Farrier work.

Shoeing a Horse with the BarnWood Builders T.V. Show and Spiker farm.

As part of every episode of Barnwood builders Mark Bowe  always likes to show off other skilled craftsman or tradesman who do things the old-fashioned way. So when producers from the show discovered that Tom was a farrier,they were thrilled to add his skills to their show. To film his farrier skills we needed a willing client and a farm to work at. We were able to contact Sue Ann Spiker, also from Jane Lew, and include her and her farm in the last portion of the filming of this episode.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

If you have been following along with my last couple of posts about our house remodel these are the guys who invited us to join in the fun of their T.V. show and help us get barn wood for our family room. I have already shared the barn at Home remodel #1  and showed off the set and my house in Home remodel #2. But the last part of our day of filming really was about my husband Tom and his client Sue Ann Spiker and her farm.

Tom has worked for Sue Ann for years and when Tom was in middle school she was his Art teacher. When setting up this portion of the show Tom and I needed to find a horse and farm family willing to have a film crew on the farm.  Tom thought of Sue Ann’s horse and farm right away. Sue Ann and her husband John, have historical buildings on their farm. This also excited the show producers and we ended up not only shooting Tom with Sue Ann holding her horse but getting a guided tour of their Guest House, Barn and 1700’s cabin. A real treat for everyone that was on set that day.

Actor Mark Bowe talking with the Director of Barnwood builders

Actor Mark Bowe talking with the Director of Barnwood builders

Sue Ann has spent about 5 years or more restoring and decorating the buildings on her farm. The Guest House is a lovely two-story house built-in 1862. The family rents out house, cabin and barn for family gatherings and weddings. More information is on the families website at Sunny Pointe Guest House. com. The main excitement for the show is the little one room cabin or as The Spiker family informed us is the “Loom House” where linens were woven for the farm family 1700’s. The cabin is now set up as a bedroom with a lovely fire-place to keep couples warm at night.

Sunny Pointe Guest House side yard view

Sunny Pointe Guest House side yard view old cabin in shadows

 

Cellar steps into the basement to Sunny Pointe Guest House

Cellar steps into the basement to Sunny Pointe Guest House

back of cabin at Spiker Farm

back of 1700’s at Spiker Farm

Sue Ann Spiker and her 1700's cabin

Sue Ann Spiker at the front of her 1700’s cabin

bed inside cabin at Spiker Farm

bed inside cabin at Spiker Farm

Christopher walking in front of fire place  in cabin at Spiker farm

Christopher walking in front of fire-place in cabin at Spiker farm

Front door of cabin with photo of Gen. Thomas "Stone Wall" Jackson

Front door of cabin with photo of Gen. Thomas “Stone Wall” Jackson

 

One of the secrets of the cabin revels it’s self around this door… the builder and his family will be forever remembered.

door jam of old cabin with fathers initials and 8 of the twelve children that lived and used the cabin

door jamb of old cabin with fathers initials and 8 of the twelve children that lived and used the cabin

Cabin door jam with more initials carved into the frame

Cabin door jamb with more initials carved into the frame

After the tour it was time to get Tom working on Sue Ann’s horse and here he is getting his microphone.

Tom getting ready to shoe. sound engineer hooks up his micriphone

Tom getting ready to shoe. sound engineer hooks up his microphone

Sue Ann also getting ready to talk about the farm and her horse.

Sue Ann Spiker with sound engineer getting her microphone

Sue Ann Spiker with sound engineer getting her microphone

I can only tell you that the portion where Tom puts a shoe on the front of Sue Ann’s horse went fine. I was with them, holding on to the horse’s tail so that the camera man would not get kicked in the face. He was so low and close to the horse that we all just were a little worried about his safety. So, sadly I was not able to get photos of that portion of the filming. In the end, I was glad I was at the rear of the horse. She was a little wiggly and it took a while for her to get comfortable with all the attention. So the photos I have are of Katie the producer getting some time with “Miss Lee” the Tennessee Walking Horse before everyone got busy working with her feet.

Katie Rolnick the producer with Miss Lee the Walking horse

Katie Rolnick the producer with Miss Lee the Walking horse, Bruno the donkey is in the back ground

The shooting ended with Tom letting Mark Bowe try his hand at nailing on a shoe and talking to everyone at the end of a very long day.  The sun was setting, Tom, Christopher and I climbed into the truck to head home. The day was perfect and we learned more than we ever expected to from this experience and we still had one more day of filming to go.   The view of the rolling hills and green grass of the Spiker farm were hard to leave behind but after 9 hours of filming and a couple of hours of driving and unloading lumber. I was ready for my home and bed.

Rolling pasture of Spiker Farm

Rolling pasture of Spiker Farm

The following day was time to film my house and to take the film crew around our local area to find beautiful scenic and rural images for cut-ins during the show. This ended up being my favorite part of the filming. I was not on camera but got to spend the day with this wonderful people and get my only photo taken.  I got this photo of me in a e-mail a few days after the team left never even knowing Katie had taken it of me while in my kitchen.

