Thursday, August 16, 2007

A day in the life of a Natural Hoofcare Pratitioner

I was called out to trim donkey of a different sort yesterday. This is a 30 plus year old burro named Popeye! He was born in New Mexico and was a working burro who, in a string of burros, carried supplies to a very remote area in NM. They called him Popeye because he could carry the heaviest loads. When the burros were no longer needed to do that job they were adopted out. The lady who adopted Popeye sent him to live with her daughter here in Western Washington to the cooler climate.

I was told Popeye had foundered, and that finding and keeping a farrier who would work on his feet had been very difficult. I’m going to guess that Popeye’s feet would scare most farriers off. And I can’t blame them, his feet are a bit scary if you’ve had no training in trimming pathological hooves as most farriers haven't. Some farriers have had little training in properly trimming normal feet. In fact, the last farrier’s best advice was to put Popeye down.

When I got the initial call, I had asked if Popeye had company or was alone. (Something I’m always curious about as equines are social, herd animals and their mental and emotional condition is as important to healing as their physical state.) Yes, I was told, Popeye has lots of company. It was so funny when I arrived. All these little pig-tails were wagging constantly - little balls of happiness on four little legs.

Popeye, however, wasn’t so happy. He was in a great amount of pain. I trimmed him and helped him dramatically in one trim. He’s a sweet little guy. After I was done, I was bent down near his front foot and he nuzzled his head against mine and we just stayed that way for a moment and I whispered to him that I was going to help him get well. I believe he was saying thank you - that feels so much better. Stay tuned for after-trim pictures of Popeye the Burro.

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