It’s getting closer! The day we’ve been preparing for. Farrier is scheduled, mane roll is ordered (hopefully it gets here soon so I can practice!), harness is clean, bookings are filling up!
I’m not sure how much the horse community knows about draft shoeing, and I know the general public knows even less. Maximus wears a size 8 horse shoe. This is approximately the same size shoes as one would use playing a game of “horseshoes” His feet are that big. If you’ve never played horse shoes, take your hand an spread your fingers all the way out. your finger tips would touch the shoe. As you can imagine, this takes some extra considerations. Being that big, draft shoes don’t work well on a typical anvil. They also don’t shape as easily as a typical horse shoe. Then there’s the horse itself. Horses will sometimes lean a little on a farrier as they do their work. Usually this is no problem. However, a draft horse weighs over a ton, so a little leaning leads is a lot of extra work. Because of this, drafts are typically shod in stocks. We don’t have stocks (Sorry farrier!) so Max has to be, and is, extra good. Because of ALL this extra trouble, a fell set of draft shoes costs $250 +. They last 4-5 weeks depending on how much work the horse is doing. Asphalt will wear right through a shoe, so even if the foot growth is minimal, the shoe needs to be replaced.
Mane rolls are the term used for the fabric you braid into a draft horses mane. That takes some skill in itself. Here’s a great video from YouTube on how to do a Mane Role. I’ve ordered a red/white role, a Red tail bow with valentines themed ribbon and Red/Pink roses. 5 roses are typical for hitch horses and 7 for halter. Pulling mane and practice is definitely in order.
Finally the harness. What a job that is! It’s DISGUSTING. Because on a typical night we get done close to midnight, and the final day of our season are in the dead of winter, we don’t hang around to clean tack. Granted, Max isn’t a sweaty mess when we’re done, but the grime still builds up. 98% of our harness is vinyl, which means Armor All and some elbow grease is the way to go. The only part that’s leather is the collar. I use the same stuff as i use on my riding tack. Generally, Effax leather care products. I completely forgot to order Never Dull, but I remembered from my western pleasure days that we used to use toothpaste to shine the chrome on our saddles. It still works!
All this and I’m still doing hills and grooming almost daily. So much work for one special night! We’re pretty much all booked for Sunday, February 14. and have partnered with High Definition Media here in Columbus to capture everyone’s Valentines Day Experience. I’m excited!