Jolynn Powers holding  television camera from the Barnwood builders crew

Jolynn Powers holding television camera from the Barnwood builders crew

The remaining portion of the story is more about demolishing my house and the actual rebuilding process and that will take a while to do and write about. In the future I will share more photos and stories about the mess we make.  In the mean time,I though you might like to see the lumber from the barn. It is beautiful and we have plenty to do our walls and some other projects.

10 pounds of nails came from the lumber

10 pounds of nails came from the lumber

 

Categories: Barns, Barnwood Builders, blacksmith work, family fun, family memories, Farrier work., history, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, Horses, Jane Lew, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Home Remodel # 2 Filming Barn Demolition with the Barnwood Builders at Jane Lew West Virginia.

If you are just dropping in, I am working on a home remodel with a company from Lewisburg WV. They happen to have a television show titled the Barnwood Builders.  They invited me and the blog to take part in not only a large amount of barn lumber but also in the filming of the episode at a barn in Jane Lew, W.V. The process began with Tom and I scouting out the barn and getting to know the producers. You can see more of that post at                            Home Remodel #1 .

Lets just say the I was thankful when Katie one of the producers, canceled Tom, Christopher and I from coming out to the site on Saturday. The rain was bad and the temperatures cold. Generally a typical dreary spring day in West Virginia. This also meant that the filming of my portion of the show was already a day late. Sunday morning Tom, Christopher and I packed into the truck and headed out  for a long day at two different locations. When we arrived the shed and outside wall of the feeding area of the barn are gone and they are working on getting some of the interior wood ready for Tom and I to take home.

Barn with crew, shed and outside wall removed

Barn with crew, shed and outside wall removed

We greet the producers and some of the staff as we walked up to the old house that is on the property. The sitting room is full computers and cases, it is now “Head Quarters” for the crew. With in minutes I received  a microphone and transmitter. On a morning that started out about 38 degrees this was the worst of the entire experience. The cord, microphone and box were freezing cold. It took my breath away to have an ice-cold cord dropped down the front of my sweater and run around my waist to my back where the sound engineer clipped it in place. BURRRRR!!!

I then headed over to met the director and star of the show. I walked across the yard to the fence in this photo and waited. Tom and Christopher waited on the porch and watched in the distance. I had no idea of any of the plans for story or lines. I was flying blind, alone and cold. I had not really realized how cold it was and had only worn a sweater and a wind breaker… no hat, no gloves, just rubber muck boots that would later fail me.

Eventually from the field that you see in the photo two men walked up to me at the fence and introduced themselves. Mark Bowe is the star and owner of Barnwood builders and Steve is our Director. They proceed to explain what we were going to do and what was going to happen first. Mark Bowe would pretend to see me standing at this very fence and walk across the field to see what I wanted and the story would run from there. The story for this episode is that a local woman writer is curious about the strangers taking down a loved local barn and wants to learn more. Pretty close to the truth and totally possible where I live. They begin filming with in minutes of our conversation. I stumbled through a few opening sequences, but get my stride and we film at the barn for the next 3 hours straight. All the while the rest of the crew continues to work at removing boards that I will eventually take home.

Johny Jett and Tim loading wood on to fork lift . the wood will  is for my house

Johnny Jett and Tim loading wood on to fork lift . the wood will is for my house

As you can see in the photos the ground is wet rutted mud. Making it a tricky place to walk,talk, think and “Act” in. It was all I could do not to fall. Then as Mark and I walk away from the barn, I do it, I find a rut with the tip of my rubber boot and trip. Still filming, I reach out and just grab his arm and we laugh. I say “It’s OK you work out” as he laughs and has some charming reply(that I have no memory of now) and keeps me from falling face first into the mud. We walk another 20 feet almost to the fence and the unthinkable happens. My boot gets sucked into the wet mud and I totally lose it. I just holler ” Shit!”…. “My boot is stuck in the mud!” as I pitch forward about falling on my face again. Twice in less than ten minutes, I have made it in to the blooper reel. Mark and I finally make it up into the yard laughing when the director and camera man reach us at the gate. Steve the director at this point complements me on my abilities ( of what I am not sure) and says I am actually good at this ( I am a basket case) and wants to give me a hug. “Wow, third hug in just three hours must be doing something right” I think to myself. I am free to return to seeing my family and friends at the  house as the crew finishes moving piles of lumber.

The time off camera is good, we all eat lunch from my friends Josh and Andrea Evans’ restaurant. They own The Second and Center Cafe’ in Weston, West Virginia.  Sitting around the yard and porch of the house,I finally get to take some random photos and spend time with Christopher and Tom. We are all getting excited to load lumber into our truck and watch the barn go down.

Grahm from the Barnwood builders gives Christopher his personal hat

Grahm from the Barnwood Builders gives Christopher his personal hat

Josh Evans owner of Second and Center Cafe with Bryan from the Barnwood builders

Josh Evans owner of Second and Center Cafe with Bryan from the Barnwood Builders

 

 

Lunch break Mark Bowe and Andrea Evans

Lunch break Mark Bowe and Andrea Evans

Loading up only one truck load of lumber for the shoot is great, it gives everyone the opportunity to get filmed even my little Christopher. Mark Bowe, Johnny Jett, Tim and Sherman, help Tom and Christopher load up the truck. Christopher is loving all the attention and steals the show when he dances with Mark in the muddy road.

