Last week Llani needed his vaccinations done, so instead of ringing the vet and arranging a visit like most other times I tagged onto another livery who needed her horse jabbed. She was going to use the local vets, who are a typical old fashioned country vets – think James Herriott meets 2015 – and are a ten minute walk away. In order to save the call out fee, we walked the horses down there.
Once in the village we waited patiently outside in the car park for the vet to check passports and do the deed. I was really impressed with Llani, he stood perfectly to wait and was well mannered on the road, albeit a bit quick on the way home but then it was pouring with rain!
As we walked home I felt very old fashioned as I remembered the stories about the Victorians leading their horse to the forge for shoeing. If they threw a shoe then footsore or not, they had to walk down to have it replaced. But then I guess most villages would have a forge so it wouldn’t be too far, and fewer roads were tarmaced so the ground would be kinder to the unshod foot. Plus technology today means you can easily transport all the necessary equipment.
Then I wondered how many farriers actually have a base, a forge, now? Mine doesn’t, he has the van version of Mary Poppins’ carpet bag, and travels to all his clients. Perhaps some racing yards are lucky enough to have a farrier on site, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. My Mum’s farrier has a little forge, but he spends a lot of time training apprentices and they compete in shoeing competitions across the world, so it’s probably a useful base to train and practise. I know from the location, he won’t have any led in for shoeing, but I guess some people may choose to box over to him, especially if they are having specialist shoes.
When I was younger I watched this TV programme called “Magic Granddad” in which Granddad takes his grand children back in time. The episode that sticks in my mind is the one when the pony towing their trap, throws a shoe and they walk him to the forge. Probably the combination of horses and history kept my attention.
Anyway, we’ve all gotten so used to vets and farriers travelling to us with their loaded vehicles, the concept of taking a horse to them seems alien. It’s understandable if a horse is ill or injured you don’t want to move them, but for simple check ups, vaccinations, follow up treatment (such as a weekly check on a runny eye), it makes a vets life easier, and helps support local businesses and is more economical in terms of time and money. I found it a pleasant experience, taking the opportunity to have some peace and quiet and discuss life with Llani.