Saturday, September 10, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays


I came to the ranch just over a month ago and last week I had the chance to do something I've never done before in my life. At home my life doesn't come in contact with horses day to day and so being up close and personal with a horse's foot was very new for me!

The horse we were shoeing was called Hope and I found out the hard way that she wasn't the lightest horse either. Before we started the actual shoeing process we put on some funky skirt like pants called chaps with a little pocket for shoeing accessories! First we had to clean the bottom of the hoof with a hoof knife . Using this strange hoof knife contraption we scraped out the outer edge of the hoof until we could see a white outline where the nails would be hammered into. After we cleaned out this circular line, we looked at the very edge of the hoof and trimmed it down using huge nail clippers that needed both arms and a lot of muscle to hold up the horse's hoof and cut at the same time. My favourite part came next, rasping!

Just like filing down your own nails, a big nail file for horses called a rasp was used to smooth over the area we had just cut down. Again, a lot of muscle required here to use the rasp with both hands and keep the hoof up on your knees! We measured the hoof with a new horse shoe and after a few attempts of hitting it with a mallet and bending it in the right places, we had a shoe ready to be nailed into place. We hammered so that the nails were through the other side of the hoof so then we could bend it round and it would stay in place. Hammering the nails into place was easier than I thought it would be and all was going brilliantly until suddenly Hope stood on my foot.

As you can imagine I looked funny hobbling on one foot for a few minutes, but somehow I managed to forget about the throbbing pain in my toes and with the vigorous encouragement and lots of shouting “You can do it!!” by my coworkers, we went back to finish putting the shoe on! Ten minutes later, both Hope's back two shoes were hammered on and all that was left to do was rasp the end of the nails. I felt pretty accomplished finishing something I had never done before.. even if it meant enduring physical pain in the process.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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