Christopher with Star of Branwood builders Mark Bowe  loading lumber int o our truck

Christopher with Star of Barnwood builders Mark Bowe loading lumber into our truck

With the lumber loaded we drive away from the location only to return on foot. Tom parks the truck out of sight and  we all walk back to see the final moments of the barn going down. It is a happy and sad feeling watching part of my community being torn down. I have included a short clip of the last few seconds of the barn going down with sound. The cheering and talking is a little loud so please excuse it. I have no skills at editing video.

We  finished our trip home to unload this pile of lumber and head back to Jane Lew where we met the film crew at another location.The production company also wants to film at my  friend Sue Ann Spikers’ farm. She owns a beautiful property with several old buildings, a house and an old cabin. The Barnwood builders want to see the cabin and talk about its history and visit Sunny Pointe Guest House. Sue Ann is always ready for guests at her restored 1860’s Guest House and 1700’s cabin.

Sue Ann Spiker and her 1700's cabin

Sue Ann Spiker and her 1700’s cabin

This is where I will leave this Blog post. I will continue the story of Tom shoeing a horse for Sue Ann’s and share photos of the farm, guest house,and my pile of lumber. I want to explain more about what we are going to do with all this wood and the treasures we found inside the old barn.

I still can not believe that I was part of this experience and that the Barnwood builders will be back at my house this summer again to shoot footage of the after part of my living room.Hope you are enjoying a behind the  camera look at a TV show and who would believe that this all happened because I write a blog.

 

Categories: Barns, Barnwood Builders, blacksmith work, blogging, family fun, Farrier work., friends, heirlooms, history, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, Jane Lew, nostalgic, recycling, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Blog anniversary… Who knew this would lead to T.V.

I have written my way through 2 years so far. For a person with a frustrating learning disability like Dyslexia this is HUGE! I have taken on my weakness and confronted it, pushed through it and in some way over come it. Well maybe just worked around it, but because all of you are here it means that some thing in the last two years is working.

anniversary 2x

anniversary 2x

I took on writing a blog for a couple of reasons. The first was I  needed a creative outlet that I could do while at home with a 5-year-old and with a mother in law who was very ill. I also needed all of you, I needed to think about things other than the pile of toys on the floor and the trips to the cancer Dr’s office. My home was not a place to make crafts or paint large paintings at the time. So I wrote about who I love,what I love to do and some how you all found some thing here that spoke to you. Maybe it was the stories about cooking wild game and maybe it was that we love to garden and do canning, maybe the battle I fought to make sure my mother in law stayed well through her cancer treatments made you stay. Who really knows why you all have been here for this bumpy ride, but it is wonderful and has been one of the best hobbies that I have ever attempted.

I have recently been contacted by the DIY Network about my blog, yea shocked me too! They have a show called  “Barnwood Builders”  filmed in West Virginia and they are filming a barn in my local area. They found my little ( less than a thousand followers) blog and want Mountain Mama and the family in an episode of their show. So I am in total shock and over joyed that some where out in cyber space I have left an impression about who and what I am. At the current time it looks like we will be working together on the home we just purchased with some reclaimed barn wood. They also wanted to see my husband working with some of the horses he is responsible for as a farrier. They loved that we lived in a style that is already present in the show. We share a love for West Virginia history, working with our hands, seeing the beauty of our state and trying to live more simply.

I will write more later about the filming and when the episode should air… sometime next year for season two. But for now I have a few more topics to write about before the crew arrive here March 11th and we get to get dusty and dirty making my 60′ ranch feel more like the home of a county family. So hang in their if you love old barns, wood working, home improvement and decor because this spring should make for some great stories.

 

 

Mary Conrad Cabin Jackson's Mill, Jane Lew West Virginia 2013

Mary Conrad Cabin Jackson’s Mill, Jane Lew West Virginia 2013

Categories: blacksmith work, blogging, cancer treatment, canning, country cooking, dyslexia, Farrier work., furniture, hobbies, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, recycling, West Virginia, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Donkeys, Donkeys ,Every Where and Why We See More Then Our Fair share.

Donkeys are making a come back in West Virginia and many other states that have large herds of  cattle. With their protective nature and over all hardy bodies many people find them the perfect guard animal for the hilly mountains of West Virginia. With the increase in use as guard animals and the discovery that they make wonderful pets our farrier business is booming with the once over looked Donkey.

Teaser and Baby Levi 6 days old

Teaser and Baby Levi 6 days old

What you might not know is with the growing population of  Coyote in West Virginia  farmers have taken to using them  as second set of eyes on their farms. Much like sheep herders have used dogs for thousands of years. They have a natural instinct to protect and alarm if some thing is just not correct in their pastures. This could mean any thing from a pack of coyotes is hunting a new-born calf to a cow down in a creek bed. They seem to know when to sound the alarm when a fence is down and 1/2 the herd is wandering down a road way or a strange person is near the barn. They save small-scale cattlemen ( less than 300 head) from having to worry that while out working their day jobs( most farmers need that income too!) that there is some one who will be on guard protecting the newest members of the heard.

