I owe an apology to the horse that is long since overdue. In the years since beginning my farrier career, I have made many a mistake — some bred of ego, but most of ignorance. To the horse, I vow I will do better.
To the horse I shod at the end of the day, I apologize for treating you differently from my first. I apologize for my young man's horsemanship, at times, hasty, at times strong-willed. I realize the meaning of a soft hand, a patient mind, and a kind voice.
I vow to be observant of your comfort, to remain present while underneath you, and to continue my work based on feel rather than force. To the horse I trimmed after purchasing my first drop-blade knife, I realize now that less is more. I assure you I will pay attention to what your feet are asking for. I will no longer crave my idea from the foundation. I will instead seek only to place you and support you soundly, where you choose to be. I vow only to use my tools with educated hands and a conscious mind. To the horse I have shod with hind and prejudice, I realize to respect where your greatest power comes from. I vow to be equally mindful of your limbs and to evaluate your aesthetic, as well as your dynamic.
To the horses I have shod using mechanics, I apologize for choosing to use mechanics early in my career when I lacked the proper education. I apologize also for later in life when I chose not to use mechanics despite having the ability and the opportunity to do so.
To the horses I've shod with a closed mind, I have grown wiser. I've learned the difference between arrogance and confidence, and I no longer allow ego to seat at the same table as soul. In your presence, I have vowed to practice humility. Knowing well your individuality is veritable to no textbook can define. I vow to be firm in my intentions, but always remain flexible in my expectations.
To the horse I shod without advocating for, the development of personal voice is a long life endeavor for most, an innate gift for others. I understand today my responsibility is to speak on your behalf, to enforce and protect your well-being with my choices. I have come to understand that it's less about what I'm willing to do and more about what I'm not. I vow to remain loyal to your best interest and to serve you with integrity.
To the horse I've shod as a soloist, too often those responsible for your care see themselves as individuals, regarding their work as independent of those around them. I vow to honor you as a sum of your parts and much consideration for your mind as your feet. I vow to take the active role of collaborating as a professional amongst professionals. To the horses I will shoe in the future, I commit myself from here forward to representing your freedom of movement as part of a team in sickness and in health, in darkness and light.
Your faithful horseshoer.