What Next?

I would imagine all farriers have some war stories to tell. The following is one of mine. No names are mentioned to protect the innocent.

Some years back I had just finished supper and the phone rang. It was a lady who wanted me to shoe her horse. She said a friend had recommended me. She told me that she had bought her first horse and was new to horses. Now I am not knocking first time horse owners but through my experience with them it was like the doctor telling me I only had a week to live.

She said that a friend had told her that “hot shoeing” a horse was the only way to do it and asked if I “hot shod”? I said yes ma’am and I set an appointment for her.

The day finally arrived and I showed up on time only to find that the horse was in the pasture. She apologized and grabbed the halter to go catch it. What followed looked like a scene from the Keystone Cops! I watched with amusement as this horse played her like a fine fiddle until I could “takes no more” and took the halter and caught the wild beast.

I began trimming the horse and got the shoe I needed. I placed it on the hoof to see what adjustments were needed for a correct fit. I placed the shoe in the forge and started to trim the other front foot as the shoe heated up.

I took the hot shoe and shaped it on the anvil and once shoe was shaped correctly I placed it back in the forge. This is where it gets good. I took the shoe to the foot and began to burn it on. Well if you have never seen a hot shoe on a hoof let me tell you, the smoke rolls and the aroma of burnt hoof is not the most pleasant smell that will ever reach your nostrils.

The lady begins screaming at me using words that would make a sailor blush. The horse becomes spooked and I am trying to get out from underneath it without ending up on the ground. This whole time I am holding a hot shoe that would leave a permanent horseshoe brand on any flesh, man or horse, that it touched. I was successful at staying on my feet and not branding anything. Then the owner proceeds to tell me to gather my things and get off her property. I gladly obliged.

That night I received a phone call. Yep you guessed it. The new horse owner. She immediately began apologizing and admitted she didn’t really know what “hot shoeing” was and got scared when she saw the smoke and smelt the burning hoof, even though I had already explained it to her. Drum roll; she then asked if we could reschedule. Let’s see now, I told her to have the horse caught up, which she hadn’t done and I explained to her how “hot shoeing” works but obviously wasn’t listening or didn’t believe me. Now I believe in giving second chances unless there is a great chance that I could get hurt. Maybe I am crude and rude but without saying a word I hung up on her. Maybe not good business practice but this client I don’t think I was going to be able to “charge her til I liked her”.

My beloved Kate. RIP

MDC Once Again Under Attack!

The Missouri Conservation and Use Tax is once again under attack. ‘This money goes directly to support forest and wildlife conservation efforts. Out of every $8 of taxable goods one penny goes for conservation.

In the early 70s Missouri citizens petitioned to get the tax placed on the ballot. They succeeded, it passed and was implemented on July 1, 1977. Then in 1999 state officials attempted to divert the money collected to pay refunds to taxpayers to only have the Missouri Supreme Court rule that the money could only be used for conservation and not be considered part of the states total revenues.

When I was a child there were a lot of areas of Missouri where it was rare to see a deer or a turkey. I grew up fishing the Big River and bass fishing was mediocre.

In 1977 when the money was allocated to the MDC, things began to change. A little slow at first but soon things began to improve. Due to responsible conservation efforts game became more abundant. Hunters were allotted more tags to fill for deer and turkey. Bass fishing became more rewarding. Money started coming in from out of state hunters who wanted to take advantage of our good hunting. Out of state fisherman also traveled to Missouri to take advantage of our excellent fishing. New land was bought and more public hunting areas and river accesses were made available. New conservation areas were established. Other states began to take notice and implemented programs in their states that the MDC had created.

Now Republican Chris Dinkins of District 144 has introduced two constitutional amendments that could destroy the improvements that have been made. HJR 108 and HJR 112. She says it is in an effort to rein in the overgrown bureaucracy of the MDC and make the department more accountable to the people.

HJR 108 would give the voters the opportunity to change the Missouri Conservation Commission. Presently the commission has four members who are appointed by the governor. Her amendment would change that number to nine nonpartisan members. Voters would elect one member from the current MDC districts and the governor would appoint one member to the commission. I thought she wanted to rein in bureaucracy within the department but this would only add to it causing more bureaucratic red tape.

HJR 112, if passed by voters, would take two thirds of the money and pass it on to other areas in need. The Missouri Supreme Court has already ruled that the money could only be used for conservation and can not be considered part of the states total revenues. Lawsuits? I know the voters are voting on it but the voters passed it in the first place.

She points out that the MDC has a savings account balance of almost 100 million dollars. Sounds to me like they are being pretty responsible. Representative Dinkins that’s let me point out that a savings account is usually used for emergencies. How much of that money was contributed from the Conservation Sales and Use Tax and how much from the sale of licenses, tags, ammo, etc.? If the economy tanks the MDC could go through that money pretty quickly in an effort to keep its programs afloat. Did you ever think of that are better yet do you even care? She says the MDC continues to attack the civil liberties of this state but cites no references. If you are going to throw the sportsmen of this state under the bus at least tell us why? Since you represent Reynolds county I would be suspect it has something to do with the battle between feral hog hunters and the MDC. So your solution is to punish all sportsman of the state of Missouri?

I hope the sportsmen in this state takes a long hard look at what is going on here and the impact these two amendments will have on bird hunting, deer hunting, turkey hunting, fishing and all the other programs offered by the MDC. Are we going to stand by and let this destroy all the accomplishments the MDC has made since 1977. I for one hope not.

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.