Donkeys are hardy animals most have heavy bone structures and can easily survive on a grass alone diet.They tend have more of a fighting instinct  and a higher tolerance to spending lots of time alone then their cousin the horse. They rarely have the health issues of the other equine, so  farmers commonly add one or more to a herd of cattle and leave them to do their job for long periods of time.

This is where Toms second job as a farrier comes in to play. After turning out a donkey for several years you may end up with a crippled guard animal if they are forgotten and not regularly cared for.

Front Feet of apple jack

Front Feet of apple jack

hind foot of apple jack

hind foot of apple jack

Apple Jack is a wonderful donkey that a farmer decided to sell at a local stock sale. He ended up with an animal hoarder and placed on a hundred acre farm with 22 other equine and left for three years. Apple Jack and friends were eventually confiscated by the local police and transported to a horse rescue. The owner eventually faced 24 counts of animal neglect. The owner of the rescue took this photos for her files and asked Tom if he could save him. Apple Jacks’ feet were one of the worst we had seen that summer. Tom got to work trying to remove the excess hoof and correct the twist of his front legs caused by the  long hoof growth.In months Apple Jack was ready for adoption and found a good home with friends of our family who love him and take great care of him and his horse buddies. This is Apple Jack today seven years later.

Christopher riding Apple Jack

Christopher riding Apple Jack

 

Although Apple Jack is not a guard animal for cattle, he does watch over a small herd of goats. He is also  a wonderful mount for a boy Christopher’s age. He is friendly and enjoys us coming to see him about every 3 months to keep is feet healthy

This is a case that Tom just finished up this week (6-9-2014). This is the hooves of a 7-year-old Jenny Donkey with sever neglect . It is hard to believe that she was able to walk at all but some how she managed to get around for about 4 years like this.

7 year old jenny Donkey left in pasture 4 years with out hoof care

7-year-old jenny Donkey left in pasture 4 years with out hoof care

With just a little effort Tom was able to get her feet looking like a normal animal and she should remain looking healthy for a few months but the long deformation of her hooves will return if the are not trimmed regularly.

 

7 year old Jenny Donkey after 1st trim in 4 years

7-year-old Jenny Donkey after 1st trim in 4 years

 

Donkeys are also great for showing and jumping contest. Our communities have several Mule and Donkey shows every summer. People show their Donkeys at Halter ( for confirmation), in riding classes and driving classes. Donkeys and mules also show in a class that is all their own ” The Coon Jump”. Mules and donkeys have a wonderful ability jump great heights from a stand still. Frontier-men and Coon Hunters discovered that their mules and donkeys could jump fallen logs or  tall fences while in the woods from a dead stop. With a little encouragement these animal leap feet into the air to clear a wooden bar set on two posts ( think the Limbo except going over not under). It is exciting to watch a mini donkey of  32 inches tall challenge a standard Donkey at 45 inches to see who can jump the highest. In our area usually it is a mini donkey who wins.

Jose at the Wayne county Coon Jump

Jose at the Wayne county Coon Jump

Vicky with her newest Jumping mini Donkey Levi... his dad is a Champion Coon Jumper

Vicky with her newest Jumping mini Donkey Levi… his dad is a Champion Coon Jumper

 

 

Black mini Donkey 6 days old in the weeds

Black mini Donkey 6 days old in the weeds

 

 

Donkeys are also generally more suspicious of strangers then horses.When working with them it may take more time for them to get to know you and understand that you are not going hurt them. So Tom and I take our time talking and petting them before handling them.

Gab Garvin and Tom working to get to know a Donkey they call Eore.

Gab Garvin and Tom working to get to know a Donkey they call Eore.

 

Gab Garvins' little herd

Gab Garvins’ little herd

 

Just for fun I will remind you why many people chose not to have donkeys……. they bray! The bray is a farmers alarm clock, fire whistle and general alarm sound off  in the pasture and you either love it or hate it but it is all Donkey either way.

One of the funnest things that we deal with when working with Donkeys is that we usually get to hear their bray either when they see Tom walking out to the pasture or on our way out. They maybe saying , “Hell No We Wont Go.” or maybe” Get the Heck Outa Here.” either way, we always get them stirred up and hear the bray while we are around.It is one of the traits that sets these wonderful animals apart from the reset of the equine world and Tom and I just love it.

Donkeys are unique and wonderful smaller equine.They can be trained to pack, ride, drive, show or just enjoyed as a pet . Tom and I find that we are spending more time with these funny animals and we are both glad about it. I hope that post has put a smile on your face because I can not hear a Donkey bray without laughing just a little…. LOVE THEM LONG EARS. One day I am sure to have a bunch myself.

