.  One can catch bass, crappie, catfish and an assortment of pan fish or perch.  The park uses a “slot limit” of 12 inches to 15 inches for bass.  You can keep anything under 12 and over 15 but you can’t keep fish that fall in the slot.  One practice they do that I do like is that they pass a card so you can record your catch of the day so that they can have an idea of what is being caught.  It is done anonymously.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

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Lake Monsanto

I have fished Lake Monsanto three times.  It is a peaceful place through the week however on the weekend it can draw a crowd.  The lake has a lot of mill foil in it and a lot of standing timber and a multitude of objects to get your line hung up on.

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Largemouth bass caught

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Channel Cat I caught a couple of weeks ago.

I prefer to use a Rapala floating minnow.   If you watch what you are doing you don’t get hung up as bad.  I also use the live bait mode also: night crawlers.  If I am out there just to relax I just use an empty hook.  On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give Lake Monsanto a 5.  If the state would change the fishing hours to allow early and late evening hours I could learn to like it a little more.  (Hint, hint)  Maybe even issue a special permit if a person wanted to do some late night catfishing.

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Lake Monsanto

Someone asked me the other day if I ever get tired of fishing.   For the record, “no”.  I can never get enough fishing.   When I am fishing I can feel my spirit feeding off the positive energy of Mother Nature.  I sleep better when I have had a full day of fishing.

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Monsanto Lake

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to spread the love.

A Little Humor From the Barn

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“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” – Mark Twain

This a true story however the names have been changed to protect the pranksters.  No humans were hurt and there was said that you could hear equine laughter throughout the barn.

One morning some years back, I arrived at ABC Stables where I had scheduled 4 complete sets of shoes.  I backed the trailer into the area set up for farriers and I began setting up to shoe horses.

The barn had hired a barn manager about 3 years before.  He was an old cowboy who had paid his dues.  Quite the jovial sort of fellar.  Everyone called him Bubba.  He really enjoyed a good chaw of tobacco and was an excellent horse handler.  He was there to hold the first horse I was shoeing that morning because sometimes he didn’t particularly like my cologne or something and would make my life as miserable as a horse possibly could.

Now we are down to the last character in the story.  He was kind of like Tiny Tim, Dirty Harry and Barney Fife all rolled into one.  We called him Jim Bob.  Now Jim Bob had just recently bought a 15.1 hand buckskin quarter horse.  Now it just so happened that he bought it off a fella by the name of John Boy.  Now John Boy was such a crook that he could make a used car salesman and a politician seem like outstanding citizens.

Now John Boy had told Jim Bob that the horse he sold him was 15 years old and only rode to bingo games by a little old lady from Pasadena.  Well Jim Bob had the vet out to float his horse’s teeth and he asked the vet how old he thought the horse was.  The vet without hesitation said 20 years old.  Now Jim Bob had a slight dilemma, how old is ole Dobbin?  This worked overtime on the mind of Jim Bob and the real problem was that Dobbin wasn’t registered so there was no record of his birth.  All this is what led to the happenings in the barn on this particular morning.

I was shoeing the horse who on that morning was giving me fits because all I had was regular ole shoes and no “Air Secretariats”.  Bubba was doing his best to make the ole horse stand still and it was about to get on our last nerve.  Then, along came Jim Bob crying like some 3 year old child who had their ice cream stolen right out of their hands.  Oh woe is me, I have a horse and I don’t know how old he is.

Well I wasn’t really in the mood to deal with him soooooooooooooo, DRUM ROLL, yep I said it, “Jim Bob there is one way to tell how old that horse is, count the anal rings and that will give you a real good idea how old he is.”  Well Bubba almost swallered his tobacco and he chimes in, “Damn I forgot all about that!”

Jim Bob is standing there looking at me with this goofy look on his face and says, “Please tell me, how does one determine the age of a horse by counting the anal rings?”  I said, well you know how a tree grows a ring for one year of age.  A horse grows an anal ring for every 5 years of age.  By now he is looking at me like I am crazier than a bedbug.  He then says I can’t even believe that I talk to you two at which time Bubba and I blurt out at the same time, but it is the truth.  He turns and walks away cussing us the whole time.

I was just getting ready to nail a shoe on the second horse I had to do when Bubba starts saying, lookie there, quick look.  So I put the horse’s foot down and look down the shed row and………..yep, there was Jim Bob holding the horse’s tail up with one hand and running his finger around the rectum of Dobbin looking for anal rings.

Needless to say Bubba and I begin laughing so hard that Bubba almost swallered his tobacco again.  I had tears running down my cheeks I was laughing so hard.  Then…yep Jim Bob caught us laughing and was madder than a wet hen.  He cussed us up one side and down the other.  He didn’t talk to me for three months.

I hope you enjoyed my story.  Thanks for reading and remember to spread the love.

A Chapter Closes

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I think when we get older we need to step back and evaluate where we are at and what we are doing.  I did just that.  I will be entering my 63rd year on this side of the dirt. Definitely not getting any younger.  Shoeing horses is a somewhat physically demanding job.  You know the old saying, “To be a horseshoer one must have a strong back and a weak mind.”

I started Double D Acres LLC in 2003.  It has been a good run and I was able to build a fantastic clientele base.  I was blessed with some great clients.  At my peak I had 268 horses on rotation.  I stayed busy.

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Aluminum St. Croix Eventer

One question we always get asked, “Have you ever got kicked before?”.  It isn’t have you, it is how many times.  The worst thing I had happen to me was a bruised spleen and 2 busted ribs.  I was shoeing horses 5 days later.

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Meddlin’ Kate

Every farrier should have a ride dog.  Mine is an Australian Shepherd.  She takes her job very serious.

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Dissecting an equine leg at a clinic

i am a firm believer in continued education. (CE).  I can’t thank Bob Schantz, owner of Spanish Lake Blacksmith Shop and Homestead Veterinary Hospital enough for all the clinics they provided.  Big thank you to Dr. Amy Rucker (Midwest Equine LLC) and Dr. Joanne Kramer (Mizzou University) for taking time out of their busy schedules to teach at the clinics.  We learn a lot by dissecting the equine limb.  It helps us to get a better understanding of the mechanics of the leg and hoof and how it works.

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Navicular Shoe by KB

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No rotation of the coffin bone

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X-ray of a rotated coffin bone

I would like to thank Dr. Don Walsh for all he taught me about laminitis and founder.  Dr. Walsh founded the Animal Health Foundation to research laminitis.  Laminitis is a painful inflammatory condition of the laminae that bond the hoof wall to the coffin bone in the horses hoof.   Laminitis can cause the coffin bone to rotate and come out of the bottom of the hoof.  It is very painful for the equine.

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My shop on wheels

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Hoof of People Dont Change

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Hoof of People Dont Change

The hooves are of a thoroughbred that I got off the race track.  He had road foundered and I was working with Dr. Ted Kellerman of Homestead Veterinary Hospital and we decided to use Steward Clogs.  He had very poor hooves so we decided to attach the clogs by using casting material.  It worked quite well.

Looking back it has been a lot of fun.  I am going to keep about 30 head of horses on the books.  I will also help anyone who needs it.  I can’t quit completely because I really enjoy shoeing and I still have my three.

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Tip for the day:  Don;t squat with your spurs on.  Be kind to one another, spread the love and God Bless you one and all.

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Me trimming one of mine.