My schedule for the next few days requires that I go to London this weekend, then meet up with Jeffrey Newnham, an English farrier, who will help with getting our team horses shod.
I’ll travel about two hours west from London through beautiful country to a little community called Winchcombe. The stables are a beautiful facility, with state-of-the-art footing and close to a very good gallop. We should arrive about midday Monday.
By the time we get tools and equipment pulled out trunks set up and ready to go my best guess is we'll get to the easy horses and shoe maybe three. By then jet lag will be in full effect. We’ll stay at a small tavern nearby and get a good night’s rest, then slowly tackle the balance of the team horses.
Normally shoeing eight to 10 horses is a regular day’s work. But with the riders under the stress that goes with the competition looming overhead, things won't go so easy. Each horse will have to be trotted before we shoe it, then again after we have finished.
The shoeing can take several hours. Remember, we’re working out of trunks, our equipment will be spread all over the floor and more than likely it will be pouring down rain, so we will be working in damp, gross conditions!
The horses left the United States, where the climate was on the dry side, and now have been living in nonstop wet conditions for four weeks. My guess is we will have a bit of repair to do as the feet adjust to the new environment. Our coach has suggested that the shoeing on the hind feet of all the horses be changed to a three- stud pattern, something that is not typical in the States for eventing horses, although it’s very common in the show-jumper world.
After we’ve shod those horses, we’ll get a good night’s rest. We’ll get up very early Wednesday morning to make sure each horse is as comfortable as can be, then race to the airport.
My next and final visit will be what we see the horses in Greenwich Park in London later this month during the 2012 Olympics. The four days of eventing competition is scheduled to begin on July 28.
Pennsylvania farrier Steve Teichman has helped provide hoof care for the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team in Sydney and Athens. While in England participating in the evaluation and selection of horses for the 2012 U.S. 3-Day Eventing team, he provided updates as the Olympics progressed. Click here to read more from Olympic Shoeing With Steve Teichman series.