Jerry Posey leading his grand daughter in the St Patrick's day celebration in Ireland, West Virginia on her Donkey Heidi

Jerry Posey leading his grand-daughter in the St Patrick’s day celebration in Ireland, West Virginia on her Donkey Heidi

 

Categories: animal health, blacksmith work, equine health, Farrier work., Founder in Horses, hoof care, photo review, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Turning a Blind Eye, Blindness in Horses, and the Choices Owners Make

Winter has really had a terrible affect on my husbands Farrier business over the last few weeks. With temperatures dropping below zero for several days in a row we just could not make our usual January rounds to the farms as every creature big or small was hiding out looking for some where warm. This is the slowest January in the 9 years, But we did make it out to see one of our oldest costumers last weekend. The Peoscek farm is home to 6 wonderful horses and two dogs and a fuzzy cat.

Austrian Shepherd named Savannah and Christopher in barn

Austrian Shepherd named Savannah and Christopher in barn

As a farm hand I met my friend Mark Peosek around 15 years ago. We have spent lots of time together over the years. It was back then, while I worked at the Hill Crest Farm, that Mark stopped in looking for a well-bred Gelding that would make a fine trail horse. He found a nice little guy about 2 that we all called “Tee Sign” at the barn. He was small for his age but he was loving and quite. Born a sorrel with a big bold blaze and white socks was a handsome young horse.  Mark had other horses and  was looking for something easy to train and ride. He got everything that he wanted from “Tee” and more. After taking Tee home things settled into a nice orderly routine. Tee was broke to ride and healthy and happy he lived in a herd with other horses mostly mares that tormented him. But he was happy, well feed and the favorite mount of my friend… ” He’s bomb proof” Mark would add to any conversation about his horses.

After the next 12 years passed  Mark started to notice a change in Tee’s behavior that could not really be explained. Instead of staying with the “girls” like  he usually did in the pasture he would be alone grazing and nickering all afternoon. This continued until poor old Tee would lose his voice from the constant calling to his friends. He would not return to the barn at a fast gallop at feeding time in the evenings. It was summer time so Mark thought maybe he just did not want to come in from the green pasture.Their was plenty of hay in the field and water to drink so he was able to stay outside if the horse wanted to. The questions began a few months letter as Mark noticed that Tee was thinner when he did come down to the barn and was now spending most of his time in the upper portion of the pasture still crying for his friends when they moved away. Soon Mark had to walk the long hill to find Tee and call him to come in as the summer ended and fall began.

This is when Mark  finally realized that their was a real problem. Mark checked Tee’s eye sight by moving his hand around Tee’s eye looking for some reaction, a wink, a flinch or just a tightly closed eye. Nothing happened, Tee’s reaction was as if noting was moving near his eye. He didn’t have any idea that some one was standing to his  side moving a hand within inches of his face. Things progressed from their and Mark new that Tee was losing his sight. He called his Veterinarian and found out that Tee at about age 14 was going blind  from Moon Blindness. That Tee’s case had gone on so long that it was not really treatable. Moon blindness was going to change their relationship forever.

Moon Blindness in 14 year old Quarter horse owned by Mark Peoscek

Moon Blindness in 14-year-old Quarter horse owned by Mark Peoscek

Moon Blindness as described at this link is a general name for many problems with equine eye but most are progressive and about 20% will blind both eyes. In Tee’s case both eyes went blind in a few months of each other. By the end of last fall Tee was totally blind and Mark was facing the hard questions about what to do next.

Mark asked everyone who knew anything about horses  what they though about Tees situation. He asked his Vet, he ask Tom and I, he asked friends and family. What do you do with a blind horse? There is never an easy answer to these questions. Caring for any blind animals is  time-consuming but there is a way to keep them healthy, happy and safe. The answer that Mark got from most of us in the horse industry was a resounding, Yes! Tee could be well cared for and live a happy life with a few adjustments and the commitment of his owner.

Blind horse care is possible and  just as enjoyable if the horse is given some time to adjust to the new world that they live in. This link shares a short guide to a few often asked questions faced by the newly blinded horse owner and those who care for these animals. Blind Horse care changed a few things for my friend and his horse. Tee spends a few more hours in the barn in the winter because of ice, Mark  also watches how the mares treat him more closely and he added a bell to the halter of a mares to aide Tee’s ability to keep track of the herd. All of these things are important changes but, as you can see from this photo of Tom trimming  his feet and Christopher taking time to grooming him, things have not really changed for Tee. He is still well fed, has farrier work done and is groomed regularly.

Blind horse getting groomed by Christopher

Blind horse getting groomed by Christopher

As long as Tee’s health stays good I think we can all agree that this horse has a bright future with people love and take great care of him and there is no reason to think of putting him down. He even still enjoys a little ride time with his friends when they come to visit.

Mark Peoscek with Tee gving Christopher to ride of the day

Mark Peoscek with Tee giving Christopher to ride of the day

I am so thankful that my friend Mark took the time to let this new adjustment settle in before making up his mind about what to do with a blind horse. He did not fall prey to the myths listed below.

  1. Blind horses can not have a great quality of live .
  2. Blind horses are more dangerous
  3. Blind horses are sickly
  4. Blind horses can’t be pastured
  5. Blind horses are useless.

Mark and Tee have gained a deeper more understanding relationship over the course of the last two years and Tom and I are happily a  part of this new part of their lives.

Categories: animal health, blacksmith work, equine health, Farrier work., horse health, Horses | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Time and Place to Heal

    Do you ever wonder after some major change in your life that maybe even if things didn’t turn out the way you expected that they turned out for the best?

Quarter horse mare and foal... my baby "Dancer"

Quarter horse mare and foal… my baby “Dancer”

   When Tom and I moved off the farm 2 1/2 years ago I think we were both felt a little confused and lost. We had thought that our future was the land and the animals that we had filled it with. We both had jobs and at the time a toddler who needed us. We just had no idea that the future had us elsewhere and that we needed time away from the farm work to rest and heal. Tom needed two major surgeries and I needed to get time to raise Christopher, grandma need a place to recover from major surgery and I would eventually need time to heal a broken bone and time start this blog. ( this is my 50th blog post, a year has almost passed on WordPress)

Tom the day after arm surgery aug 2012

Tom the day after arm surgery Aug 2012

 When we moved Tom was suffering from not only Carpal tunnel but Cubital tunnel also, in both arms ( Cubital Tunnel is at the elbow) and it was getting worse. I knew without the surgeries his days of farm work and being a Farrier to our clients horses were over. I also knew that I was just plain tired of working so hard. Taking care of a toddler, working and looking after 7 head of horses and the rest of our animals was more than a full-time job. I wanted more time to play and show our son the world and you can’t just pack up and leave 15 or 20 animals alone and go to grandmas 1500 miles away.

Tom forming horse shoes on anvil

Tom forming horse shoes on anvil

  So our move off the farm was a good one, not because we understood that we needed to find the old unloved house that we now live in or bring it back to life. We had no way of knowing that the time and money to get Tom arms fixed would take years, not months to correct.That Christopher’s grandma would need loving care and at our house for several weeks or that I would need to let a broken bone heal for 6 weeks. Some how, not having the farm was just what we all needed at the right time.

Grandma staying with us after her surgery

Grandma staying with us after her surgery

   I guess this broken bone in my foot has really changed things for me.I was always looking after everyone else so they had time to heal, now it is me who needs the time off. I think I broke my foot in September but I’m not really sure. The pain just kept growing and no healing was taking place. The pain got so intense that I just couldn’t take a walk out to our mail box anymore. I had to see the Dr and hope they could fix what ever was wrong because without some kind of help I was looking at losing my job and not being able to do simple things like grocery shopping. All due to my feet hurting.

Well the mystery is now over and I look like this…..

Jolynn in her leg in air cast Dec 9th 2013

Jolynn in her leg in air cast Dec 9th 2013

I have some how ( the Dr say stress fractured) the small bone under my big toe joint. I would try to spell it but really it is not worth the mental anguish to figure it out. They are hoping that with 6 weeks off my feet and in the cast it should heal but given the fact that I think I have been walking on it for almost three months with no signs of healing they are not sure what to expect. If the bones do not knit themselves back together then surgery going to be in Feb. At that point they will remove a portion of the bone that is floating loose in the ball of my foot. That would mean another 4 to 6 weeks off.

    So as I look back over the last 2 1/2 years, the amount of time we have been off the farm, I can’t help but to see that we needed this move. The whole family needed less, less things, less land, fewer animals and more time to rest and heal. Who would have guess that my 1920s cottage with thousands in repairs would turn into a safe haven for all of our broken bodies. Again, I am always amazed at how things work out for the best even when we are unwilling or unprepared to see what we need at certain times in our lives. I am just glad to have this healing place we call home.

the new back porch Tom built on the old house last year

the new back porch Tom built on the old house last year

Categories: Family, Farming, Farrier work., Healing, Home | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Summer and the Importance of Regular Hoof Care.

horse hoof in need of repair and trimming

horse hoof in need of repair and trimming

I understand that we all get very busy with summer but please let me remind everyone that we should have regular hoof care for our 4 legged friends. Sadly this summer some of our friends have forgotten or be lax about keeping their horses trimmed or shod and this is the result. Lighting is a 5-year-old Painted Quarter horse that is more of a pet then an actual ridding horse. Lighting is out on a large pasture and received no foot care or contact this summer. I just happened to call his owner and say “It has been about 6 months since we were out your way how is Lighting’s hooves doing”?  Well the owner responded “well he could use a trim”. We made the appointment and headed out the next evening.  

As you can see from the photo of his hooves they are over grown by inches, split and chipped. In this case the owner was lucky the horse was not lame and limping. All four feet were in this type of condition and this horse was not suffering from the condition if “Founder” this is simple neglect.

Tom has removed the excess length of hoof and shapes what is left

Tom has removed the excess length of hoof and shapes what is left

 As you can see from this photo the extra length is removed and the hoof is being shaped. This foot will still have a large chip in the toe that will have to grow back out to make the foot look normal, also their maybe an issue with the bottom of this foot, it appears a crack forming on the bottom left, between the hoof wall and soul. After Tom finished the trim  Tom warned the Customer of the soul issue. These cracks often lead to abscess forming inside the hoof wall as sand and small stones get worked into the crack.

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  This is what Lightings’ feet looked like after a normal trim. Hoof care is normally done every 7 to 8 weeks or every other month.  In our state ( West Virginia) it is illegal to keep a equine animal with feet in poor repair. My husband has been on many animal cruelty calls from local sheriff’s departments where it was just a case of poor hoof care that caused a complaint. Having a good farrier is part of equine management and the cost for farrier care is part of the over all cost of owning any animal. The average horse needs  trimmed more often in the summer and spring as they eat more fresh grass. The extra nutrition in the fresh grass encourages hoof growth and longer feet.

We did encourage Lighting’s owner to call us sooner and more often but seeing that the owner is 79 years old the whole future for Lighting is up in the air. I think that he loves his horse but is also getting to a place where he is not able successfully take care of him and over the next two years he will be in a new home.

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In most cases it is possible to find a farrier through other horse owners, feed stores, and veterinarians who all see and deal with horses on a regular basis. Their goal is to keep you friend and companion healthy and happy so please remember to make your appointments regularly before you equines feet looking healthy.

Categories: blacksmith work, equine health, Farrier work., hoof care, horse health | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Senior Horse Still Has Much to Offer

A Senior Horse Still Has Much to Offer

Jasper is a branded Quater Horse who has seen thousands of miles. At age 19, leg and knee pain has slowed him down. Yet, today he showed what a gental and loving animal he really is when my husband finished his trim and picked up my 4 year old son and with out thought put in on his back for a ride around the round pen. He is a One in a life time animal and we are so happy to be part of his life

Categories: Christopher, equine health, Farrier work., Horses, Photos | 2 Comments

Horse Farm Labor is Our Second Job, Finding the help you Need.

     Tom and I  travel to so many farms during the year that we hear some of the same complaints at every stop. Frist there are not enough well-trained Farriers and second that finding farm workers, caretakers and horse handlers is almost impossible. Thiers reasons for both of these problems and some of it has to do with economics. Frist, Low pay for the hard work  sends many into town and second, farmers are not  good at  letting people know that they need or want help. 

Tom leading horse to pasture

Tom leading horse to pasture

Tom putting shoes on Oat

Tom putting shoes on Oat

 If you have a problem on a horse farm the best two things you can do is let your farm community know what kind of  help you are looking for. Farm stores have bulletin boards, clubs have news letters, and friends have kids these are all great ways to get the word out the you need a helping hand around the farm.  Pay well and often, everyone loves payday and even the kid who cleans out the barn needs paid before he leaves for the day.  

 Over the years of showing, raising and training horse I have worked for several farms in my area. Yes, I shoveled horse poop for a living. Not glamorous work but it beat the rat race any day. I received fair pay, always about double what minimum wage was at the time.  Farm work is hard, dirty and at times stressful. To modern kids Micky D’s is a lot easier and pays better than most farm jobs. Keep this in mind when you are looking to put up hay in 90 degree weather with a 5 am in starting time and that kid at Micky D’s is making 9 dollars and hour.If you want them you will have to pay them.

      This also is true for your Farrier, if you own a horse part of owning that animal is occasional foot care. Most farriers charge a standard rate for trims/ shoe/or resets. Pay your bill promptly and you will have a good relationship with him, wait to long or try to haggle the price and you will be looking for a new one very quickly. If you are not able to afford to pay everyone cash remember that some people are open to barter for services. I have  mucked stalls for riding lessons and Tom has trimmed horses  for hay. Just be clear about what you need and what you have to offer. We have always been happen when we worked out a deal.

 I also do sitting for several horse farms. We all need a vacation now and then. Sometimes families  just go to the fair and other times families need to head out for an emergency, it is this short periods of time that I help out on the farm.

Squaw and dancer

Squaw and dancer

I find that there is a real need for farm families to leave  a few head of horses, a couple of dogs and cat alone for a few days. The horses really need people who understand them if you are going watch them and the time to care for them is pretty labor intensive. I find the best way to find some one who can help, is asking your other horse friends, farriers and farm stores. I get asked all the time because my husbands farrier business. We both are willing  and able to help with animal care. The rate that we get  to come to your farm and care for your horses is not  much less then you would pay to a stable them while you are away. So with each additional horse we charge an additional fee. I find this the fairest way to charge for my time and gas. This way I can keep my rate the same from farm to farm. This makes everyone pay the same and no one gets up set over changes in pricing. The biggest difference is that the horses are at home in their own stalls with their feed and water and no hauling needed. It’s to the advantage of my clients that they do not have to stress the animal while they are away. 

  No matter what type of labor you need for  your farm, remember to just get the word out that you need a farrier, a farm sitter, a person to help string fence. They are their and if you pay them fairly they will be willing to come back and work for you over and over. It is worth building these kinds of relationships because over time you never know who it will be to help out. I never thought that Tom being a farrier would over flow to farm sitting and that I would be working with some many wonderful families and their animals.

Farm that I sit for while the owners are out of town and one of their walking horses

Farm that I sit for while the owners are out-of-town and one of their walking horses

 I hope that my friends Ron and Marylyn have had a great trip and that they feel confident that their horses were in good care while they were away. It is always fun to spend time on their farm and we love doing it.

Categories: Farm work, Farming, Farrier work., Friendship, horse health, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Springtime and the Danger for Your Pony

WELSH PONY

 Welsh Pony

   Everyone looks forward to spring time and animals like horses and cows rejoice in being able to get out and eat the fresh green grass. With cows we all look forward to spending less on hay and grain but in the case of your pony, ( Donkey, Miniature Horse) danger comes with each acre of fresh grass. The problem is “Founder” and how unmanaged diet of fresh green grass can end up looking like this. As you can see in the following photo this pony is actually in the process of having the excess( Horn) hoof removed. Tom has removed the toe of the front foot and reshaped it to look normal. The hind hooves show the typical slipper and curled growth of  Founder.

Founder in a welsh pony

Founder in a Welsh pony

   “Founder or Laminitis, has been a problem associated with Equine mismanagement for Centuries.” [Founder]… “is commonly caused by over feeding, feeding large amounts of rich feed to inactive horses.” Diets high in carbohydrates including spring grass and treats like marshmallows, white bread, apples, all are too rich for the equine diet. ” Many horses fed this way only need a small amount of stress to cause an attack, over working for the condition of the horse, a case of colic or a fever.” states Don Baskin author of the Western Horseman’s book “Well-Shod”.

The onset of Founder is easy to spot as the pony becomes sick and is listless and lazy not wanting to stand and seems in pain as it walks. At times the animal may appear  very ill from other conditions like colic or a fever and will have heat in the hoof. Most animals will go off feed and will remain sick for several days. By the time many owners react it is too late for the ponies feet. The hoof is already damaged and bones inside the hoof begins the process of rotation. Because of the bone rotation the hoof will grow deformed and the process continues.The condition never ceases and the foot grows uncontrollably and in a matter of months looks like Midnights’ feet above. Sadly the animal that is not managed carefully can have more attacks and cause more damage to the hoof making management of the hoof  impossible and may lead to having the animal put down.

  This story gets even sadder as we will see in the following photos as Midnights’ barn mate and best friend is a Jenny donkey who is also foundered. At the time of our visit Jenny was experiencing Colic again from the lack of diet restriction. She was unwilling to stand and was weak in all four limbs at our arrival. Her feet were on average 3 to four inches to long and curved and twisted. While waiting for additional help to arrive Tom began to trim some of the toe off her feet without much reaction.

Tom trimming to sick foot of a Jenny Donkey

Tom trimming to sick foot of a Jenny Donkey

Tom, the owner Bob and jeff looking over sick jennys feed

Tom, the owner Bob and jeff looking over sick jenny donkey

After The owner arrived at the barn Tom decides that Jenny’s situation is more serious than her barn mates. The plan is to cut Jenny’s feet with the help of power tools. He will use a grinder and saw to remove the 3 extra hard inches of hoof. As a team we begin to hold her legs and head as Tom begins the long process of removing the extra horn that has not worn off the hoof.  The frist step is to notch the hoof with a grinder so that the saw does not bounce loose and cut either the animal, the handlers or the Farrier.  At this point there are two of us holding her head and body and one holding her leg as Tom cuts. The animal fights slightly and we all try our best to keep everyone safe from the flying hooves. 

Grinding a notch in hoof

Grinding a notch in hoof

Like our finger nails, horse hooves have no nerve endings in the nail portion, and like humans the flesh that attach to the nail or hoof wall is very sensitive and full of soft tissues.  With a Founder issue, the soft tissues are so damaged that they die and the hoof wall grows so fast that there is nothing but dead tissue in the bottom portion of the hoof. No blood, no pain, no feeling, nothing but rotting tissue and nail. This is what Tom aims to remove without hitting anything that is alive and growing in a semi normal fashion.

In the picture above the hoof would normally trimmed to where you see the spilt start at the top of the hoof but the foot is so deformed that  he must leave several inches of extra hoof on the donkey so that the bone that has rotated is still safely inside the hoof wall and has some padding to protect it from the ground. The foot is trimmed, angled, dressed to make it look as normal as possible and give good support to the Donkeys legs.  This trim will last about 5 weeks and the hoof will grow at twice the rate of a normal hoof. If Jenny is left to eat as much green grass as she wants and  the owner continues giving treats like marsh mellows, white bread, doughnuts, apples, she may actually Colic or Founder to the point of losing her life.Marshmellow

    It is wise for the pony  owner to mow down spring hay,dry lot or stall keep their animals for the first few months of spring to prevent these painful situations. Tom also advises NO TREATS… just like you and I, Ponies do not need marshmallows, sugar cubes, or anything full of sugar. If you want to “treat” your donkey or pony spend time with a brush and groom them. They want the attention and love the feeling of being clean and you will  save them from years of pain. Also watch your small equine for signs that  green grass is a problem and remove them from the source if possible. A day in a stall with limited turn out is cheaper than the cost of a Farrier visit to care for your Pony.

Categories: blacksmith work, Farrier work., Founder in Horses, hoof care, horse health | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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